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Find Your Gang

Being Part of Something Bigger is Rewarding (on many levels)

I’m not a morning person.


I’m not really a night owl either. I guess I’m a somewhere-in-between person?


The main point being, it’s a lot for me to get up at 6am to get to my gym classes by 6.30am, 4 - 5 times a week. Especially at this time of the year, when it’s pitch black and freezing in Melbourne. 

But I do it, because I’m part of a “morning gang” and I don’t want to let them down, or miss out. And, I’m starting to enjoy the whole thing, despite not being a morning person. More and more, I’m leaving the classes feeling buzzed and energised, even if I’m in a bit of (good) pain.


It’s so nice to see familiar faces at that ungodly hour of the morning. There’s a strong chance that they don’t really see what we have as a gang. I do, and that’s all that matters. It makes me feel part of something bigger than just myself, and there’s a certain comfort in knowing that I’ll see familiar faces if I haul my buns out of bed when the alarm goes off.


Heading out of the gym this morning, it got me thinking how much being part of a group/club/gang helps propel me towards my goals. I truly believe it’s the same for all of us. 


There’s a special power in being part of a collective.


Last week I started a new online course with TDC friend and collaborator, Fiona Killackey: “How to Get Your Book Published”. Our introduction session involved meeting a wonderful group of fellow creatives, all with completely different book concepts, and all with fascinating stories.


Fiona had us break off into small groups, explain our book concept to each other, then come back and take it in turns to describe someone else’s book concept on their behalf. Genius!


This introduction exercise allowed us to understand the various book concepts, but also served to help the group get to know each other a bit, thus forming a group bond. Even after the first session, I’m invested in this wonderful diverse bunch of people, and that makes me want to (at the very least) show up consistently, and (at best) try my hardest to complete all the content and contribute to the group’s collective learning.


Fiona is a master of her craft, and has been one of my business coaches for over 4 years now. I’m thrilled that she’s presenting a half day workshop at our upcoming Melbourne Design Conference. She’s incredibly knowledgeable, and is the right person to teach about getting published, as she’s been a writer for many years. 


She published her (now best-selling) first book “Passion. Purpose. Profit” in 2020, with her second book “Business to Brand” due to hit the stands in September this year. Guests at our Conference will be the first to access her teachings from this sure-to-be best-selling second book.


Despite all of these credentials, and Fiona’s amazing talent, I’d rather be part of this group than learning about getting published from Fiona 1-on-1. That’s because I know that on top of everything that Fiona is going to share, I’m going to learn a tonne of things from the other members of the group, and that makes it even more exciting.


I wasn’t always so “group” focused. At school I had a small (wonderful) group of friends, but we weren’t a “gang”, and I wasn’t amazing at team sports (mainly due to a lack of ball skills) so chose to focus more on individual sports like tennis and horse riding. At the time I didn’t really miss being part of a team, and developed a fair amount of independence.


It’s not until my more recent years that I’ve discovered how good it feels to be part of a group that shares common goals and comes together to support each other in the pursuit of them.  

Facilitating many Premium Group Coaching Programs, I’ve also witnessed first hand the power of being part of an accountability group. Committing to show up regularly to your group, and making a promise to get things done makes you really want to do it, if not for yourself, because you promised to others that you would.


How does this relate to you?


I know that, as small business owners, it can often feel like we have to do everything on our own. Plan on our own, manage projects on our own, manage the business on our own, and continue to learn on our own. I mean, who else is going to get all that done if we don’t?


As I’m learning, there is another way! It’s about tapping into the vast network of people who feel the same need to be in a group environment. And as I’m also learning, the benefits go way beyond tackling loneliness - the opportunity to learn from a collective of people with varied experiences and different sources of knowledge is incredible.


Don’t get me wrong, it can be tricky to find “your people”. There’s nothing worse than being a part of a group that isn’t a good fit. If your values aren’t aligned, and you don’t connect emotionally, you’re not going to get any of the benefits that come from being part of a cohesive collective. 


It’s important to do your research, ensuring that the person or organisation that’s formed your group is a good fit for you personally. 


When it came to finding my new gym, I looked at a number of different options in the local area, eventually choosing one that seemed to hit all of my prerequisites: 

  • Close to home to encourage regular visits

  • Friendly staff (this was an absolute must)

  • Variety of classes that weren’t intimidating

  • 24/7 access

  • Flexible payment options and easy technology (they have an app to book classes)

  • Well-educated trainers who focus on form over heavy weights

  • Friendly members (this I had to explore via a Free Trial period)


Some of these factors included a “suck it and see” approach, where I just had to jump in and see if it was what I wanted (like sussing out the other members) but some of it was all about the research upfront. The Free Trial period was great to work out overall if the gym was a good fit.




At TDC, we're committed to helping small business owners to find their gang/group/tribe.


For many years I operated solo in my business, and I know how lonely that can be.


One of the main reasons I started running the retreats at TDC was to get solo practitioners together to create strong networks. It’s hard to find “our people” when we work alone. I really wanted to provide a platform for designers and architects to come together to learn and grow while they had a fabulously fun time, getting to know one another in a safe, supportive environment.


I really had no idea how incredibly well my plan to create a strong community would work! 


I want to take a moment to blow my own trumpet here… 6 years on from our first ever Byron Retreat we’ve now hosted 5 retreats, 1 international trip, with Palm Springs Trip already planned for early next year (with a couple of tickets still available!).


It warms the cockles of my heart to see past retreat members come together on repeated occasions (celebrating their reunions), whilst at the same time opening their arms warmly to new members who sometimes timidly come on board, not knowing what to expect. 

Through these incredible experiences we’ve helped dozens of members connect and find their “gang”, or in many cases, a few “gangs”. Friends in and out of business, who get one another, support one another and celebrate with one another. It’s magic.


Last year I wanted to take this communal joy a step further, to facilitate more regular connections for our members, in a way that was as inclusive as possible. Hence, the creation of our Social Club. This member-driven initiative provides our members with the opportunity to catch up at a variety of events around the country, to socialize and learn about industry specific products. And almost all of the events are 100% free, so no matter where you’re at in your business journey, you can come along and meet our wonderful community.


Our Melbourne Design Conference in August will also be an opportunity for our members to create connections with like-minded designers and architects. The program is intentionally designed to help foster strong bonds between members. As with all our retreats and trips, the way the Conference is structured to encourage delegates to be open and vulnerable, which is a sure-fire way to create meaningful relationships.


I’m loving my new morning gym gang, and can't wait for my next group coaching session with Fiona. Now I'm on the lookout for other groups that I can join to help me squeeze the most out of my new found love of collective learning.


We want to keep improving! Please reach out to me with any ideas for how we can continue to foster community at TDC. Thanks for the many messages of support and the stories about your own journey through this crazy adventure called Business.


Until next week. 


Stay well, and always be kind.


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