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What COVID Taught Me About Community

My word for the year is “community.” 

COVID impacted us all in so many ways. For me, it changed my perspective about the importance of being with others. I realized how important community was to both me and my business. Connection is what keeps us going.

Here’s the thing, I’m an ambivert. While I can thrive around others, I find my peace in alone time. But the alone time brought on by COVID, was a bit too much. I longed for human interaction. After several months of quarantine, for the first time in my life, I actually looked forward to get-togethers and getting to talk to someone face-to-face. I’ll never again take for granted having coffee with a friend.

Here’s the other thing, I struggle to fit in. 

I often find myself adapting my behavior to find my place in the world or worse, telling myself I don’t belong. When in reality, I really only want to be me, I really do want to belong.

What helped me find these insights and stop struggling to please other people was Brene Brown’s book, Braving the Wilderness.

“Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.”

This book encouraged me to be me – to stop trying to be what others expect me to be. It motivated me to be myself and expect others to either accept or reject that. Regardless of whether they choose to like me is no longer important to me. As long as I’m being my true, authentic self, I will attract people who appreciate me for me. 

More from Brene Brown that may help you be yourself at work:

Belonging is not the same as fitting in.

“If I get to be me, I belong. If I have to be like you, I fit in.”

Be yourself.

“True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”

Network and build YOUR tribe.

“True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”

Share your passion.

“You will always belong anywhere you show up as yourself and talk about yourself and your work in a real way.”

Wherever you are, I encourage you to embrace your community. I encourage you to be you. I encourage you to reach higher, run farther, and push your boundaries. Don’t shrink yourself to fit in.

As Brene wrote,

There will be times when standing alone feels too hard, too scary, and we’ll doubt our ability to make our way through the uncertainty. Someone, somewhere, will say, “Don’t do it. You don’t have what it takes to survive the wilderness.” This is when you reach deep into your wild heart and remind yourself, “I am the wilderness.

Guest post by Tonya Lockamy, Firefly Digital Marketing, a business partner of Mayer Coaching & Consultin

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Dana Mayer Career Coach

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