Dianne M. Daniels
CEO & Founder
"Thriving Through Challenge is infinitely more difficult if you don't have a strong support community. You don't have to have a large group, but you must include guideposts, cheerleaders and supporters."
While working to build your Dynamic, Intriguing, Vivacious and Authentic Life - your DivaStyle Life, you must also build a strong support community. A community is a strong catalyst for a DivaStyle Life. A catalyst is something (or someone) that brings about change - and having others to share our highs and lows with gives us a stronger sense of purpose and acceptance.
When we're going through difficult or challenging times, it's critically important that we have a community to hold on to. Members of our personal community can help us by serving as guideposts - the people who mark the way toward where we want to go; cheerleaders - the people who encourage and exhort us to keep going along our chosen path; and supporters - who are there to catch us when we stumble or fall.
Building a community is also about vulnerability - revealing parts of yourself that show you might not yet be the Diva you want to be - acknowledging that you are still on your journey. It's going to feel scary at first, and then as you release into it, it will start to feel freeing and relieving. You can stop wearing the mask and work on building your community and following your path.
6 Techniques for Building Your Community
Analyze your community
Look at the people in your current circle and examine your relationships with them. Should they be closer to you? Do you need to meet more, or different people? Are there ways you can extend yourself outside your comfort zone to add to your community?
Strengthen existing connections
Continuing and strengthening connections with friends is important - you can do this by inviting your friends to participate in activities you're interested in. Doing what you enjoy with people you care about is a fantastic way to build stronger connections.
Allow time for conversation
Practice active listening with your friends by responding to what they are saying and staying focused and attentive - stay off your phone! By getting to know your friends more deeply, you also allow them to get to know you better.
Join an affinity group
There are local and regional groups of people who are interested in the same things that you are interested in, and love the things that you love. Engaging with them on a consistent basis will give you a resourceful group of people that you can confide in and rely on, because they function in the same spaces that you do, and have the same interests that you do.
Express gratitude for the people currently in your life
Whether they are many or just a few, strengthen these relationships by letting the people know how much they mean to you. Expressing gratitude is a fantastic way to build great friendships.
Authenticity breeds joy and helps you strengthen relationships with those in your network and in your life. Check in with yourself and consider how you're being seen. It's SO important that you make the decision to show up as you authentically are - especially when you're building your DivaStyle Life.
Communicate and Remain Accountable
Communication is an indispensable skill for getting through the challenges of daily life. Paying attention to and working on your communication skills will help facilitate connections with others and help build new bridges.
The first thing to consider is listening. Talking is important - very important - but if you aren't a good listener, nothing gets done. You must actively listen to those you're engaging with. It's easy when you put your mind to it - make eye contact with them, face them, and truly listen to what they're saying by making them your sole focus. If your mind tends to wander - a habit we all engage in at times - you're drifting from the present moment and you need to bring your attention back.
Be aware of your body language - it can speak volumes without you saying a word. Relieve any unnecessary tension by relaxing your shoulders and uncrossing your arms. Crossed arms can be seen as as sign of disagreement or defensiveness, adversely affecting communication.
You want to show confidence when you're speaking to others by standing tall and being aware of what you're saying. Speak thoughtfully and listen carefully.
Communication is an essential skill that requires active listening, focused attention, and an awareness of your body language.
Pay attention and develop your ability to focus on the person and the conversation in front of you. Make eye contact, keep your attention on the conversation, and use open and positive body language during conversations.
Within a community you have a group of people who can help support you through the challenges and rough times. They help you up when you're struggling, and celebrate your victories with you. These are the type of connections you want to maintain - they add a stronger sense of purpose and meaning to your life.
Making changes in your daily routine along your journey toward DivaStyle can be easier when you call on people in your community to hold you accountable. One way to implement this is to tell your friends what your goals are and what deadline you've set for completing them.
For instance - if your goal is to begin a yoga practice on Wednesdays at a local studio, let your friends know of your goal. When the day rolls around, they'll ask you how your class was, and if invited, they'll even come along with you. This helps relieve stress and build positive patterns.
Experiencing a challenge? Let your support community know and enjoy the encouragement and guidance they provide - stuck in a rut? Consult your community and take advantage of their different perspectives and ideas for solutions you may not have considered.
Don't worry about being a burden - offering light in times of darkness and offering acceptance and hope is what support communities do best. Allow the members of your community to help bring you back to reality when you're affected by the tunnel vision that occurs during difficult challenges.