Do you feel like you belong?
Belongingness is a focus that comes up in many of the conversations I have had on my podcast, Focus on WHY. In fact a whopping 87 of the 295 episodes released so far have referenced it.
So what is so important about belongingness and how does it relate to your purpose? A feeling of connectedness to your community, work environment, school, sports team or group gives you a sense of purpose and meaning which in turn can fuel your happiness, mental and physical health, and general wellbeing. Thriving in a community where you feel you belong also offers you the opportunity to experience fulfilment, acceptance, inclusion, safety, self-worth and feel valued for your contributions.
We are all unique but we also have that overriding desire to belong. We want to have that sense of belonging yet we also wish to stand out, be heard and be different, but we also want to connect. So there's the juxtaposition as humans are not designed to live alone. We need to be with other people to not just survive but to thrive.
After your physiological and safety needs, American Psychologist, Abraham Maslow stated in his third level of The Hierarchy of Needs that love and belonging are core human needs seeking intimacy, friendship and connection. A sense of belongingness is so deeply rooted as a human emotional need that it is often felt at a subconscious level.
Jackie Handy said in episode 129 Unconscious Competence that “Belonging is something that is felt. You cannot simply say to somebody, you are being included. They have to feel that within, that they feel safe to open up to people around them about who they are. They have to feel valued for their contribution.”
In business, people make decisions and choices on whether they feel they belong based on the company values and if they aligned, or not, with their own personal values. With the understanding that you are making a difference to other people, whether that be on a local, national or global basis, you will feel as though you are part of the bigger jigsaw in life. You will feel you belong in this world.
Do you feel aligned with your company’s mission and purpose? Do you understand how you fit in to the bigger picture of your business and how you make a difference?
Diana Theodores, from episode 111 Performing as You, has been on a personal quest for belonging all her life, trying to understand where home is and where she belongs.
“The one place that I've always felt I belong is whenever I'm able to work in collaboration with other creative kindred spirits in whatever capacity that might be. So whether it's preparing a leadership programme with a colleague, or working with a group of people from an organisation, to creating something, doing what we're doing right now, having this wonderful dialogue with someone like you who really gets it.”
Becoming a member of the Professional Speaking Association has probably been one of the best things I've done in terms of finding a community focused on belongingness where I felt I truly belonged. Many of my podcast guests have come from the PSA. Joanne Lockwood, PSA Elect Chair, Inclusion and Belonging Specialist and guest from episode 157 See Change Happen, helps organisations to understand the value of inclusion and belonging, the alignment of values and the type of people that will drive their businesses forward.
Through Focus on WHY I have created a collective purpose that brings people together through this sense of belonging by giving them the support and stability of a safe platform that enables them to continue doing great work and get their voice heard.
How will you create a sense of belongingness today for yourself and for others today?
Focus on Belongingness.
ACTION POINT - Focus on belongingness in your daily interactions with others today. Ensure that you make other people feel welcome being open to their differences as well as their similarities.