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Penny Power Ponders being in the right culture to find belonging

Hello and welcome to this week’s Ponderings, dedicated to the human need we all have, the need to belong.

I think one of the most painful emotions is to feel alone. To have a feeling that people, that you need in your life or business, don’t need you. In 2018, I recognised this feeling myself and, while I could rationalise why my loneliness had manifested itself, and take responsibility for it, I had to create a strategy, and take action to ensure I found my way through that loneliness.

I used to watch others that had comrades around them, friendship groups, book clubs, sports clubs, business communities, and I had to come to the conclusion pretty fast, that while I loved serving people to ensure they are not lonely, I also had to experience a sense of belonging myself. The term ‘physician heal thyself’ comes to mind.

Maslow stated that “people seek to overcome feelings of loneliness and alienation by nurturing relationships”, and it was evident that aside from my family and a couple of long-term friends, I was not investing time in others at a deep enough level. I was in fact a Lone Wolf, yet I taught about how important it was to be a wolf within a Super-Pack. I think this is very common in busy people, how do we justify the time is takes to belong to a community.

I was not given confidence as a child to believe that others valued me, my survival kit was to value others. Recently, at a surprise Birthday party, I had my breath taken away from me for over 30 minutes when I saw how many friends came, I was like Laura in Four Weddings and a Funeral that kept saying “you know I love you don’t you’, and I wasn’t even drunk!

The sense of belonging for me at that party was life changing, and I now know what it feels like, within our business community, for people that invest in others and see the reward of being valued. Seeing my friends enjoy one another was the best experience.

We are all seeking something special; love, connection and belonging, and if you find the right place, the right culture, your confidence grows, and your natural instincts come alive.

We can all create the right space around us for others. Finding and creating the right culture is amazing. When you are clear about the culture you seek, you can enter it, and like a frog in warm water, you don’t notice how the culture boils you. Hopefully, if it is a good culture and matches your needs, then being boiled in it is a lovely experience. Sadly, many people join companies or networks, and the culture doesn’t suit them, and then when the water gets hot, they seek a way out- fast!

The 25 years of creating loving business cultures has shown me that most people love the warm water and very quickly discover parts of themselves that they have supressed. To survive, many of us hide our vulnerabilities, and fear showing love for fear of emotional coldness.

Love is viral, kindness is viral, openness is viral, making people feel good is viral. We are all lovely, kind, caring people, we just need to find a place where that emotional asset is valued and is a currency in business.

As James Clear states in his book ‘Atomic Habits’,

“join a culture where your desired behaviour is the normal behaviour’.

How often do we find ourselves adapting to the wrong environments, there is no way we can really get that sense of belonging, if we don’t fit in.

Finding belonging is a strategy, not one to ignore and it is also one that you can take full responsibility for, there are plenty of people that want to deeply know you, your task is to define in what way you want to behave and be celebrated.

Thank you for being part of my Ponderings friendship group, perhaps one day you will meet one another, can you imagine my emotions at that event! In the meantime, it is very special writing this in the knowledge that we are together for these moments.

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