Two thousand six hundred years ago, Shakyamuni Buddha proclaimed that the next Buddha will be named Maitreya, the ‘Buddha of Love’. I think Maitreya Buddha may be a community, and not just an individual. A good community is needed to help us resist the unwholesome ways of our time. Mindful living protects us and helps us go in the direction of peace. With the support of friends in the practice, peace has a chance.
Being in community such a powerful tool. I think about all the years I spent as a business owner doing it alone. I didn’t know any different; most of my friends worked for large companies and had a built-in community. What do you do if you are a company of one?
When I graduated from college with a Fine Art degree and a Geography degree, I went straight into the restaurant industry in a small resort town. In theory, the other restaurant managers could have been my people, but at the end of a day, I was so exhausted that the thought of talking about work was the last thing on my mind.
Fast forward many years later as a landscape designer and a business owner, I found a community in a professional association, APLD, and sought out professional development as well as continuing education classes. Spending time in the company of your peers and developing a few good relationships is vital to the sustainability of your business as is finding a mentor.
This is not a unique concept as I look around at the other parts of my life, my alumni associations, the kids’ school parent associations, neighborhood groups, etc. I wasn’t blind to the benefits of community nor was I alone in other areas of my life. However, as an entrepreneur it took some time to bring community into my business life. I was invested in this belief that I had to go it alone, that the lessons learned were only meaningful if I learned them firsthand and the ‘hard’ way, that I should always know the answers and asking questions was a weakness or failure. Really, this is the kind of thinking that kept me back for many years. Sure, I was busy but also overwhelmed and frequently wondering whether or not I wanted to continue.
No matter where you are in your professional journey find a community to support you, seek a mentor, engage in continuing education. It is one of the most powerful tools for growth. Your community will inspire you to do some of your best work, will be there for you during the tough times, and offer a new way of looking at a challenge.
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