It Takes a Village

Our world is more connected than ever before and yet, in many ways, people feel more disconnected than ever. Our fast-paced world can feel incredibly lonely outside the six-inch screens in the palms of our hands.

I decided to take action and purposefully worked toward building a community I can count on. I can honestly say that choice is one of the biggest things I’ve done to propel myself forward.

No matter who you are in life, you are going to need people. Your dreams cannot become a reality without the help, assistance, guidance, and care from the people around you. In order to get that help, however, you have to be willing to ask. Steve Jobs once said, “Most people never ask. And that’s what separates sometimes the people that do things from the people that just dream about them.” I would add that many people aren’t even able to ask because they haven’t purposefully formed a community around themselves.

Community is powerful, vital, and much more than just being surrounded by people. Loneliness and disconnectedness can happen even more in large cities than in small towns. People in smaller towns are often really rich in community even when they aren’t as rich in things. Take Sardinia, Italy, for example. This tiny island in the Mediterranean is home to the oldest people in the world. There are more centenarians in the tiny villages of Sardinia than just about anywhere else in the world. While genetics certainly plays a factor in longevity, researchers have long drawn correlations between long lives, happy lives, and a strong sense of community.

Too often, in our modern lives, our interactions with other people are purely transactional instead of relational. We can be surrounded by people, interacting with them constantly, and still feel loneliness, a complete lack of support, and no sense of a supportive community.

Six years ago, I was one of those people, looking to elevate my game. I was seeking different goals, many of which, frankly, scared the crap out of me. I had a network of friends and family who certainly loved and supported me, but I wasn’t necessarily going to ask them for assistance in what I knew would seem too big, scary, and lofty to many of them. You can have a loving network of people surrounding you who still aren’t the right people to support you in your endeavors. Sometimes the people who love you are the ones who will inadvertently talk you right out of your dreams.

What happened next is what I love about life. Above all, if you genuinely want something to help make the world a better place and you ask God, He delivers! I remember a phone call I received from a friend, Giovanni Marsico; an awesome guy who’s doing truly great things. He called me up out of the blue to say “So there’s this community and it made me think of you. Thought you’d be up to be part of something cool.” He proceeded to tell me about a community organization called MasterMind Talks that brings together entrepreneurs from around the world and connects them in unique ways while delivering mind-blowing experiences.

I could go on for days about the community itself, but the main takeaway is, becoming part of that organization immediately helped me start building deep, meaningful relationships that have continued to grow over the last five years of my life and have been invaluable to me in so many ways.

Don’t get me wrong here, it’s not a networking organization. I despise empty networking events. They’re usually just a bunch of people making small talk and pushing business cards at one another. This is an organization where you are always asking, giving, or praising. I found that I was already pretty good at the latter two but asking for help was more of a struggle for me. I’ve since learned the truth that many people have not because they ask not. What’s more, it’s not just THAT you ask, it’s who you have around you TO ask. If you aren’t purposeful in building your community, you probably don’t have the right people to ask.

I have a great friend in Australia who I’ve never met in person. Cameron Brown messaged me via LinkedIn to share his genuine interest in the work I was doing, specifically surrounding culture, and asked if I wanted to jump on a Zoom. I found the ask genuine, took the offer, and away we went! His opener was great, he said “I love what you’re doing, and I want to learn, if I can and connect you with someone in my network that can help you move closer to what you want to achieve. Cameron and I have managed to forge a really cool connection via phone and zoom. Our friendship is built around helping each other connect with great people while assisting each other in something we are striving towards.

When you really begin to see what the world has to offer, you’ll quickly begin to see that we have many opportunities to build communities all around the globe.  Building a community doesn’t have to cost anything but it will require effort; be purposeful!

My Give:

Should you be reading this and want to connect, please reached out to me via LinkedIn, I’d love to be of service and help you make the world a slightly better place.

Tony Gareri

CEO & Culture Enthusiast

Drawing from firsthand experiences, Tony addresses how a culture evolution can lead to improved business results and happier work environments.

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