Do you belong to a community? I am sure you do but what kind of community? There are all kinds of communities:
I am sure there are others that I cannot think of, but we all belong to different kinds of communities.
I cannot speak for everyone but for me, what I get out of the community is usually directly correlated to what I put in.
This COVID-19 pandemic is showing that to me in spades.
I recently was sitting with my GP doctor and I asked her how her business was doing during the pandemic. (Yes, I can have this kind of discussion with my doctor in Mexico. I even have her email address.) She said that a lot of her clients are retired Canadians and Americans. Many of the Canadians went back to Canada at the beginning of the pandemic. A lot of her clientele who remain are struggling due to social isolation.
Many of the retired people here fill their days with social activities including playing golf, pickleball, games, eating out, and just being around their friends. During the lockdown and a good bit of time afterward, this was taken away from them. My doctor said this was causing them to increase their alcohol consumption and creating mental health issues. This is happening everywhere in the world but in the world of the retired, the need for a social community is heightened.
My wife, who is retired, has developed a small group of friends where they meet once a week to play games. This social community has been a godsend for all of them.
For the retired losing that social community, it is devastating and the value is immeasurable.
My wife and I hike with a group of people every Wednesday morning. Some of these hikes are extremely strenuous and include 2000-3000 foot elevation gains.
We recently hiked up one of the mountains to an oak forest where there was an abundance of mushrooms that came in a variety of colors. Several of our members, who have lived here in Ajijic Mexico for many years have done a lot of research on mushrooms. I have learned so much from them and rely on them to let me know which of these mushrooms is edible.
My wife and I did pick, cook, and eat some blue mushrooms. We did NOT have a psychedelic experience but they were quite tasty.
We also do yoga with many of these same people twice a week. My wife was involved with the yoga group through the Lake Chapala Society before the pandemic struck. I joined in when it moved to Zoom and it was through the yoga group we found our hiking group.
Belonging to an exercise community is important for both your physical and mental health.
I block out the times on my calendar for both yoga and hiking. Physically, I am in better shape now than I was at the beginning of the pandemic, and mentally, the yoga and hiking have been calming.
Do you belong to an exercise community? Do you value your physical and mental health?
Business and Professional Communities
I have belonged to many different professional communities over my career. I served on the board of my local chapter of what is now known as the Association of Talent Development (ATD). Meetup groups over the years have been very valuable to my business and professional success.
The professional groups have focused on attaining and maintaining skills. A good example of this is the Austin Chapter of the National Speakers Association. I learned so much from attending the meetings and am still in touch many even though I moved to Mexico over 2 years ago.
I joined the SPI Pro community because I needed help getting outside of my own head. There is definitely a need for feedback on email marketing, podcasting, and building and managing a membership community. I have been working on the Career Pivot membership community for over 2 years and I am at the point I need some constructive criticism to make it better.
As in business and our careers, it is easy to suffer from MSU disorder (MSU = Make Stuff Up). This is especially true during a pandemic when we are isolated from our family, friends, and colleagues.
I value the skills I have attained, the business help I have acquired, and the friendships that have come from these communities.
Belonging to a Community During a Pandemic
In reflection, the communities I have belonged to during this pandemic have proved to be invaluable to me. My hiking and yoga groups have given me the discipline to maintain my physical health. I got on the scale this morning and I have actually maintained my weight during this pandemic. I am just under 81 Kg. which is about 178 lbs. Seeing I am 6’3″ tall I am at a very good weight for a guy approaching 65 years of age.
As community manager of the Career Pivot community, it was been incredibly enjoyable watching people grow and thrive during such difficult times. We recently had one of our members, Gene Snider, suddenly passed away after a very short illness. I interviewed Gene on the Repurpose Your Career podcast episode From Mining Engineer To Small Business Consultant.
This came as a real shock and it made me realize along with many other members of the community just how much we had bonded.
Given the fact that so many of our greater community have been displaced from their jobs and careers, belonging to a community in these times can be invaluable.
Career Pivot Community
The Career Pivot community has been both a group that I support but more importantly, I have gotten an equal amount of support in return. I was recently asked about the time commitment of this community. My response was that the more you put into it, the more you will get back.
This is true for any community you might belong to.
Whether you join my membership community or you invest your time and energy in a new or existing community elsewhere, I simply implore you to do so.
What community are you going to invest in and what value will you get in return?