Communities are all the rage. Whether it’s Google+, Facebook, or a mentor group, everyone is encouraging you to discover and grow communities. Sometimes it seems like a lot of work; what’s the return on investment here?
At the funeral home, I often see communities coming together. Sunday school classes, groups of friends, and families turn out in great numbers to show support to people deeply affected by grief. Years of history and relationship-building have led to the brief moments that pass in silence between friends.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve totally failed. Not only have I dropped the ball posting on my blog, I’ve hit a low level of contentment in more than one area of my life. Maybe you’ve been here, too.
But in the midst of my pity party, the communities I’ve found have really stepped up. Online friends like Dan Black and Skip Prichard have promoted blog posts in my digital absence. Mentors and advocates have stepped up to encourage me. I can’t wait to go to the men’s group I participate in on Friday; fresh challenges await!
When I read business articles about building brands or growing tribes, the authors often try to demonstrate a return on investment– even if the investment is really just time or a line item in the budget. I saw a breathless article recently exclaiming that a top-producing insurance agent in my extended network had managed to convert a (as in one) social media connection into a funded policy.
We’ve distorted the meaning of the word “friend” by our social media body counts. How many Facebook friends do you have? How many people “follow” you on Twitter? Is there a way to monetize your 300 (or 500 or 1,000) blog views per day?
Let me join my voice to the building roar: Connections (online or offline) do not exist to drive your bottom dollar. Connections are not always leads and do not only exist in one place or another. The greatest return on your investment is community.
When the house is quiet after a loss. When the mind just won’t crank after a disappointment. When your heart doesn’t seem bold enough to push through the resistance.
Real communities are made up of true friends. And true friends show up in your absence.
When have you relied on friends? How are you deepening your connections into lasting friendships?