In the weeks since the election, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the importance of creating safe space for vulnerable communities, and how to be an activist in the every day. However, it’s important to remember that sometimes leaders need to seek support and safety, too— this time for ourselves.
Let’s not forget: many of us struggle in the age of social media with face-to-face connection. And yet, in moments where we’re afraid, angry or exhausted, sometimes one on one contact is what we need the most.
Here are four ways to create community when you need it— not just for others, but for yourself.
1) Open Your Home.
Too often these days, our homes become isolated locations to which we return at the end of a busy day to plug into our devices. It wasn’t all that long ago, however, that our homes were instead places to gather— to connect with our families, our friends and our loved ones.
Opening your home not just creates instant community but also makes the space that you live reverberate with good vibes and bonding long after the event is over.
2) Seek Out New Circles.
As we get older, we often get set in our social circles and means of connection. For that reason, and especially in times of personal or professional crisis, it’s important that we create new connections to create community that reflects our current needs.
For example, as my business has scaled in the last 18 months, I found I needed to shift the circle of women entrepreneurs in which I was circling to get advice from women who had scaled exponentially in a very rapid fashion. As a result, in early 2016, I invested in a Women’s Mastermind Circle for the first time in over five years. None of these women had been known to me before this time, and yet the support I received from this new circle professionally and personally has changed my life.
As our lives change, our social needs do, too. Ask yourself what you most need right now from community, and go find it!
3) Consider Setting a Limit on Social Media Use.
This may sound counterintuitive, but limiting social media use can actually increase our creativity with regard to building community. Social media provides us with the dopamine hit of connection, but can leave us still feeling lonely when we’re not online.
Get out from behind the computer and connect personally, by voice or live. Your experience of community will feel more richer for it.
4) Commit to a Cause You Care About, and Volunteer.
Whether you care about reproductive rights, equal pay, getting women to run for office, or Black Lives Matter, working toward a goal that is bigger than ourselves is ironically enough one way to feel safer in our world. Studies have also shown that giving to others also makes us feel better about ourselves and creates optimism about the future.
Now, perhaps more than ever, creating and cultivating community will save us as individuals as much as it will save our world. Shoulder to shoulder, we rise.
Described as a “celebrated career coach” and “fearless entrepreneur,” Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin is the CEO of Gaia Project Consulting, LLC, and the Founder of The Gaia Project for Women’s Leadership.
Elizabeth has a storied track record of success as a Wall Street lawyer, serial CEO and entrepreneur, and high-powered executive coach. After a fifteen year career as a full-time Wall Street securities litigator and trial lawyer, Elizabeth founded Gaia Project Consulting, LLC, an executive consulting and coaching firm that serves senior executives across tech, finance, banking, law, fashion, healthcare, non-profit and consulting, propelling its clients to new heights of growth and professional alignment.
Five years later, she founded The Gaia Project for Women’s Leadership, offering virtual and live programming to grow New Paradigm Women’s Leadership worldwide.