What Communities Are You Investing In?

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is community. Being part of a community is about as human as it gets. We all want to belong to something and at some point we all choose who our community is made up of and what it’s focused on.

Building a community is extremely fulfilling and being part of one can benefit you both personally and professionally. Even though many of them seem attractive, not all communities are healthy so it’s good to be aware of what ones you’re part of and why.

It’s taken me a few years to realize this, but the communities you choose to invest your time in is one of the most important decisions you make on a daily basis. They influence how you act, where you go, what you do and who else you interact with. This is why it’s crucial to make sure you’re willingly part of the communities you associate with and have thought through why you’re there in the first place.

It sounds like that’s a no-brainer, but I’ve found that I’ll become part of a community, invest my time and energy there and I don’t really know why I’m part of it or what I’m getting out of it. Or, I might be part of the community but I’m only involved at a surface level and I’m not really committed to being a significant part of it. This can easily happen with certain groups of your friends, the people you work with or even the staff at a restaurant you go to on a regular basis.

It’s easy to do the minimum required to stay loosely connected to a group and some people prefer being an insignificant member of multiple communities than a valuable member of just a few. This is how I was when I lived back in Indianapolis. I was part of just about every community I could possibly commit to and the result was that I didn’t get to really connect with any of them. Did a lot of people know who I was? Oh yeah, tons of people knew Ryan Hupfer but they only knew a very small part of me and I wasn’t providing a whole lot of value to any of them.

Why did this happen to me and ho does it happen so easily to us when we’re choosing where to spend our time? I can think of a few reasons, but the main one is that it’s risky and a lot of work to truly invest in a community. You need to spend a lot of time getting to know other people and as a result you also need to open up yourself up more than might be comfortable for you. The more you get to know people, the more they know about you and the more you know about them and not all of us are ok will people knowing our business.

But that’s what a community is supposed to be, right? I know it’s been hard for me to open up to the communities I’m choosing to be part of right now (church, work, friends, family to name a few), but I’m getting better at it. It’s really hard at the beginning, but the payoff has been awesome and I would suggest you do the same. Just make sure you’re in the type of community that’s healthy for you and realize that it’s going to take some time and investment to become a valuable part of it.

What communities are you part of? I would love to hear more about them in the comments sections if you have some time to let me know.

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