Remember when everyone was doing vision boards after Oprah talked about them back in the day? I remember wanting to do one, but never did. UNTIL 2017. I was in the middle of my Happiness Project and decided a vision board would be a great way for me to have a constant reminder of all the things I wanted to focus on not only for the new year, but my future life.
This was a lot of fun to make! I researched all the things I knew I wanted to focus on and found pictures and quotes to cut out and paste to my board. I also bought some motivational stickers for fun.
As you can see, I started in the top left with New Friends. I already talked about finding my tribe and now I was on a mission to curate that in my life. I look at the people I meet differently now too. I’m only going to talk about this area because I’ve covered all the other areas in previous posts. You can see I chose all the things I had been working on.. courage, meditation, exercise, reading, volunteering, being present and my ABCDE strategy.
1 REALIZE YOUR FEAR IS IN YOUR HEAD (It’s not as scary as you think)
2 START WITH PEOPLE YOU KNOW (Reach out to acquaintances, join existing groups, meet friends’ friends, accept social invitations)
3 GET YOURSELF OUT THERE (Join meet-up groups, attend courses, volunteer, go to parties)
4 TAKE THE FIRST STEP (Say hello – It’s about being sociable)
5 BE OPEN (Don’t judge, one an emotional level, open your heart)
6 GET TO KNOW THE PERSON (What does he/she do? What are his/her values? What are his/her passions? Goals? Dreams? What motivates/drives him/her?)
7 CONNECT WITH GENUINELY (Warmth, love and respect build friendship)
8 BE YOURSELF (Don’t’ change yourself for any else)
9 BE THERE FOR THEM (That what friendships about)
10 MAKE THE EFFORT TO STAY IN TOUCH (It takes two to clap)
1 This is most certainly true. It’s not scary at all actually. I’m not a shy person. It’s not that I was afraid to make new friends, I just didn’t want to. I didn’t see the value, so I didn’t bother getting to know new people. I know how awful this sounds. But, I’m being honest. I didn’t realize the RICHNESS that having the RIGHT friends in your life makes all the difference.
2 I did start reaching out to those friends that I already had that I missed and wanted to keep in my life. I started inviting those people to lunch, shows, movies, whatever, just to see them. And in return I said yes when invited to any social function. One thing I really focused on was saying “yes”. I made sure that if I was invited to something, I said yes. Unless there was a good reason, like a scheduling conflict, I went. This changed everything. Just going and doing opens up your world and makes your life so rich. It’s actually shocking when I think back to the amount of times I said no, for no reason whatsoever. I just didn’t want to. Or I wanted to and decided it wasn’t worth the effort. I’ll admit sometimes I’ll have a commitment and think “I really don’t feel like doing this.” But, I’m ALWAYS glad I did. I’m usually energized and sometimes I meet new people that I adore, which is the whole point isn’t it?
3 I took this one to heart. I dove into my volunteer groups. Some stuck and some didn’t. That’s ok because the ones that stuck have brought so much to my life. And I’m always on the look out for meet-up groups. I recently joined a local ladies hiking group!
4 This was not a reach for me. I was already doing this.
5 I feel like I was already pretty open. The difference now is that I was authentic.
6 Because I’m so aware of this goal of mine to build my tribe, when I meet someone new I hear myself asking a ton of questions. I NEVER used to do that. I would be polite and if I did find myself having a good time with someone, I typically just told stories about myself as much as possible. My ego was definitely in charge! Well, now I ask a lot of questions to get to know people well, quickly. This is a realization I had recently. Once you start getting to know someone by asking questions and being interested in their life, I find that I’m suddenly making plans with people I literally met that day! Yay! What a happiness boost that is! Or if I’m talking to someone I know fairly well and we both realize we have something in common I now immediately suggest an outing together. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve done this and it’s resulted in the most fun days and experiences. And not only with new friends but old ones too.
7 I check in on my friends more often now. If I’m thinking of them I’ll send a quick text to see how they are doing, try to make plans and just generally let them know I’m thinking of them.
8 This was a big lesson for me. I was pretty good at morphing into whatever I need to be (or thought I needed to be) in a social situation. Most of the time, I kept my views to myself so I didn’t offend anyone. I did this for years. Someone would be going off about something I completely disagreed with and I would not say anything because I thought that’s the “polite” thing to do. I’m not saying I’m rude now, but I do speak my mind. I don’t hide from how I feel. I put it all out there and then people can decide for themselves if they are willing to have an honest and intelligent conversation. No one is better at explaining the importance of this better than Brene Brown. You can check her out here. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLr3XIBco3u_O3RZGLeWaFPyZ6WhL8v86D
9 I try to be there for my friends when they need help. I offer more often than I used to. I make a point of checking in if I know they are struggling with something. Offering rides, time to chat or offering words of support. It makes a difference.
10 I actually schedule “keeping in touch” on my calendar. I have a running list of people that I want to connect with and this is a little reminder to get in touch with them before too much time goes by.
All of these steps having enriched my life. I’ve made some really good friends this year. I’m more social than ever and it truly is a happiness boost. Remember back on my Good Mental Health list was “Friendship”. These smaller steps are helping me reach my overall larger goal of health and wellness to in part, retrain my brain (see previous posts) and two, build coping skills to attain that goal.
Have you curated a tribe of friends that support you, that you are completely authentic with and that gives you energy, not drains your energy? Try some of the steps above for yourself and let me know how it goes!