Bloggers note: I actually like the show Cheers.
But this blog isn’t really about that.
It’s about the counter intuitive emotions we feel that get in the way of what we really want.
For example: the feeling we feel when we walk into a space and we don’t know everyone. Some people walk into that environment and they think, “Great! New people to meet!” These are the more entrepreneurial types. They’re more extroverted, inclusive, generally fun. These people are more precious than gold to social movements.
Then there are others [often times like me] that have this thought, “There’s so many people here. I don’t know everyone.” It’s not social anxiety disorder…it’s something else. These people enjoy smaller groups, deeper conversation. They are more precious than gold when it comes to
slowing social movements down…
So many groups, clubs, and teams all hover around the 30-people mark because [among other reasons] there’s this innate feeling that can be articulated by people in the group that sounds something like this:
I have to know and be known by everyone in the room.
And this thought is [one of] the kisses of death for any movement.
It's not that our desires for intimacy are bad. It's that we sometimes try to meet our intimacy needs through large group gatherings.
Movements don't move forward unless those of us who long for deep connection realize that it’s actually good that we don’t know everyone. It’s good that this room is crowded. It’s good that our community is shifting from a group to a crowd.
Leaders often times need to dispel the myth of Cheers: that it's good when everybody knows your name. Cheers was a great show about an incredibly dysfunctional small group of people. [but even they had to introduce new characters to keep the show interesting].
If you're part of a any community, the challenge is to shift it from a group of friends to a culture of friendship, not where everybody knows your name but where everybody knows somebody…
…and are looking for more ways to invite others in.
Posted on Fri, May 1, 2009