Why community prevails competition - most of the time

On Sunday 20th March, The Verano Lounge played host to over 20 Brighton Girls. We sat around a long table – albeit, a little squished – with our Watermelon Ice Teas, Americanos and Cappuccinos, sharing stories with our new strangers, who we hoped would become our friends.

This was the first Brighton Girl Coffee Meet Up – one that will forever be referred to as a huge success, given that the Meet Up group and the event itself was only set up just 7 days beforehand, with very little promotion.

We stayed there for four hours, talking about the fact that everyone around us seems to know what they’re doing – coming to the conclusion that they probably don’t, actually. We also spoke about changing careers, the expectation to get married young, how uncomfortable corporate clothes can be, women we were most inspired by and so much more.

There was no script, no prompting and no silence. We looked out for each other, ensuring that those a little shyer had their say.

Since then, our next “official” meet up on the 17th April has become a hub for organising new, “unofficial” meet ups and a private Facebook group has been set up to grow the community – welcome to all Brighton Girls.

At the time of writing this, just two weeks after setting it up, our meet up group has 53 members.

It’s been a remarkable and unpredictable journey, in the greatest way, but it’s also a prime example of an important lesson: community prevails competition, most of the time.

It’s no secret that our generation have got it tough. We can’t buy houses, have decent pensions or go through life without enormous debts as easily as the generations above us.

We’re expected to be the jack of all trades and master of all of them too – even though we all know that’s not how the saying goes.

“Oh, you’re a trained accountant? Can you run our social media pages, do our office admin and work on these 8 projects?” We all wish this was an exaggeration, but for a lot of people, it’s not.

Anxiety has become so common that it’s being treated as more of a trend than a mental disorder.

“I suffer from anxiety.”

“That’s such a millennial thing.”

“Erm…”

Whilst the efforts of mental health charities to raise awareness of anxiety cannot be overlooked or undervalued, our society has developed the attitude that anxiety is the norm for people “our age”.

Quite frankly, that’s not good enough. But that’s also a topic for another post.

The point being made here is that we’ve been screwed over, royally – and we need to work together to fix the broken promises, ideas and societal values that our predecessors made.

This is not to say that a little competition isn’t healthy – our economy needs competition to grow. However, our society is becoming increasingly selfish, in a way that previous generations have not experienced – even if they’re mostly to blame.

Community – whether it’s our Brighton Girl community, a special interest community or any community that suits you – enables you to have support, encouragement and generate ideas that could make a real difference.

We live in an “it’s who you know” society. It’s often the case that the most intelligent and deserving minds fall down the most in their career because they didn’t know the right person. Stepping out of what you know and establishing a network of like-minded strangers will prevent that from being your downfall too.

As the Brighton Girl coffee meet up drew to a close, each girl said their goodbye’s with the same remark: “this has been great, I really needed it.”

We all do, more than we realise.

Find a meet up that works for you over at meetup.com, and/or join the Brighton Girl meet up community

LifeBrighton Girl