Start something. Who cares what? The other day, on a whim, I started a group to talk about health and fitness. I did it because I wanted some place to post what I’m learning about food and nutrition and fitness and motivation and the like. I’m not qualified. I’m not an expert. Hell, Jacqueline, my girlfriend, has her masters in Nutrition, is working on her PhD, and has more certifications than I can shake a stick at when it comes to all this. I’m so unqualified it’s silly.
So why did I dare to start a group to talk about health and fitness? Because I don’t have to be the expert. I can just create something, find people who also want to participate, and then we’re on to something.
But that’s my interest. That’s one of my interests. And if you’re part of that, awesome. And if you’re part of a lot of things, awesome. But what are you going to create?
Plant Your Damned Flag, Already
If you’re waiting for the world to tap you on the shoulder and provide you with your kingdom, it’s not coming. If you want to make something, then start. Start anywhere. I do my work online. What do you need?
- Make the theme of your intended group really obvious. “Talking About Writing” won’t get anyone’s attention. “Deadly Pen Club” would make me click right away.
- Make an easy place for people to gather and participate as equals. You might love Facebook groups, forums, whatever. I prefer Google+ communities right now. But who cares? Tools are tools.
- Make a strong effort to engage newcomers and make them feel welcome at the party (#1 reason people don’t participate is they don’t feel welcome or seen).
- Find a way to schedule regular real-time experiences of some kind, but make the lion’s share of the interactions more non-real-time (like posts on a forum or tweets to a hashtag).
- Serve the community. Serve hardest and you’re technically the leader. Yes, you have to lead them. But lead by serving. (Google “Servant leader” and you’ll have an avalanche of help.)
- Do something with the group. Make something happen. Find a hill and conquer it. Whatever that hill may be.
- Grow more leaders.
That’s the recipe.
If You Don’t Want to Lead
Hello, introverts. You can breathe again. I’m done scaring you. There are plenty of roles for supporting cast in the universe and you give a LOT of yourself to such movements. Please don’t worry about the above unless you feel so moved. It’s all okay.
Everyone else? Start something.
What’s your story? What’s your flag? What do you “want” to do that you haven’t started yet?
Is bravery the issue?