When I discovered the Rising Tide Society in late 2015, I was ecstatic. This was the exact group I’d been craving for years. A group all about businesses and creatives coming together to buoy each other up and help each other succeed?! Yes!! I’d been trying to make photography friends and it wasn’t working. Everyone seemed so secretive and so afraid of having contact with competition. It was so lonely.
And then RTS took off and has been taking the nation by storm. I wasn’t anywhere near an official group so I joined the Facebook groups for the two groups closest to me. The closest group was the East Valley Phoenix group, over three hours away. I interacted here and there in the group, but didn’t know what to say and was afraid to jump in. Finally after a while I decided to make it to one of the meet ups. They had a fun Tuesdays Together meeting planned, so I got everything arranged and went down.
And it didn’t go as planned. So many hiccups along the way with cars, kids, babysitters, places to stay, wrong addresses, etc. I went home feeling more lonely and more defeated, like it hadn’t been worth the crazy trip down. That wasn’t what I’d imagined all those months watching! It felt like I was hitting wall after wall while everyone else was cruising by with carloads of friends along for the ride. I sat on the kitchen floor and bawled.
Cameron sat next to me and wrapped me in his arms, and said something that changed my perspective and trajectory. “We live far away from the group and any other Rising Tide members. You don’t have the same network or experiences here that they have. You have longer drives everywhere, and you have to tote both kids along. You have some huge obstacles to overcome that most of them don’t have. It’s not easy now, and your growth may be slower, but in a few years you will be strong because of this. You’ll be able to be a support to others who feel the things you have felt.”
And he was right, as he usually is. I spent the next year learning about myself, my business, my family, and about how to create and be a part of true community. I learned that community is not what you get out of it, it’s what you put into it. Community is not about yourself. I went to that first meeting expecting community to sweep me in it’s arms and change my life without me doing anything. And that’s just not how it works.
Well, now we live only an hour and a half away from the group. I know, some of you still are thinking, “That’s a long ways!!” but that’s a pretty standard drive for us. Now that we are closer, one of my goals is to be active in the Tuesdays Together group in person, not just online. So the first meeting scheduled after our move, I signed up. And not only signed up, but volunteered to help as requests for greeters and a photographer came in. If I was doing this, I was going to pour myself into it heart and soul and give what I could. Because that’s the best way to grow community.
And you guys, it was such a great experience! Complete 180 from my first meeting. And not because the first meeting was bad, or that this one even was mile better. But I was different. I was in a different mindset, and I was ready to build not just consume. That right there makes the biggest difference in life!
The Tuesdays Together meeting was held at Sutton Farms in Gilbert, and it’s gorgeous! Jenn was so sweet to open up her home to all of us! We had a chance to meet, visit, and mingle before diving into the topic of the month, Client Experience. One other thing I did differently at this meeting than the first was to participate in the discussion. It’s still intimidating, but I knew I wouldn’t get anything out if I didn’t put anything in. So I piped up, and you know what? No one laughed at what I had to say. No one made fun of me. Because no one does at these! It was so fun to hear others’ perspectives and techniques!
Community can be so powerful in our lives, but we have to be willing to jump in and do our part of the lifting.
Seriously, Jenn’s home is amazing and completely what dreams are made of!
Oh Miles! Such a sweet boy. We’re totally buddies now. It was so fun to see Amanda in person again and to meet this handsome little man. Amanda is the completely branding genius and guru behind Brand Epiphany! I still can’t believe I got to work with her…I’m just so in love with my brand!