Belonging – Being a Member

We Are Social Beings
We humans are social beings. We thrive on being a member, live in clusters and form ourselves into communities and groups, tribes and bands. There is a catch, though. The need to belong can be overpowering and may come with a cost. I know, because I have felt it too.
It works the same way in business and on the Internet. Have you ever been hooked on belonging; being a member of a business related group because it appeared to give you focus, purpose and clarity and satisfied that need? Being a member mostly keeps you busy, has you think you’re making headway. It may even make you feel good about yourself. After all, we all want to belong to something bigger than ourselves. Our identities demand it.

Do the Math

How many of you have taken the time to analyze the actual results produced because of belonging to that group? If you put on your accountants visor, rolled up your sleeves and reviewed the numbers you’d be amazed.
Tally up the hours spent “belonging,” doing, contributing, include the monthly dues, the time taken from other, possibly more important, tasks. Now set that next to the financial benefit, the money brought in because of your membership in that group. I’d venture to say you’re in for a startling awakening.
Let Me Draw You A Couple of Pictures

Two examples of this surfaced in the early part of the week.
I have belonged to a blog commenting tribe since April of 2011. It has operated as promise and brought many additional comments to my blog, to this blog you’re reading now. I’ve enjoyed meeting many fellow bloggers, reading their posts and being a member of a community.
Recently the tribe has seen many bloggers fall off the rolls and closure of the tribe is a distinct possibility. So, in hedging my bets, I’ve begun to look at alternative methods to gain followers and keep the comments coming.
In the process I put on my accountant’s visor and went looking at the financial side, and am scratching my head in wonder. Although I felt good about being a part of the group, I have a sense of belonging, being needed and wanted; it’s brought me nothing in the way of business. Lots of time and effort and zero return.
Second example. In working with a coaching client I discovered that she was spending a tremendous amount of time with a group on training calls, writing assignments and reading. There is nothing wrong with training and development. She’s been doing this now for two years. She has a sense of belonging to something larger than herself; there is a feeling of camaraderie as everyone in the group is out to accomplish something similar – financial gain. Isn’t that ironic.
When I had her take a look at the costs, the time, the money spent, her personal sacrifice, the light bulb went on. The group provided no more than arms length support, took from her productive time and cost her monthly, returning no increase in her income. I heard her gasp when she understood this truth.
What Were We Thinking?

Why did we stay so long? What did we gain? With a false sense of security, an inner personal need was met indeed. We belonged and fooled ourselves into thinking we were being productive.
Where in your life do you see similarities? Are you hanging on to “belong?” At what cost to you and your business? Be picky with your time. Belong to groups certainly, but belong to those groups that move you forward in your business, in your life and in your dreams.
Belonging – Being A Member
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Rick Lelchuk

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