“This magic that I had experienced of being amongst my tribe was so intoxicating, that I didn’t want to let it go.”
When I read that in Katie’s farewell post last week, I knew exactly what she meant…it’s the very reason why I’m here, writing to you today. While interacting with the Holiday Council Facebook group last month, I could feel the magic washing over me.
It was one part waterfall, one part pixie dust: intense and rushing, yet sparkly and empowering.
I realized that being part of this community inspires me to feel the sense of belonging that all of us crave. When I’m here, interacting with all of you, I know that not only is it OK to be myself, it’s encouraged. Even if my definition of self is ever-changing, the warm welcome still stands.
After almost five years as a Stratejoy fan this isn’t the first time I’ve felt the power of community, but this time was different. This time it illuminated something that I hope to never forget:
Being yourself is a solo journey, but that doesn’t mean you’re alone.
(Click to Tweet)
I believe that being yourself is what life is about and I believe it with my whole heart. But at the same time, the very essence of our humanity is connection. It’s not a trade-off. It’s a match made in heaven.
This concept of individuality in communion is one I’ve been thinking about for the last year.
After reflecting on 2014, I know I want even more of those moments feel where I feel completely connected to myself and like a kindred spirit to someone else.*
But then, don’t we all? I think that’s why, as we all gear up for a fresh year of dream-chasing and possibility-believing, I find myself wondering:
Since we don’t all have access to megaphones and mountain-tops, what else can we do to spread the word that the best of both worlds is possible?
What are other ways can we raise awareness of the truth that you don’t need to sacrifice, hide or compromise who you are in order to experience the acceptance, belonging and love we all crave? After reconnecting with this warm, supportive tribe over the holidays, I think giving words of encouragement is a solid place to start.
Spending time in the HoCo Facebook group, I watched strangers talk openly about their hardships, points of pride and secret wishes and then receive compassion, encouragement and loving understanding in return. No strings attached. It was easy to see there was deep appreciation being felt by everyone.
Giving and receiving words of encouragement was a gift; it was love, hope and courage, all wrapped up with a bow.
In her last post, Elevate sister Mallory talked about it, too. She said it takes a tribe to find yourself and I couldn’t agree more.
When was the last time you reminded someone you were in their tribe? How often do you tell someone: “It’s OK, you’ve got this! You already know what to do.” Or remind them: “Being yourself if the whole, entire point. And you’re killing it, girlfriend.”
Of course there are many ways to go about it, and it’s important that we spread love and encouragement in ways that feel genuine to us, but last week my bestie and I launched something that we think could help.
We opened an online store and our first product line speaks to the very magic that helps communities like this one to thrive. It’s a collection of encouragement cards! Our goal is simply to make it easy to give the gifts of love and encouragement and to keep them flowing all year!
There are 10 different cards to choose from, but this one in particular makes me think of you.
As a thank you for being YOU, which includes being part of a community I cherish, 50 of you can snag this card for 50% off using the promo code “STRATEJOY”.
You can click here to take a look at the collection, but you’ll want to do so by January 30th. The cards make like Cinderella’s slippers and disappear at midnight that day!
Speaking of magic, I think the kind Katie was talking about comes down to this: a willingness to express your quirks, talents, dreams and beliefs leads to profound connections with others who are willing to do the same.
That has certainly proven true for me and I simply can’t thank Molly enough for creating the space to allow that exchange to happen for so many of us.
To all of you reading, you will never know how profoundly your open hearts and kind words have helped to shaped me a woman, wife and entrepreneur. As I’ve been growing into my identity as a creator and curator of inspiration, you have been mine.
With heaps of love + gratitude,
P.S. I’m strongly considering the Stratejoy Summer Camp as a way to add more individuality in communion into my 2015. I have no doubt it’ll be an experience packed with scrapbook-worthy moments. Is anyone else planning on going? Let me know in the comments!
P.P.S. If the topic of encouragement is one you’re interested in, you’ll want to keep an eye on my blog (weareredballoon.com/blog), where I’ll be diving into it through interviews with Tara Gentile, Nicole Antoinette, Kyla Roma, and Ashley Wilhite.