Thursday, October 24, 2019

Send Up a Beacon

Author and creator Austin Kleon sends out a weekly newsletter, which usually consists of a list of 10 things he's seen, read, heard, written, or made lately that he thinks are interesting enough to share with his readers.

I'm a subscriber, and have certainly found some worthwhile tidbits.

In a recent post, he reflected on why he shares these things: "Make stuff you love and talk about stuff you love and you’ll attract people who love that kind of stuff. It’s that simple."

He follows that up with, "I started doing this to find my people. The people who care about the same things that I do."

His post called to mind one that I wrote a while back called Find Your People:
Sometimes we're told internally or externally that whatever group we're a part of, we should just power through, endure, make it work even if it clearly isn't going to. What are the alternatives? Where could you possibly find the folks that really, actually, truly get you, understand you, appreciate you? Where are the people with whom you can be your most genuine self, without judgment, reservation, or professional consequence?

There's no one answer to that. Sometimes it takes some hunting, sometimes it happens by accident. Sometimes it starts online, sometimes in real life. 

But your people are out there. They're looking for you just as much as you're looking for them. And once you find each other, it can make all the difference for both of you.
There's no one way to find the people you fit in with the best. In my post I mostly talk about actively searching. But sometimes, as Kleon points out, they find you. And it could happen by chance, but it doesn't hurt to send up a beacon, too.

And really, there are ways most of us do that already. It's why we wear clothing with the logos of our favorite bands or sports teams, or why we go to events where we know they'll be. It's to see our favorites in person, but there's something about being there with fellow fans that enriches it, too.

(I can't tell you how often, especially living in Ohio, I get excited when I see a fellow Michigan fan wearing our team's colors. I almost always say something, because God knows we're in this together.)

And we do this online. We share links on social media to videos or articles about stuff we're passionate about. Sure, we may tell ourselves that it's to broaden the minds of people who don't like it or agree, but more often it's to find those who agree or are into it as well. Like Kleon, we're sending up a beacon. We're looking for those who will give it a like or share or leave a supportive comment; wanting to know that there are others who are with us, even from afar.

Indeed, your people are out there. Sometimes you have to find them, and sometimes, if you help light the way, they'll find you.

(image source)