Sunday I became a Bronco fan! My trip to San Diego coincided with the week the Denver Broncos were playing in San Diego. At the Denver Airport I purchased my very first Bronco apparel and I was on my way.
Now I’m not truly much of a sports fan, and I’m relatively new to Denver, so in some ways I felt like an imposter. But hold on just a minute! That $76 hoodie I bought at the Denver airport was like a ticket to an exclusive club! If you ever feel like an outsider, put on the apparel of a visiting team and go to a game. Instant connection.
I was blown away by how, with the first good play on Denver’s part, I was bombarded with high fives and even hugs. For that few hour time period, age, race, gender, marital and economic status went out the window. We were all visiting Bronco fans and we were friends.
Walking the hallways in search of beer and hot dogs, strangers high-fived each other after a quick glance at a jersey. In our section, various groups of people came together to search for the missing arm of Peyton Manning – a good luck charm Lego action figure of Peyton that one group had brought with them. (The Chargers did suspiciously well while the mini-Manning was missing his limb by the way).
So what does this have to do with business?
Being a ‘child of divorce,’ as they say, I didn’t grow up with a sense of belonging and in truth it wasn’t something I looked for on a conscious level in my professional life. I wanted to be seen and understood, but to belong felt like a stretch that I didn’t try to make. I just was.
I went to college and had a pretty good time there. I’d had a good time in high school too, never really minding who ‘cliqued’ with whom, just doing my thing. I went off to work in the corporate world and I found ways to connect there as well. I made lots of friends and I said smart things (and sometimes dumb things, but I did my best to let those go) and I did just fine.
But I didn’t necessarily feel ‘at home,’ if you know what I mean. I always heard a little bit different drummer in my mind. Like many of my clients, the more I became aware of my own inner rhythm, the more uncomfortable I felt in my chosen career.
I was recently recounting to a friend about how when I went to coaching school (I went to iPEC Coaching) it was the first time I ever looked around and said, “Wow, these are my people.” And I’ve been consciously connecting with more and more aligned people ever since.
Big Money in Belonging
I won’t spout statistics about the money in professional athletics, you can google that. But we know it’s big. How much of it is because people love the game? Some of the fans barely watched the action on the field! A big part of the experience of being a sports fan, and why we wouldn’t blink an eye at a $76 price tag for apparel, is a sense of belonging. And it was never more apparent as it was as a visitor on another team’s turf. Of course it helped that “we” won!
How Do You Provide Belonging?
Mastermind programs are huge in the coaching industry. Why? Is it because miracles happen when you leave your house? Sure. Is it because transformation happens in the energy of others? In my world it does. But how much of the popularity of mastermind programs is about that very valuable, and elusive, sense of belonging?
Until I knew I hadn’t had it, I didn’t miss it. Once I got around “my people” for the first time, I was hooked. Growing up in a small town, population 502, I didn’t meet a lot of “my people.” Most of my family still thinks I’m crazy. My corporate colleagues are more tied to security and money than making a difference, and with many of them I’ve gone out of resonance. (Great people, different priorities).
I declare this: I will consciously create my community of belonging from now until the day I die. One’s willingness to do this is the #1 predictor of success as an Aligned Entrepreneur. Don’t go around not fitting in – decided with whom you want to fit in and create that community.
Buying Your Friends
It sounds crazy, but I want you to consider buying your friends.
OK, don’t get all high and mighty on me. (I would have too if I’d read this five years ago by the way!)
Here’s the thing, it works! One of the things I love most about being an Aligned Entrepreneur is that I get to create my own economy – making money in a way that is in Alignment for me, and spending money in a way that is in Alignment for me.
If you want to make money doing what you love, you want to be around others who make money doing what they love. What is the fastest way to locate the people who are making money? Find the people who are spending money! Spend money on the things you like to spend money on, and your people will be there too. Many of my best friends today I met in coaching programs. But you have to pay to play. (If you’d like to get connected to my tribe and join my coaching program, we are taking applications now for January.)
Paying to play is not really about buying friends, but rather about showing your commitment and stepping up to the plate as someone who is committed to more. And here’s what else I’ve learned. I have been hired as a coach by people I’ve hired. I’ve been promoted and supported by people I’ve hired. I’ve been a source of inspiration to people I’ve hired so much so that they’ve generously given me extra time, energy, and support. I’ve become known and expanded my community of belonging because I’ve shown up in Alignment in front of people I’ve paid to help me.
Creating Your Economy of Belonging
That is what creating your own economy is really about. You get to create this amazing life while you generate and share money, and generate and share a sense of belonging.
Here area few tips to get you started.
- Pay to pay. Hire people who you know are “your people” and let them lead you and connect you.
- Get your peeps together live. I have built my business in small retreats in which my people get to know each other. The big players in the room always want to stay together, and they uplevel together as well.
- Create community online. Give your peeps a space to stay connected with you online. Your FB business page should be for the watchers. The movers and shakers will be willing to invest to get connected. Be strategic about this.
- Remind them why they belong. In my client retreats I always acknowledge my clients for who they are in the world and bring them back to the principles of Alignment that make them beyond special. This isn’t a marketing tactic. It’s a Truth. I am still moved to think about the quality of human beings that are my clients, and as I expand my tribe in 2014 (stay tuned), I am delighted to declare further what we, as a collective that belongs to a whole that is bigger than any of us, stand for.
If you are ready to create that instant sense of belonging in your life, with a tribe that “gets you” and knows what you’re about, perhaps my tribe of Aligned Entrepreneurs is right for you. Again, click here to apply. If you’re wondering if that’s the kind of person you want to be, check out what it really means here.