Editor’s note: Triangle entrepreneur and thought leader Jes Averhart, CEO of Jes & Co and host of the “Reinvention Road Trip,” is a regular WRAL TechWire contributor who explores topics pertaining to reinvention, especially prompted by the onset of the global pandemic. Her columns appear weekly. 

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Here at Reinvention Road Trip, we’re coming up on an exciting milestone: our three-year anniversary. And we’re psyched, y’all!

Today I want to share one of the core truths we’ve realized over the course of the past three years. You ready? It’s this: we need each other, friends.

What am I talking about? Community gets a lot of lip service, but I’m stepping up here to tell you that talk is cheap but real connections in a supportive community—it’s *chef’s kiss*.

And the converse is true, too. As I’ve led workshops, coached individuals and facilitated cohorts, I’ve repeatedly witnessed what happens when people isolate themselves or feel disconnected. Bottom line: they struggle.

Why? When we live life in isolation, problems grow—not in actuality, but in our minds. Challenges get bigger, badder and more intimating. They grow so huge that we lose faith in our ability to prevail.

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And when we lose hope, we become lesser versions of ourselves. Depending on who we are, we become defensive… or perhaps offensive. We feel more stress and less optimism. We see the negative in our teammates, our partners, our life circumstances—in everything.

But when we connect with others, the opposite happens. Our troubles shrink. Obstacles seem surmountable. Our confidence soars. And suddenly we see the good around us. The air is more refreshing, food is sweeter, and our hearts are lighter.

You see, when we feel supported by and instrumental to a community, our vision changes. By engaging in a community, we suddenly recognize our strengths and why and how we have value. We share in the communal energy; we take heart that we are not alone. Sometimes we lean on our new friends, and other times we lift others up.

This is true in all aspects of life. Work, home… professional, personal. We need each other, friends.

So… naturally, we’re doing what we do best over here. <Smile with me> We’re leaning into this discovery as a company.

In the past, we’ve dabbled in the business of fostering connection, but now we’re taking it to the next level by launching a new online community. We’re calling it Campfire Circles… and we’re hoping you’ll settle in by the fire with us, toast a marshmallow, and get to know your fellow Travelers. It’ll go live on our anniversary (July 1), and you can sign up for our newsletter to get notified about it Saturday morning.

We don’t claim to be experts on how to build community (yet), but we’re determined to master this. What we know for sure right now is that the need for community is real and undeniable. Now we’re out to figure out how to best foster it.

In the meantime, ask yourself a few questions to prime the pump:

  • Do I feel isolated or connected? Do I have a community? Perhaps a few circles that really work for me? Or am I doing life solo?
  • Am I open to building connections with people, or am I resistant? If I’m resistant, why?
  • Have I had good or bad experiences with connection or community in the past? What can I learn from those experiences?
  • What would my ideal community look and feel like? What would I want to get out of it?

We’ll be writing about connection and how to build a rewarding community as we learn more. I can’t wait to share it all with you!

For now, we hope you’ll lean into this with us. I’m raising my glass in your direction as we toast to something bigger than a company anniversary… a community I hope you’ll become an active part of!