I’ve been reading a book called “The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People” most nights before bed. The chapters are breezy and always end with a little snippet of a study about how particular behaviors or attitudes impact happiness and satisfaction levels.
The 60th tip is to ‘Join a Group’. The book cites a finding that “Group membership tends to make people feel more connected to each other and increases personal confidence and satisfaction by 7 percent.” Other studies have shown that a sense of community can have tremendous health benefits. People with strong social supports live longer and have better recovery rates from illnesses. From my perspective as a career coach your network can also connect you with new opportunities that enrich your life.
I know life can get busy, and you may already have enough on your plate. But for those of you who have the time and are craving a bit more connection, take this as a gentle push to get out the door and engaged in a group that you’re interested in. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries to find a group that’s a good fit, but it’s definitely worth the effort. And, hey, they’ll be thrilled to have wonderful you!
Consider the following three factors for any group you’re thinking of joining.
Look for a group that relates to some part of your identity. This could be a professional group, a group that revolves around a hobby, interest, or sport, something you’re learning, or a particular phase of life you’re in.
Relationships are always built over time, so you’ll want to make sure that the group is active, with plenty of opportunities to connect with one another. In my experience, there are lots of groups that look like a cool idea, but lack an engaged membership. Steer clear of these and choose a group that has regular meetings or events.
Sense of Comfort
Lastly, you’ll want to join a group that you feel comfortable with. Note that you might feel uneasy at first as you’re getting to know people. That’s ok. But you should generally have a sense that the people in the group are people who you respect and would like to get to know.
One of my favorite elements of participating in a well fitting group is that it can push you farther than you might go on your own. For example, I can be timid biking down really steep inclines, but when I am biking with a group I feel more comfortable and push myself to go faster than normal.
In a broader sense, groups naturally put you in touch with new ideas, connections, and opportunities that you might never encounter on your own. A positive group environment is a wonderful thing to have in your life. If you’ve been ignoring your social network or sitting on the fence, get going on joining a group!
PS. I’m hosting an Open House for my DC area women’s coaching group on June 28th. This is a group for women who are interested in authentic connection and personal development. You can learn more here: http://www.belleconnecta.com.
What groups are you a part of? Share a comment below!