Belonging is that sense of being part of something where you are accepted; And can bring feelings of inclusion, safety and identity. Having a strong sense of belonging is a good predictor of mental health and flourishing in life.
In the interview it was suggested that today people are more likely to derive a sense of belonging and connection from their workplace or on-line then their own neighborhoods as was in the past.
I recently ran a workshop for a sales team using some positive psychology techniques as a way to boost job performance. The organization is a high pressure demanding work environment. The practice I was introducing was ‘gratitude”. The practice entails setting a regular time of the day where you note down or mentally focus on the things that are good about your workplace. This practice has been proven to boost happiness and improve resilience to stress.
In the workshop shop I asked everyone to write down 3 things that they were grateful for at work and then share that with group. It was a lovely moment when every single person acknowledged the friendship, support and connection with colleagues as something they were grateful for. It is not something we often acknowledge publically and rarely at work.
It certainly supports the notion the workplace is becoming a very important place for people to experience a sense of belonging.
Smart employers are the ones who actively foster and nurture this connection and sense of community at work. This organization I mentioned also did some volunteer work as a team putting back into the community in a very hands on way. I am sure this helped to strengthen this sense of belonging and connection to each other.
Hugh McKay says “ communities can be magical places, but the magic comes from us, not to us.”
This is a very important distinction. Regardless of where we work, how good or poor the leadership, we can still create a sense belonging and connection. It takes effort from us to make that happen. To slow down from being so busy, ticking things off our to do list and attune to others with kindness and consideration. It is a choice. It is an Art. It is something we create.