The power of connection
I have always worked in teams. my whole working life has been about working with others in the creation of something or other. So when I started The Female CEO as a solopreneur I quickly realised how much I missed having others to bounce ideas around with, gain insight from and generally just keep me company when I was feeling adrift.
Perhaps you're the same way? Don't get me wrong there is so much that appeals to me in working for myself. Freedom (yes!), the ability to choose when I work, how I work and with whom. Working at home in my favourite PJ's! Drinking a glass of wine and dreaming up new ideas over leisurely lunches... Ok so that's not always the reality, although it has been known, but you get where I'm coming from.
What I learned when I created this reality for myself was that I missed human interaction and actually that's pretty normal. At first, I thought whats wrong with me?? I've wanted this for so long and now I've got it I want something else! What?! But when I spoke to (a lot of) others in a similar position I realised that it's just how we're programmed. I decided to reach out and ask other, trusted people I knew in business to get involved with my project and contribute in their own special unique way. I carefully chose five very different guest editors to get involved and bring to the table what I couldn't and I found that it not only satisfied my need for more connection but it brought a whole new dimension to my business and the community as a whole. We're are all in different parts of the world but thanks to our commitment to each other (and to Zoom) we chat regularly and fully enjoy sharing our thoughts and ideas which in turn only makes the business better. If you haven't already, you can meet them here.
The six basic human needs:
Further reading on the subject of connection and entrepreneurs took me to Tony Robbins and the six basic human needs that we, as people, pursue in every life situation. So no matter what it is, whether you're building a business, raising your family, travelling the far-flung corners of the world or fulfilling your dreams in your own backyard there are six basic, universal needs that make us tick and drive all human behaviour.
So what are they and how do they apply to you (and me)? They are as follows:
Love & Connection
What I found when I studied each of these in detail was that every one of the above fell into my dream for The Female CEO. My baby business, my vision of creating something amazing was, in one way or another, all of the above.
I wanted the certainty that came from feeling in the driving seat, the security of relying on myself for my destiny. I also craved the daredevil uncertainty, adventure and variety that something new would give me, the challenge ahead would help me to build my character (I've never been bored that's for sure!). Significance was a funny one for me. When I first started looking in detail at this topic my initial thought was 'well that's a bit big headed, I just want to create something to help other people' but actually we all crave significance in one way or another. Everyone wants to be special to someone or known for something. For some people it's earning millions of pounds, gaining impressive educational qualifications or covering themselves in tattoos or piercings. It can also be providing for a family or doing meaningful work in their community. For me, it was the creation of a support network which also fell straight into love and connection. Love is the energy of life itself and without it, we suffer. We all crave love in one form or another and creating a community for me was a lot about creating a space of connection, support and friendship. I realised that this was probably one of the biggest reasons why I choose to do what I do along with growth and especially contribution. Since starting the business I have been constantly growing, for me I have to feel like I am always working towards something, creating, learning and exploring. It what makes me tick and a major contributing factor to the decision to start a business as an entrepreneur.
Ah contribution, my favourite. Have you heard the saying ' The secret of living is giving'? I truly wholeheartedly believe it. Life is about creating meaning and we all have an intense need to contribute to something greater than ourselves. It's when we share what we have with others that we get the most out of life. Think about it, how do our talents serve us if we keep them to ourselves? This was the one that really spoke to me about the creation of the community. The coming together, the sharing of experiences, knowledge and support is everything.
It also got me thinking about how The Female CEO uses the six basic human needs to meet the needs of it's members. This is what I came up with and I would highly recommend you do the same for your business, whatever its nature:
Certainty - Knowing you are part of a community of like-minded people, with knowledge and support available. You are never alone here.
Variety - Changing topics, ideas, challenges, inspiration and Q&A sessions and articles with inspirational people from all over the world
Significance - The ability to share your business, ideas and stories with others just like you.
Love & Connection - Being part of something bigger, creating friendships and business connections globally with people who get you.
Growth - Leaning from each other, expanding beyond your demographic and stepping way outside of your comfort zone.
Contribution - Engagement, bringing your stories and knowledge to the forums, cheering on each other's achievements and offering support to those travelling a similar journey. Being part of something bigger and beyond competition.
When you look at your business overall in terms of the above, it brings into perspective what you can give to your customers on a fundamental level to meet their needs.
How can you make it work for you, and as importantly, how is your business and your life showing up and meeting your needs?
Feel free to drop into the community and share your thoughts or indeed drop me a line, you already know I love connection!