We All Need That Place: A Heart-to-Heart on Building Communities

If you want to build a real community by (and for) real people, it all comes down to this one good intention:  

Create a safe place to share.

If you want a community where people feel comfortable leaning on each other in good times and bad, create a place where they feel strengthened and supported, not sold to or swindled. If they want it, they’ll find it and they’ll buy it. It's as simple as that.

If you want a community where vulnerability is not only tolerated – but celebrated – create a place where you can be vulnerable yourself. Remove all facades, set the tone, and see what happens. Then, prepare to be amazed. 

If you want a community that’s not loud, or automated, or filled with “click here!” cruft, create a place where softness and serenity is cherished. Celebrate new babies. Toast to new jobs. Offer a shoulder when life gets dark. The world needs more of this. Your people will prioritize this place, because sacred spaces are, to borrow words from Salman Rushdie, rarer than rubies.

If you want a community that you love, and who loves you back – whether you’re a person, a brand, a business, a product, or a service – create a place where people feel safe sharing their own story within your larger narrative. Please note: it’s not about you. It’s about how people feel about what you say, and fit you into their life based on the emotions you reveal. Let that humble your offering and offer a new perspective for invention.  

If you want to build a real community by – and for – real people, create a place to give what your own soul craves. I need that place. She needs that place. He needs that place. We all need that place.  

In the history of everything that makes us human, one thing is clear: we all want to be acknowledged. 

To be heard. To be seen. 

To be toasted. To be cheered.

To be loved, flaws and all. 

Do you know why Adele tugs on 3.5 million heartstrings?

It's because she captures the emotions we've all felt, beyond borders and language barriers, giving people an outlet for expressing their own – alone or collectively. 

Yes, we all need that place. 

Whether or not we know each other "in real life." (It's all real life.)

Whether or not our coordinates fall on opposite ends of the earth, and we’ve never met face-to-face. It doesn’t matter. Words and the emotions behind them have no travel restrictions.  

We all need that place to go when we’re weary, when we need to make sense of it all, when we need to ask for help, when we need to commiserate, when we need to lean in and be strong for another soul may be walking where our footsteps once carved out a place on the Earth. 

We all need that place. 

Community is how we create that for ourselves – and for each other. Content is how we travel to that place. It’s how we reach each other through the heart, beyond time, distance, or life experience.

If you want to build a real community by (and for) real people, you know it all comes down to this:  

Create a safe place to share.  

And watch what happens when you offer the purest of emotions and intentions.