Bad Girl, Good Business

The 100 Years Club Installment #65: Join the Club

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It started in grade school.

We were given our first choices of “clubs.”

Then, through high school, we were required to join an organization of some kind.

The options I remember included the Current Events Club (which seemed boring to me at the time), the Recorder Club (an instrument I learned how to play but have never had the need to perform with as an adult), the Glee Club, the Ecology Club (little did I know that I was at the beginning of a movement — now known as Sustainability!), and various others.

In college, we had sororities, co-ops (which I jumped at, hippie-chick that I was), sports teams, and a wide range of organizations built around shared interests, causes, and passions.

I have a confession to make.

I’m really not a big “joiner,” and I love spending time alone as much as I like gathering with others.

But in my corporate life, I found myself heading up marketing for what was, at the time, the world’s largest trade show and conference organizer.

We brought together small and large groups of industry professionals to learn, buy, make purchase decisions, connect, and celebrate.

It’s a fascinating industry. Each event and sub-group has its own personality, activities, and culture. To this day, I love show-hopping (see below).

Why do we love gatherings?

In short, people who have specific passions and interests or are at a specific phase of their lives seek out others who share their experiences or challenges.

March has been an interesting month for me. I:

  • Recorded a podcast with Diana Place about an event I’m speaking at in May — a gathering of women >50.
  • Attended Natural Products Expo West, the biggest trade show I’ve ever attended (except for maybe the National Hardware Show).
  • Led a marketing team at the first-ever all-racquet-sports festival in Miami — RacquetX. The mission was to bring people who play different sports together and it was truly amazing!
  • Spent a few days at Disney World, with some of the most committed (and sometimes bizarre) fans of all things magical. The number of people of all ages who were dressed as Disney characters from head to toe was astounding. True fans may cross the line from club to cult. Just sayin’.
  • Contributed to and collaborated with the Board of a non-profit called SOS, which is all about providing help to others. We host curated local dinners on specific topics.

For someone who likes my alone time, I definitely dove into the “community” vibe with my entire head and heart.

So, I guess the “club thing” is alive and well.

And it becomes even more important as we age. Loneliness often sets in and hanging out with other people to learn new skills or discuss interests and play can be stimulating — and even educational.

I’ve discovered that I generally don’t like:

  • Hanging out with people my age who complain endlessly or are “stuck.” (I’m fine being an inspiration, but not if it’s one-way.)
  • Vapid chit-chat. If I’m not learning or laughing, I might as well be home in my jammies.
  • Events and activities with no clear purpose or random networking gatherings.
  • Clubs that don’t have an “escape hatch.” If I sign up for something and I’m not enjoying it, I need to be able to vanish unnoticed.
  • Cliques and mean girls. They feel like a throwback to bad days in the cafeteria. Similarly, groups of all dudes who don’t know how to talk to women are not my thing.
  • Crowds. That said, Disney was totally worth it because it was terrific for family experiences and memories.

But that’s just me.

As we enter the second quarter, now is a great time to take stock of your own “communities” and “clubs” and whether you need to find some new ones.

Facebook and MeetUp are jam-packed with options.

Whether you’re into travel, AI, movies, sports, reinvention, a community cause, a particular band, scrapbooking, quilting, or innovations in your industry, you’re bound to find a group that shares your passions.

Don’t be discouraged. There’s a group for everyone.

Even if you want to brush up on your recorder skills, you can probably find a club (or start your own).





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