Our world today has become one of looking at life on a screen, of a hasty e-mail rather than a beautiful handwritten note. You can view your next house purchase by virtual tour, or view your next vacation destination virtually.

But virtual is not actual. Can you smell the flowers or feel the ocean breeze virtually? Can we build strong relationships, communities in full bloom, with such a virtual force?

My experience keeps shouting that to build a solid community is to be face to face, belly-to-belly. Physical space, not electronic space, is what builds lasting communities.

It is written in our DNA: People who connect to the emotions and hearts of their followers provide the emotion- centered leadership of being belly-to-belly. People who feel the community feel superb about themselves, and people who feel superb about themselves generate superb results.

Community is built through relationships, through the voice, through personal connections. Community is not built by pressing the "Send" button or by conference-calling as the only means of touching your organization. Building the community is a journey of leadership that desires to enjoy the connections. It is a process of building with care by introducing new bellies to seasoned bellies, to spread the belonging feeling, and discover the talents of each person. Belly talks bring an association of talented behavior patterns together to build a massive community of spirit, mindset and osmosis.

Build community before you lead. Let the team feel the presence of the connections. Keep finding a cause for your people to connect in person. Live it, body, mind and soul.

Community is built by association. Think back to the people who have had the most effect on you. It has been people who have cared for you and your interests, perhaps a mentor or fine teacher, someone with whom you have spent time in-personal conversations. Who comes to mind? Reflect on your heartfelt feelings: You pick those up from belly-to-belly associations. When you are belly-to-belly, says best-selling author Robin Sharma, "People can feel your heart five to ten feet away." Such vibrations of the heartbeat are not possible virtually.

 

CATHY BARBER
discovered
network marketing after being "restructured" from the corporate world. She has been with her company for seven years, and is their top Canadian distributor.