I’ve spent the past week at a couple of conferences. One of the conferences is still underway, so I’m going to keep my post short this week. Both conferences have been wonderfully stimulating, spurring me to rekindle my love for the work (not just professional) I try to do in the world. One of the recurrent themes has been around finding one’s “people” and building strong support networks.
It’s true that it’s important to surround yourself with people who help to keep you fueled and passionate, and at these conferences I certainly felt and feel surrounded by those kinds of people.
But the interesting thing to me is that the people who feel like “my people” aren’t just those who would agree with my values. Rather, the people who make me feel truly stimulated, excited to do my work, and engaged with myself and the world around me are the ones who prompt me to think more deeply about an issue than I had previously thought.
Sometimes that comes through agreement that prefaces a deeper exploration (I call this the “yes, and” response), but sometimes it comes through a disagreement that invites curiosity.
Those are the kinds of people I want to surround myself with.
Not the ones who will pat me on the back about how right I am or stomp their feet in the solidarity of groupthink but the ones who lean into controversy and doubt with the faith that it’s worthwhile to struggle and question and who don’t see disagreement as the end of the discussion but as the beginning of a mutual exploration.
“My people” don’t necessarily think like me; they help me think. It’s an important distinction for me.