Note: Over the course of 2018 we will be sharing a variety of conversations, writings, and ideas dedicated to each of our core values. These core values are a fundamental part of the culture that Socality strives to foster and develop across the online community and beyond, and we're excited to engage in a further dialogue with you from this point forward.
by Jonathan Zoeteman
"Purpose" and “Community": Over the last few years, we've spent a lot of time at the intersection of these two ideas, seeking to understand what a culture of "purposeful community" could look like.
For us, the idea of purposeful community involves taking the best parts of the power of collective "togetherness" and infusing it with a culture that regularly asks the questions "why?" and "how?" Why do we create? Why do we work and gather and seek to grow together? What is the purpose of what we do and our connection with one another? How can we use our creativity and abilities to make a difference in our world?
Our understanding of community is inextricably connected to the idea of human belonging. Within healthy, genuine, and supportive communities, we are able to discover who we are, define and express our true identities, and grow to fulfil our dreams, purposes, and potential. There's purpose already woven into our desire to do life together, but we believe it takes intentionality to build a culture where the real power of togetherness can be realized.
So what does that look like in practice?
We've seen individuals use community and connection to save lives, to create jobs, and to bring hope to those in places of need. Purposeful community can launch dreams, bring justice, and pull people out of isolation.
Here are a few practical ways to tie purpose and community together in your own life, work, or creative practice:
1. Include instead of Isolate
One of the best ways to make community purposeful is to stop making it about yourself and fulfilling only your needs. Step into the world of those around you, and take those first steps to bring them into your story, or see how you might fit into theirs. It can be as simple as grabbing a coffee with someone or inviting them out to an event.
2. Ask yourself a lot of "why?" and "how?" questions
Take the time to understand your own "why" and the purpose behind the things you're doing and creating. Once you've started to understand what that looks like for you as an individual, ask yourself how your own personal "why" and purpose can be connected with those around you. How can you connect with others who share a similar passion and purpose in life to expand what you're working towards?
3. Start small, but with intentionality
You don’t have to start by changing the world. You can start by changing yourself, and then come alongside others who are passionate about creating change and leading intentional lives. Take the time to understand who you are and where you want to go in life, how to get there, and who you’ll need by your side to help you achieve your goals. Then invite others to join you along the way. Our founder Scott likes to say, “what we can do together will always be greater than what we can do on our own,” and that’s the crux of this idea. Start with where you’re at right now. Ask yourself what you can do today, and reach out to the people who are going to help achieve that. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to help them too, and together, you’ll accomplish so much more.
This is a starting point for a lot more conversation around how we can build intentionality and purpose into the communities we belong to. We invite you to share your thoughts in the comments below to continue the conversation! And stay tuned: this month we’re focusing on the topic of purposeful community here on the blog, so there are going to be plenty of chances to engage with individuals, organizations, and friends about the importance of striving for purposeful community in so many different realms of the everyday.
Feel free to use these images to share what the message of purposeful community means to you. Images created by @shortstache.