“Why Are You Doing This?”
Twice recently, I’ve been asked the same question. [Read: Why on earth would you start a business to teach Community building worldwide?] Here is my attempt to answer this question.
I’ve always been the sort of person who brought people together. From the time I was a small child, I’ve been fascinated by the diversity among human beings – different ideas, experiences, and cultures, and I loved the camaraderie of a group that came to enjoy that feeling of “we’re all in this together.”
But I had no language for exactly what it was I was doing until I read M. Scott Peck’s book, The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace in the early nineties. This book defined Community in such a way that I could never again use the word lightly.
Peck’s Book Changed My Life
After that, I looked at every group I was a part of and wondered: will we evolve into Community? Because of the book, I enjoyed moderate success in my efforts to build Community, and I discovered all the pitfalls. The problem was, Peck had written about Community but he didn’t explain how to build it.
In 2010, I started a blog – my foray into social media for the purposes of building a platform for the marketing of my first book, The Happy Place. Blogs need a theme. I chose “life” and on each post, I sparked deep and lively conversations in the comments. After a time, my blog, lifeforinstance.com, became a popular meeting place in the Blogosphere.
Then, Google introduced Goodle+ Hangouts. Think of it as an early version of Zoom. I recognized that, through Hangouts, we could have real-time conversations rather than asynchronous ones in the comments! So I began to host Hangouts every two weeks.
Eventually, we settled into a core group of regulars numbering seven. Then one day, late in 2013, I noticed something as we discussed our hopes for the upcoming holidays; this group was evolving into Community!
I was beside myself with joy. I was witnessing a group of seven people who were all over the world, who had never been in the same room together evolving into Community. Later that night, the inspiration came to me to write a book to teach Community building.
Why Write a Book to Teach Community Building?
Peck had written a wonderful book about Community. But times had changed. He was a military psychiatrist and he wrote during the cold war. We were coming into the digital age. His book was long and, since I’d read it many years before, I’d been unsuccessful in convincing many people to read it, though if you’ve met me, you know I tried. So I thought, what if I wrote a concise, step-by-step guide to Community building? I set about to do just that.
Three years later, early in 2017, I published Sounding the Drum: Community Building in the Digital Age and bid it to go out and change the world by spreading Community consciousness. And nothing happened. There was something missing. Me.
So I began to talk about the book, hold small workshops, and network. I challenged myself to condense everything I believed about Community and Community building into an 18-minute TED-style talk. And I gave that talk whenever I could.
Back to School!
Eventually, the talks and the networking led to my decision to go back to school to get my Master’s in Organizational Management degree. And there, in the middle of my Organizational Culture course, I formed the business model.
Fast forward to today and here we are!
Four years ago, I wrote a post on Lorigosselin.com called “Because”. It outlines nine reasons why I care about Community so much and why I started this business. I thought you’d like to hear the backstory first and now you have.