Building Communities

I’m successful if I make someone else feel successful. 
Michele Linn on Linked In
 
Could Michele’s quote be any better? What a wonderful way to approach your work: setting out to make people feel successful.
 
It can apply to any profession, any endeavour. 

   – The teacher makes their students feel successful, with the spin-off that parents do too. 

   – The novelist tells stories so well told that readers enter the world they create successfully.

   – The artist creates something so captivating that people feel compelled to talk about it. 

   – The business blog gives a piece of information or sparks a new idea so successfully that readers can’t wait to do something with it.

Imagine the opposite

Students are too afraid to put their hands up in case they get it wrong. The reader just can’t get into the book. The artwork leaves people feeling ho-hum. Or the business blog is really only about selling. 

 There’s a common thread to success stories

It’s a thread so fine that not everyone sees it, and so delicate that it’s easily broken. Weaving with it takes courage, resilience and skill.
 
The thread is about sharing power
 
In all great success stories, the person on the receiving end of any exchange has the opportunity to be active. They have a feeling of agency: that they can add to what’s being presented, whether it’s knowledge, creativity, goods or services.
 
It takes courage to give space to people

What if they fill it with things you don’t like? What if they hijack what you are trying to do? What if it reflects badly on you?
 
It takes resilience

Giving people the space to add their input won’t always work. It will go wrong sometimes and fall flat at others.

It takes skill

To pick up when things are not working and to know what to do about it.

And here’s the tricky bit – building skill only comes from having the courage to take the chance, and from being resilient enough to keep trying.

Yes, it’s an endless loop but the view can be amazing.
 
Because when we give people space, and they contribute something positive and powerful? 

Then we are building communities

JK Rowling did it. Her writing inspired fan sites, art and fiction based on the magical world of Harry Potter. 
 
Ikea did it. They didn’t set out to create a community of hackers, but they are embracing them with things like an Ikea-hacks exhibition
 
People want to be part of communities

Creators have a chance to make it possible by leaving space for them to get involved. 
 
All it takes is courage, resilience and a certain amount of skill.

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