You choose how deep you go

14 July 2016 | Business Thoughts

Although I’m yet to cover another half of the world’s countries, I’ve travelled fairly substantially. I’ve also moved endless times in my life and one thing has recently really struck me. No matter, where I am, I – and I alone – choose the depth I want in a community.

You can literally live in the busiest place in the world and not be engaged with that city. You take the bus to the office, you work in your building, you occasionally pop out for lunch (nearly always to the same places), you bid your colleagues a good night and transport back home to do dinner, and whatever else your evenings might entail (time with your partner, kids, work, study etc).

Or you choose to be involved. You go to meetup groups to purposefully interact with new people and establish new connections. You keep a Twitter list, Slack channel or RSS feed of a few significant sites & blogs in your town to catch the latest happenings. You find the things that interest you and you go out and discover your places and people. You hold together all of your nerves (and that anxiety of making friends as an adult), turn up at a random event and leave feeling inspired (still counts even if you curl up on the couch at home to recover from a bout of an introvert-going-out).

You look at local magazines. You trail your theatre sites. You’re on top of the new openings around the place. You stay in touch with startup spaces and one day you refer one of the launched businesses onto someone. You venture into other people’s worlds who happen to work with so-and-so who works in marketing and invites you to that thing you’re interested in. You go to a dance class. French class. Gin-making class. You join a gym that requires you to get fit in groups or partners. You attend the after work function that bring departments together and you go to that SUP yoga session your friends have been raving about. On Saturdays you head to the local markets and the stall holders eventually know you by name and invite you over for dinner one night.

And if absolutely nothing takes your fancy you start your own group, your own dinner parties, your own walking club. And you don’t give up after the first few.

You choose how deep you go.

The same applies to your business, your expertise, your studies, your hobbies, your friends, your lover, your everything. You always choose how deep you go.

(And if you’re still not entirely convinced, this guy has been studying broccoli for 20 years and writes papers titled Inflorescence identity gene alleles are poor predictors of inflorescence type in broccoli. I’ve also no idea how that’s a job, but deep it is.)

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