“It takes a village to raise a child” is an African proverb that means an entire community of people must interact with children for those children to grow in a safe and healthy environment. It also became a popular saying in American culture several decades back. My precept is that a village of people to help each of us to reach anything close to our full potential. My life is an example of how this works and I’m proud of what my village has helped me to accomplish so far in my lifetime. Building your village to achieve life success is a worthy goal.
Very little is accomplished in life all on our own. Instead, our achievements are the product of the village we have created for ourselves. This village consists of the people and resources we assemble in order to achieve the goals we have in mind.
For example, as I was out for my morning walk I passed by a house where a family with five very little children used to live. I believe there was at least one set of twins and the oldest was about five years old. A man was coming out of the house as I walked by, and I stopped to asked him if he knew what had happened to that family.
As we were speaking, the front door opened and out stepped a beautiful young lady. The man pointed and said, “This is the youngest. They’re all teenagers now, driving and working at part-time jobs. I know you may not recognize me, but I’m the dad.”
We laughed and talked some more, and he thanked me for some books I had given to his children all those years ago. “Thank you for your help with this,” he added. By “this” he was referring to the concept that many people help raise a child, and it takes a village to make it all happen.
How Are You Building Your Village to Improve and Shape Your Life?
Village building comes naturally to many people. I was not one of them. Instead, it took me decades to understand this concept and to finally make it a part of my daily life. I’m an extreme introvert and had previously believed I needed to do everything on my own.
The way I was finally able to build a village of people to connect with and grow was by sharing my origin story. If you aren’t familiar with this term, here’s more of an explanation as to how it works…
Your origin story is a story about how you and your current life came to be, including the challenges and obstacles you overcame to get where you are now and why you believe you are successful. It’s the perfect way to share your values and quickly connect with people. They should quickly understand how and why you are valuable to them and from where you started to get there from your origin story. The goal is to engage and better connect with your others to inspire them to take positive action on your behalf.
Here are five tips to creating a powerful origin story:
Start with Your Why
Why does your belief system exist today? What inspired you to take action and make the first move? When you think about these questions, highlight what memories stand out the most and share them with others. Not only does that build a stronger relationship with them, but it also provides them a quick and easy way to understand how you benefit them by being a part of their village.
Expand and Elaborate
Further, elaborate on what brought you to where you are today. An origin story is about how you became who you are today. It is not a brief description of who you are or what you do. It’s how you got there and what inspired you to continue or make a difference. I am a product of my heritage, my upbringing, and my life experiences based on my interests and my choices. People close to me know my story and understand me on a deeper level as a result.
Include Your Failures or Challenges
Every successful person has a commonality, no matter the niche. This includes experiencing failure and learning how to overcome difficult challenges or changing times. Through failure, you discover who you truly are and can make the best products for your customers. It also makes a great way to fully connect and relate to people while educating about solving their problems.
Highlight the Payoffs or Rewards
End your origin story on the rewards you received from starting your life’s journey. Highlight how they reflect your personal values and how they can benefit others. Did the challenges along the way change your ways, or did they prove you right from the start?
Remember, Honesty Is the Right Policy
Be factual and honest. Don’t make up a story just because you think people will better understand it or think it is more exciting. Others can see that from a mile away. A good origin story builds trust, credibility, and worth. Without honesty, you can’t have that.
As you can see, a perfect origin story is about building a relationship with other people. It’s a unique and creative way to better communicate your values, benefits, and objectives to build your village in a way that makes sense to you and to them.
Friendship is Crucial When Building Your Village
Recently, I was reading an article about friendship and the building blocks of meaningful connection. This part stood out for me:
We can count on so few people to go that hard way with us,” the poet Adrienne Rich observed as she contemplated the art of honorable human relationships on the cusp of the Internet revolution that furnished the commodification of the word friend. “Ponder for a long time whether you shall admit a given person to your friendship,” Seneca counseled two millennia earlier in his meditation on true and false friendship, “but when you have decided to admit him, welcome him with all your heart and soul.” But how does one refine the ponderation sieve through which one admits into one’s soul the few who count?
Perched in time and sensibility between Seneca and Rich, the Lebanese-American poet, painter, and philosopher Kahlil Gibran (January 6, 1883–April 10, 1931) examined this question in a few short, exquisitely insightful verses from The Prophet — the 1923 classic that also gave us Gibran on the courage to weather the uncertainties of love and what may be the finest advice ever offered on the balance of intimacy and independence in healthy relationships.
Building your village allows others in your life to be a part of your success. Reach out to those you wish to know better and emulate in some way. Be willing to meet them halfway when your opinions differ. Give them the chance to see you the way you would most like to be seen and be amazed at what may happen. Life is short; build your village and make good friends to give each day more meaning.
“Our time on earth is pretty short. I should be doing what I feel like I should be doing.” ~ Colson Whitehead, novelist and two time Pulitzer Prize winner for Fiction (The Nickel Boys and The Underground Railroad).
I’m Connie Ragen Green, sharing my story and building my village along the way. Come along with me, if you will and let’s explore the possibilities, together.