Public Service Announcement: Alone, you do not have what it takes to live the life you want.

I’m pretty tired of all the messages telling us that everything we need is already inside us. Yes, we absolutely need to cultivate an interior life, and I’ve spent my whole life as an evangelist for that. But what is that interior life for? If we happen to experience moments of confidence, transcendence, wonder, empowerment, what happens after that?

The only way for us to find the fulfillment, joy, and purpose we crave is in community. One of my mantras is “The interaction is the inspiration.” What happens between us is what creates art, political and social movements, love, friendship, allyship, and new ideas. Whether it’s a group of friends you have known for 20 years, an impromptu conversation at the park, a virtual AA group, or a team of co-workers you see every morning, the gifts and trials of community are the essential fabric of life.

Here are a couple examples from my own life and work with clients recently:

  • A leader who’s been managing some tough conflict in their group recently said, “I had been protecting myself—now I see how the group can rise to the occasion and take care of one another if I give space for that to happen. I finally gave that space. I was nervous, but it worked.”
  • A team from a grassroots non-profit who are working together on wage transparency and modeling for the rest of us what equity looks like.
  • My daughter’s basketball team coming together to create values for how they want to show up this year. When I hear that “inclusion” was at the top, I know we are creating a better world.
  • The two musicians my husband and I met on the ferry to Salt Spring Island who invited us to play their instruments and jam with them. We ran into them later in the weekend and hugged like we were old friends.
  • An early morning Zoom call on my birthday with Emily and Natasha.
  • My collegiate son camping in the middle of the wildflowers with 40 other botany students and falling more deeply in love with the world.
  • A soulful walk this morning with my new friend David and some swims with my new friends Rachel and Spring.
  • A group of leaders at a local business leaving their to-do lists for a few hours and crowding together in my office for some sessions on leadership.
  • Running into a photographer and owl expert on the trail this morning and learning how owls are all around us if we know how to look for them.

If you’re feeling stagnant or lonely, my encouragement is to rock the boat a little. Ask a colleague to share with you what they’re working on. Ask a friend to read a book with you. Go on a walk through your neighborhood with the goal to introduce yourself to someone new. Call an old friend. Find some people to sing a song with, which just might turn everything around. Happy Solstice!