Success (in whatever way you define it), is affected by the people we’re around; relationally, emotionally, professionally, mentally, physically (you name it!), each one is both positively and negatively affected by the group you’re associated with.

Others have a huge impact on us – their influence can alter who we are, even at our core. The relationships that we develop in our communities are catalysts for change, can provide accountability and motivate us to reach our potential. On the flip side, they can drain us, trigger insecurities and derail us from our desired goal. It reminds me of the Jim Rohn quote – “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Sometimes it’s the presence or even the absence of a particular person in our life that leaves a mark. Maybe a situation or relationship that seemed chaotic, negative and unhealthy has become our greatest teacher and other times it’s the compassion and acceptance that an important person (or group) extends that alters how we see ourselves and the life we lead.

There is no doubt about it, relationships and the communities we’re involved in, shape who we are right down to our very center. From infancy to the end of our lifetime, without them, our lives would be lonely, isolated, hopeless and meaningless.

So Take Action!

What communities are you a part of? Are you an active participant or a passive observer? What role do you play in the community for others? In what ways can you get more involved, speak up or take on responsibilities that will create a closer connection between you and the others around you?

Taking steps to increase your community involvement does not have to be overwhelming or consuming. It can be as simple as introducing yourself to someone new, meeting for coffee, offering to be a resource or sharing your knowledge and expertise. Maybe it’s focusing on a few people to build a personal relationship with or simply putting down your smart phone and making eye contact when you greet others. Participation and appearing open is key. After all, you never know what connection will result in helping move your career, goals, dreams or desires forward.

If you’re having trouble identifying a community that you want to actively participate in, then finding a community you will enjoy is top priority. Explore different organizations that reflect your core beliefs, interests or values. Take a look at the spheres you’re in: work, family, church, groups, where can you get involved or how can you be more present in the moment to connect with others you are around.

Look for ways to increase your exposure and know that if you’re uncomfortable, you’re probably doing the right thing. Community isn’t necessarily comfortable, it should be evolving, challenging you and creating opportunity for growth.

Last but not least, let your community know how they have impacted you. Share your story, open up and be vulnerable. Let others in on your life and you’ll reap even deeper rewards interpersonally. After my visit this weekend, the first priority when I returned was reaching out to my current community and colleagues I reconnected with and letting each one know just how thankful I am for their presence and support. It was a powerful feeling to let them know just how much they mean to me. Try it!

–> Speak up! Let us know what you enjoy most about the communities you are involved in and how they have contributed to shaping who you are today!

  Royce Freeman Jersey