Do you feel frustrated about how difficult it is to find other people that you have something in common with? That “get” you, or you can truly connect with? Your “tribe”, so to speak?
It’s actually not as hard as you might think. And as I rediscovered this past week, it’s as easy as following your heart. Here’s what happened to me recently:
As a budding entrepreneur, you don’t realize how lonely it is to spend long hours in your home office.
After years of school and working from home, I only recently realized just how isolated I had become. I didn’t really have a roster of other local entrepreneurs, writers, crafters, or … well, anyone that I had something in common with to call on for a lunch or a tea break to mix up my day. I felt more “alone” than I did lonely. I was finding myself losing interest in my work, feeling overwhelmed and increasingly unable to give my attention to tasks for any space of time.
Instead, I began to watch the clock every afternoon for when my husband would come home. I would then verbally drown the poor man about my day the second he stepped through the door. As good as a life partner he is, I knew he shouldn’t be the sole person to shoulder the responsibility of entertaining me.
I had been listening to my guilt goblin for far too long. He whispered in my ear every day that if I wasn’t chained to my computer doing something “productive,” I was wasting my time. No wonder I was running on empty. All work and no play makes Lindsey a dull girl.
I finally decided that I had to actually schedule in social time. It was a chance to get out of the house, and perhaps meet some new people.
So this past Friday, I signed up to volunteer for a local event. And it’s one that I can fully get behind with all of my soul, too. Called POWWOW (Produce On Wheels With Out Waste), farmers donate food that they cannot sell in stores for one reason or another. Instead, the produce is handed over to an organization or business to set up a type of “last chance” Farmer’s Market, selling 60 lbs of freshly picked, seasonal food for $10. Leftovers are then donated to food banks or other similar organizations.
And for an area where I live that has many people who may not always be able to afford fruits and vegetables in the stores, it’s an amazing partnership. So not only are we able to save perfectly good food from a large compost pile somewhere, it’s a boon for a community in need.
But that morning, I nearly changed my mind. It was 5 a.m., and suddenly soaring violin music was invading my innocent slumber. Such an ungodly dark morning hour. Right then, I seriously began reconsidering my decision. A radio alarm wake-up call at that hour was really pushing it for me. Especially when it was to get me up for an event that I was volunteering for. I didn’t have to go. Right?
No, I had committed. A local herbalist I know organizes the POWWOW event every month. And I had given her my word that I would go this time.
When 5:15 a.m. rolled around, I knew that if I didn’t get up, I WOULDN’T get up. I pushed myself to the shower, hurried my way through some breakfast, and was out the door in 45 minutes.
Despite the harried morning (and in my desperation, a cup of coffee), I made it to the event only five minutes late. Other volunteers were already milling around, either initiating set up or asking how they could be of use.
Within minutes, though, I found myself cracking jokes and trading smiles with the other volunteers as we set to work. We asked each other about our history with POWWOW and learned each other’s stories. I shamelessly took selfies with my new acquaintances as a way of bonding.
Before I knew it, I had found several people at the event who were just as passionate as I was about clean eating, gardening, and a healthy, more holistic lifestyle. Who knew that people just like me would be drawn to volunteer for something like POWWOW? And they were local, to boot.
The moral of the tale?
Well, if you are dealing with the same burnout and have a hard time meeting other people – look for workshops, classes, events, or meetup groups centered around things that YOU like to do. Commit to going regularly. Because you won’t only be following your heart and doing something that you enjoy to let off steam, you will find an entire room of like-minded people you already have something in common with.
Oh. And take selfies with people (and then find them on Facebook to tag them later). It’s a fun way to make someone else feel special, and a cool way to bond!
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