It’s no longer a big world out there folks. Not since the world wide web came to town. Today, with the push of a button, you can have access to millions of people who are, at any given moment, surfing the web looking for your unique message. Isn’t that great?
Except for the fact that while you can now reach a much larger audience than ever before with relative ease, so can everyone else, and the scariest part is the whole world has just become your competition.
Thousands of blogs are created every day. Websites can now be created in minutes. Social media is so fast moving that posts scroll into obscurity in mere hours. So how does one’s message get heard over the bustle and blather of the masses?
This was a problem that has been eating at me as I was trying to figure out how to increase my blog readership. Until my part-time job in a little vintage shop gave me a different perspective.
The number one reason I work outside my home is because I am a social creature who craves connection with other human souls. I have found the perfect venue with this little shop, that is located in the downtown shopping district of my city.
Now I have been in retail all my working life, in many different retail businesses, big and small, but most were situated in large corporate, soul sucking shopping malls. For the most part I did the job of a faceless service provider. While I made fleeting connections with my customers, rarely did they produce lasting impressions on them or on me.
The shop where I now work is located in a traditional shopping district. As with a lot of cities in north America, our downtown saw a dramatic decline in the 1980’s and has slowly renewed itself into a funky little village within the city. It has a vibe and a feel completely different than any other part of the city.
The shopping pace downtown is slower than at a mall which gives me time to get to know the folks who regularly drop by the store. Most by name. Even those who are just passing through find time to chat and leave a little piece of themselves behind, and I in turn am privileged to share myself with them as well. For fleeting moments in time, random souls connect and nourish one another with meaningful kinship.
I realized that for me, working in a shopping mall was similar to trying to be a large presence on the internet. Sure I can reach lots of people on a daily basis and yes I might even offer up the exact message that those who follow me seek, but the result tends to be a transaction, one sided and hollow. What I have come to realize, is I prefer interaction, a two way soul connection that is mutually nourishing.
Think globally, act locally.
My message is not unique on the internet. The wisdom club is actually getting quite crowded. Everyday some other well meaning soul is offering up their personal take on living a heart centered life. But what I also see everyday, is individuals who are seeking human connection. Maybe a little understanding and even a little wisdom to help make sense of a world gone mad. The type of message that can best be offered up with a warm smile, a set of truthful eyes and occasionally, a gentle touch.
I’ve learned, through working at the little vintage shop, that I get much more satisfaction offering up my knowledge and service within my neighborhood of influence. I don’t need to conquer the problems of the world, or be the wise guru for the masses. I just need to be a positive influence for that one person who ventures into the shop or stumbles upon my blog, and hopefully, I can impart enough wisdom to improve their life just a little.
So if you have become overwhelmed with the vastness of the world wide web or you feel you voice is being drowned out by the masses, step back and think small. Don’t concern yourself with more than the circle of your influence.
Whether it is virtual or in real life, create your own personal village. Develop friendships within it. Allow interaction, connection and mutual soul nourishing. Use your personal message (what you stand for, your unique take on life) to be the safe place for others to visit and feel at home. It could be via your own blog, your Facebook page, or wherever else you choose to welcome folks into your life.
I’m not talking about your tribe. To me, your tribe is your intimate group, your family and friends. Those are the people who know you and accept you for who you are and love you for it.
I’m talking about the community you inhabit. The circle of your personal and professional influence. The little village that allows for random souls to visit and pass through. The friends, acquaintances and strangers who contribute to your life for a snip of time or, on a daily or weekly basis and in return, you contribute to theirs as well.
That is the lesson I learned in the little vintage shop where I work. This is the community where I can best use my wisdom and gifts.
So rather than struggle to be seen on the crowded world wide web, and rather than compete with a cities worth of folks offering a similar message on websites far superior than mine, I will instead faithfully contributing my own unique take on life within the Crone village that I have created. Both on this blog and with the interesting people who stop by the little vintage shop in the downtown village within the city where I live .
Where is your village? Leave a comment and contribute to the conversation…. and thanks for visiting mine.