Communities – Age Life Balance connections
We’ve already learned about the benefits of being part of communities.
I’m fortunate enough to belong to a number of communities. I suppose I always have been if I look across different phases of my life: it’s just something I’ve had a habit and a history of doing. I want to tell you about some new communities that I’ve become part of this year, directly and indirectly related to my Age Life Balance journey. And some of the wonderful people I’ve met either face to face or virtually, as a result.
The Age Life Balance blog has been both my window and my voice. It’s allowed me to publish a number of articles on various different ageing-related topics. I have a number of regular readers and I love receiving comments posted on the blog or via other channels.
Connected to this, every week or so, someone sends me a link to an article, blog, podcast, or book that they they’ve happened upon and think I might be interested in. I love this ‘sharing’ aspect, and have discovered some wonderful resources that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Please keep it up!
Words of wisdom
As part of Age Life Balance, I’ve interviewed a number of people older than myself about their ageing journeys under the Words of Wisdom initiative. I’ve found them to be very open and accommodating and through this I have learned a lot of useful tips, for my blog as well as for me personally.
I signed up for a coaching course with The Coaching Academy in March. I’ve since met a host of amazing like-minded people, through training days and online groups and forums. I’ve also met other coaches (not affiliated to the same training centre) along the way, through various forums. With some other local coaches, we’re hoping to set up a coaching group in our area to help support and promote each other. It’s a very friendly and supportive profession!
I’ve literally only been using twitter for about 10 weeks, but I’ve attracted over 100 followers in this time, mainly in the ageing space. I’m astounded at how active this Twitter community is and I’m proud to be a part of it. I look forward to venturing further in this direction.
I’ve also encountered fellow blogger Grandma Williams through Twitter and I’m excited about discussions we’ve had about working together. Check out her blog and comments.
Led by the inspring Jenny Garrett, hundreds of women support and challenge each other to make things happen in their own unique way. Having met Jenny on a corporate training course, she was instrumental in inspiring me to start my blog and become a coach! I’ve taken part in forums throughout the year, where Jenny facilitates discussions between women with common aims and aspirations.
Led by entrepreneur Jo Bevilacqua, this is local networking group for mums who run their own businesses and are budding entrepreneurs. The format is a monthly face to face meeting, as well as the inevitable Facebook social media networking. I’ve only been a couple of times so far, but I’ve met some great people, including a couple of entrepreneurs who I’m collaborating with on both Age Life Balance and my blog.
As I knew next to nothing or no-one in the area of ageing at the beginning of the year, it shows that you can build up a name and a presence over a short period of time.
10 things I’ve learned about getting involved
You have to take the first step
Alas, you do have to put in some effort. You may be lucky and get invited along to something, but from my experience there’s a minimum that you do need to do e.g. do some research, sign up for an event and actually turn up on the day!
It doesn’t always feel comfortable
I have found myself outside of my comfort zone on numerous occasions this year e.g. turning up on day one of my coaching course, posting my first article (in fact, posting many of my articles), and attending my first networking event as a wannabe entrepreneur. But ultimately pushing our comfort zones is how we develop and grow.
Often others feel the same
Talking to others at events, as I invariably do, I often discover that I’m not the only one that feels nervous or out of my depth, at least at the outset.
Sometimes you have to be the first to speak
I often look for others who look lonely or awkward and try to help them feel more at ease, which in turn helps me.
Generally speaking, if you’re pleasant and polite, others are much more likely to reciprocate. Read body language for signs of what’s working and what maybe isn’t.
Dare to ask
This has definitely been a big lesson for me this year. I generally ask myself what’s the worst that could happen and then weigh up if it’s worth it. On balance it often is. The simple manta of ‘dare to ask’ has enabled me to have some great discussions and collaborations so far.
Become a ‘somebody’
Many of us have a natural tendency to feel like an imposter at times. A couple of things have helped me: using an identity and having the confidence to pull it off. “I am a coach”, rather than I’m training to be a coach. “I am a blogger”, rather than I have a blog, can go a long way. And nice business cards can help here too!
It’s ok to be different
Not everyone comes from the same mould nor do they have to. Accept and respect others for their differences and what they bring to the party, and that includes you too. It’s preferable to be authentic as this will help feeling comfortable too.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again
Not everything works out exactly as planned first time. Sometimes you need to give something a fair chance before deciding if it’s for you or not.
Be clear (and honest with yourself) about why you want to get involved with something. Sometimes there’s a danger in taking on too much. Or is that just me?!
Overall, I’ve had a real rollercoaster of a year, met some great people and feel part of a couple of brilliant new communities. This has involved ‘putting myself out there’ and taking myself out of my comfort zone at times, but I have learned a lot about myself in the meantime and feel like I’m contributing in my own way to some much larger movements. I look forward to building on these foundations during the next 12 months.
Thank you for reading. For more interesting articles, visit my blog at www.agelifebalance.com to learn more.