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March 09, 2018

Community and Habit

I grew up on a small street where most of the people on the street had lived for a long time. We waved to each other, would pull over and talk if we were driving down and saw someone, and always looked out for the area. New people would on occasion move into the area and over time they would start to act just like the rest of us, waving, talking, etc.

I didn’t really notice a lot of this outside of the area I grew up in but no matter where I go I keep the habits, I talk to people, wave, etc. These were the behaviors of my community and I am sure if you think about it you will see habits from where you grew up still being a part of you.

Whether it is the area you grew up in, the gym you lift in or the space you work in, the communities you surround yourself will change who you are as you spend time in them. You become a part of the community and can even help to shape it, while I was at Equals6, I helped build and foster a digital community of over 90,000 students, creating new things to influence them to succeed.

Communities have been a big part of my life and have helped me grow professionally and personally. In this post, I’m going to describe how to find communities that will help you become better and the role these communities play in helping us become a better version of ourselves.

Find a Community

I take this lesson pretty far, I always try to surround myself with the community of what I am working on and of entrepreneurship in general. The more I am around hard-working, dedicated people, the easier it is to focus and brush off distractions. Surrounding yourself with the right people will push you to be a hard working person.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

Two years ago I started Power Lifting and managed to luck out, I picked my old university gym which happened to be a hang out for a small group of very hardcore lifters. From first place bodybuilders to high ranked powerlifters, all of whom seemed to always be at the gym when I was. Over the course of a year, I became great friends with them, some of them helped with form, others with the mindset, some just made me laugh and feel like I belonged in the gym. We would all work like a team when someone was going for a PR (Personal Record: lifting everything you can); we would help spot them or simply stand around to give support and encouragement (usually by yelling and swearing). You are the people you spend time with, you carry them with you forever.

Below is us spotting one of the groups, Chris Crowell (a successful powerlifter and bodybuilder) while he goes for a 500lbs bench press, there is some swearing in the video.

I take this same concept from the gym and apply it to everything I am passionate about now, I code around coders, I work around hard workers. If I have the chance, I work like a hobo in offices or co-working spaces even in the homes of other entrepreneurs and business people. I do this to surround myself with great workers, with activity, with people creating great things. I work that much harder because of it.

Digital Communities

I spend a lot of my day online, I am an IT student running an online company, who was a nerd in the first place, so I log what is probably an unhealthy amount of screen time. I have added in a lot of entrepreneur content and interactions into the online communities I spend a lot of time on. My Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit all have business and entrepreneurship based content mixed into them. This gives me a wider reach than I could ever have in real life and makes it so I can still feel connected while not being able to go out.

If you have never been on Reddit it is essentially a large discussion forum with multiple areas called subreddits. The entrepreneurship subreddit (r/entrepreneur) has had a huge effect on Hustle and Grind, we found an in-depth break down of a subscription company called WetShaveClub. While they are not 100% the same as H&G, we were able to gain an amazing amount of perspective on what we would need to do to launch the company and what we should be looking for in terms of companies to work with.

Also, I want to single out the team that started WSC – I have hit walls a few times and asked them for advice and they have gotten back to me every single time. These are guys that have never met me but we belong to the same community and they are willing to give me advice and direction, they have helped create our business simply by caring enough to type a few words into a message box.

Even if your business is a new concept you can still find something of use in these communities. You might find a supplier, or a better understanding of how to work with contracted employees, any bit of information that will allow you to avoid mistakes. Get engaged in these communities!

Continue The Community: Give Back

I try to say yes to as many volunteer events as possible, I have taught social media classes to charities allowing them to reach out to their supporters in new ways, I have done workshops with high school students that teach budgeting and business skills, and I will sit down for a coffee with almost anyone that is looking for advice. I have been a connector for the Greater Halifax Partnership which is a program “that helps immigrants, international students and young and emerging talent ” connect with people already in the industry and simply have conversations, learn and try and gain access to the established community.

I believe that it is the job of those that have succeeded to create more success in the world and that is why Hustle and Grind will be giving away 10% of our yearly profitto groups making a difference in the lives of young people. It’s why you will find both Ross and myself both willing to say yes to taking action in our community.

What communities will you become a part of, what ones are you already a part of? Some of the best advice I have received was from Paul Singh, “curate your network”, consider what communities you spend your time in, how do they help you, how can you help them?

Now go connect with a community, enrich the world while you get better yourself.

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