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We all yearn to belong, needed, and a deep desire to be accepted for who we are, yet some of us struggle to be our authentic selves in fear of being judged, rejected, or abandoned.

As we know, connection is the number one human need, and we are not talking about getting acquainted.

We are talking about an affiliation, building a partnership, and something that connects our relationships at a deeper level.

We all want to have an authentic and genuine connection in this world.

Did you know that when we feel like we belong in a culture, this can be the biggest antidote to any form of disconnection, disengagement, and disagreements?

When we feel like we don’t belong in a culture, we end up doing whatever it takes to belong and thus even cause greater separation from our authentic self by laying low, not standing out, being heard, or being seen.

We become very reliant on others for direction, and we set goals to please others; we by no means want to rock the boat and thus achieve by conforming.

One way to kill or lose your authentic self is being a people pleaser.

One way or another, you will slowly lose yourself, and your unmet expectations will cause you emotional anguish.

Loneliness and isolation are a lack of purpose

Connection with your peers, your team, your leaders and your culture are so much more important than you think.

Social connection provides the foundation of cohesion, unity and inclusion that enables cultures to flourish, prosper and expand.

Social belonging is a fundamental human need.

The benefits of social connection are abundant … apart from increasing your serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins levels known as your happy hormones. It also improves your brain health.

It can lower anxiety, depression and increase your level of confidence, self-esteem and empathy.

It also boosts your immune system, so for those cultures that experience a high level of absenteeism, this is your remedy.

You can now see the importance of belonging, connection and being our authentic self by not changing to fit in but to be our genuine self.

Together we can achieve so much more

Have you ever heard of the adage, two is better than one?

This one is true for any situation in life, whether in terms of personal or professional setting.

We have all been in situations where we have felt like we didn’t belong.

Think back, your first day at school, and I want you to go back to the time it became uncomfortable, and all you did was observe and investigate who the go-to person was, who was the gatekeeper, who was going to be your guide, and who would be your friend.

The experience doesn’t seem pleasant. And it makes you dislike the memories or experience of being in school, right?

Fast forward ahead of time; things haven’t changed too much in a work environment. Can you recall your first day at work? Or you could be in that situation right now.

First impressions never have a second chance

All you think about is ‘first impression’…. what will people think of me? Will they like me? Will they accept me, and will they have time for me because let’s get real, how often have you had a great onboarding experience?

Don’t get me wrong, some organisations do it well, and a lot do it poorly—the barriers most of the time none other than time and resources.

Then the next thing you focus on is culture. On your first day at work, you check out the social landscape. Who are the cliques, the right crowds, and what part do you play to try to fit in?

You know what I am talking about … that feeling of being out of place.

That sensation of not belonging is leaving you feeling uncomfortable and wanting to run away. When really, we should be doing the opposite … easier said than done.

Stop acting so small

We should be leaning into the uncomfortable feelings with a curious mindset as to why we are feeling uncomfortable.

It will help us get in touch with our inner strength, so don’t run away whenever you feel uneasy immediately … sit with it for a little while.

Listen to your instincts and trust that inner guidance that doesn’t use words because sometimes we stop ourselves from chasing possibilities before they even begin out of fear.

You could be the very thing that is getting in the way of you. Yes, you. It could be some lingering like self-limiting beliefs, fears or narratives that no longer serve you.

It is up to you to do what you need to do to connect to others because there is enough research out there that tells us that it impacts our performance and productivity when we feel like we don’t belong.

Commitment is an act not a word

It influences our engagement and how committed we are to our goals.

As an organisation, you can see how critical this is as part of your focal point, especially if you want to increase engagement, collaboration and results.

Engagement is how one feels within their environment and culture; this is short-lived, which most organisations act on.

Imagine turning it up a notch …. ‘inspiration’ is when one feels inventive, creative and words like genius, insight, and vision are some of the critical internal drivers that reside within.

This one has more sustainability; it is long-lived where most organisations don’t know how to create.