Humans have always worked in a tight-knit team, playing to each unique person’s skillsets. While mainstream media may portray an illusion of separation, we have more tools than ever to stay connected and collaborate together. Starting a side-project that could snowball into your main gig is a great way to connect with your passions or simply invite more meaning into your work/life balance.
Maybe you want to start a community garden. Maybe it’s a website serving your local community. Perhaps you simply want to bring together like-minded people. If you’ve had ideas swimming in your head for years but nothing seems to stick, it’s time to find the right team to work with and support you in grounding these ideas.
The best teammates to start a new project with are those with whom you share a deep personal connection. This is the key catalyst for trust. It helps if your teammates are bought into the vision, but it’s likely that the vision will constantly change. Instead, find people who display the same values as you.
Whatever your unique calling may be, here’s a few tips to explore on your journey to lead a team:
1. Choose your favorite idea or specific vision and talk about it… as much as you can.
First, it’s important to be clear about the project that you want to bring into the physical world. Your friends and acquaintances are great mirrors for feedback. If people’s faces keep going blank when you’re sharing, try tweaking your story or message and identify how to be concise with your vision. Less is more.
2. Be available to expand your vision with others.
If you’re serious about starting a new project, you’re going to need chunks of free time to make connections, map out your resources and spend time with others working out the details. Find ways to free up time so you have no excuse to procrastinate.
3. Live a life and create experiences for others that embody your values.
List out your values and identify how you are living them out daily. The more this happens the more you will attract others who want to live similarly. Organizing gatherings with your own twist is an effective way to connect deeper or meet those you’re meant to meet.
Think: potlucks, picnics in the park, game/improv nights, or bring your favorite personal development practices to an event space. For example, I started throwing eye gazing workshops when I was traveling, now I organize monthly regenerative leadership gatherings in Southern California.
4. Find people with diverse and complementary skillsets.
Remember that it might be easiest to jive with those who are similar to you but those who think different could be just the counterbalance your project needs. The most effective teams are diverse, just like a resilient and biodiverse ecosystem.
5. Identify your community “glue.”
Once you start consistently hanging out and diving into fun brainstorming sessions with new allies, identify what it is that originally keeps you together. What do you enjoy doing together? What shared practices do you enjoy? It could be spending time in nature, dancing, geeking out over spreadsheets, tea.. Anything! Just know what it is so you can continue the magic.
6. Have communication channels ready to go.
Know how your best reached and see if the team can get onboard with using that channel. It could be email, Facebook Messenger, texts, calls; whatever it is streamlining the process will keep communication and headaches at bay. Eventually if your project grows you could stay in contact using Slack, a private instant messenger for your team.
7. Accept feedback and apply self regulation
A young team will often provide immense personal growth for everyone involved. Even if there are growing pains, see what feedback is there for you and continue to adapt. Using practices such as Non-Violent Communication will support healthy relationships within your team.
Starting a new project could be a massive lifestyle shift. Not everyone has the visionary or entrepreneur archetype, and that’s ok. Be true to who you are. Enjoy the journey and don’t become obsessed with the outcome: the only certainty is change and that you’ll learn something from your evolving experience.
Bryan Arturo balances a life interconnected between nature and technology as a community organizer, facilitator and entrepreneur. He is a permaculture land steward who has lived and worked at over 20 regenerative communities until he landed at his ideal match, East End Eden in Ojai, CA.
Bryan has led retreats and workshops all over the world that led him to co-found Earth Journeys and The Sustainable Living Tour. The annual tour takes 30 change-makers to SoCal’s leading eco-education hubs on a biofuel bus. Bryan’s gentle-strength makes him an adaptable facilitator.