What Happens When You Put It Out There - Another Story To Inspire Gina and Maybe You
I am not a big fan of asking for help. Of course, life has made it impossible to NOT ask for help, but it isn’t my favorite thing to do. Instead, I like to make magic happen by putting out the need and seeing what happens. The amazing thing is that it is like magic and things do happen. You better be prepared for it, because it can rock your world.
For the last few years I have been feeling lonely. There are not a lot of my professional peers in my small town. Most of the people who live there either are over 60 and looking at or deeply diving into retirement or they have small children and are deeply enmeshed into family life. I complained about this so many times to my husband, my daughter and to my two very best walking buddies that I got sick of hearing my own voice. I HAD to stop telling that story. Although, not telling the story didn’t mean I wasn’t lonely, because I was. It dawned on me that OTHER people were probably lonely too. They might want to be with their peers and were looking for groups that they could belong to.
I got to work. I put up a Facebook page for Northwest Arkansas Bloggers. As a blogger I figured that this was a good place to start looking for my own brand of introverted, nerdy, worker bees. I didn’t do ANYTHING on the page for a year. I just would share it with people and people liked it. That is it. Then this year, after over 100 people liked the page, I created a monthly meet up at a location that was convenient for most of them (I drive over an hour to get there). The first one was at a trendy restaurant patio that offered a pretty rich appetizer menu; bloggers may or may not have any money.
Over 25 people came to that first event. There was no agenda, we didn’t have name tags, we didn’t even introduce ourselves to the whole group. People just mingled and go to know a few more of their community. It was magic.
Since then we have swapped back and forth between cities in the region allowing for people to have less drive time and experience different locations. Usually a core group of 10 - 15 show up, but many more want to come and are busy. I post the notice of where it is and what date on the Facebook Page and people either RSVP or don’t. There is no requirement to Tweet about the location, Instagram or even talk about blogging. Blogging may be the thing that ties us together, but we are learning that we are full people beyond the blogging banner.
Friendships have been made, opportunities have been explored, wins and losses have been experienced, we participated in #Socktober with Kid President, and we are finding the similarities amongst a very diverse group who have one thing in common initially. Putting out the idea of a meet up could have totally flopped, but I knew that there had to be others who felt a deep longing to connect with a group about something they did silently and often into the void in their kitchens, tucked in their offices, or propped up on pillows on their bed.
Blogging can seem like you are sharing your world to the universe and no one is listening, but by connecting in real life we transcend that feeling. We make magic happen every month; all because I was lonely.
Keisha is one of the only ones who even remembers to post a photo! Thank you!