Finding Your People and Building Your Community

Finding Your People and Building Your Community

Few among us are born into a large community that is both accepting of who we are and able to grow with us spiritually. Most of us have to do some extra work to build our fullest sense of community.

Living our beliefs and working whole will reveal who we truly are to the world. It will naturally attract the people that should be in our community. Yet, one of the hardest parts of building community is finding the space to let new people into our lives and letting others leave or play a diminished role. I want to encourage you to be thoughtful about the community you are building and the support you will need for the work ahead.

Building Your Community

Living in your truth is not always easy when it comes to building a community. If you have spent a good deal of your life showing the world a version of yourself that is incomplete or false, then it is likely that you have attracted several relationships that are not authentic to who you are. Through the process of attracting and building your community, you’ll have to continue to live in power with the strength to handle any rejection or loss that comes from inauthentic connections falling away or being minimized.

Having a strong community will feed your spiritual growth and enhance your work. It will also reinforce your strength to live in power and keep you on script.

We want to find our people because
they will enhance everything about our
life experiences and our work.

There are three types of people that will make up your community. Hopefully, many of the people already in your life will serve in these roles. If not, you need to look out for new relationships you can build. Finding your people will not only help you see your path more clearly, but it will shape your journey.

Ideally, you want to attract and embrace people that fit into the following categories:

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  • Sustainers
  • Mentors
  • Workmates


A sustainer is someone that helps you stay anchored in the spiritual world. They share similar beliefs and are working just as hard to live them out. They may not serve as guides to your work callings, but when you are struggling to live your beliefs, these people will help you persevere. They are running in the same race and on the same team, working to be better and to make the world a better place.

Being part of a religious community doesn’t guarantee that you have these people around you. You have to build relationships with individuals to discern if they are truly able to live what they study. There are some obvious signs that should help you discern who is living anchored in their beliefs. Nobody lives with perfection, but here are a few things to pay attention to when looking for your sustainers:

  • Kindness to all
  • Joyful energy
  • Compassionate and flexible thinking toward others
  • Peaceful spirits
  • Authentic interactions

These traits go beyond whether you can talk with them about the tenets of your spiritual practice or celebrate the same religious holidays. You are looking for evidence that they are choosing to live in humility, surrender, discipline, gratitude, connection, love, power, and patience.

You are looking for the people that don’t delight in the pain or missteps of others. They are slow to speak a bad word about anyone. You are looking for those that can see value in the lives of imperfect people.

Sustainers don’t need prestige nor titles to jump in and help others. They aren’t looking for opportunities to impose their convictions or will on anyone. They are not even sure if their opinion is definitely the correct one. They change their minds about things and people. They know they are not here to be the judge of others and they focus on the work of their lives instead.

You are looking for the people you feel good being around. They are relaxed and seem to enjoy life.

Finally, you are looking for people that are comfortable being themselves. They are not guarded. They are not project­ing an image they want you to see. They are able to show their flaws and accept the flaws of others. These people will help sustain you and you will need as many of these people as you can find. You will also need to be this person for others.

Revealing our true selves isn’t easy. We worry about being judged and we worry about failing, not just the expectations of others but our own too. We need sustainers in our community to give us a safe place to let our true nature come out and risk vulnerability. The more we reveal who we are, the more sustainers we will attract. Having sustainers in your community is like having the proper soil for your seeds to grow. They feed us and help us blossom.


Mentors have embraced the lessons taught in the class­room of work and will intimately understand the work journey you are about to go on. They are important in helping you to navigate the two worlds—the spiritual and the human. It is great to get advice from successful people that know how to achieve things in the human world, but you are looking to take a path that is different. You do not want to merely be successful, you want to be fulfilled.

Someone who has walked that path before will better understand what is out of your control, what needs to be surrendered, and what you can influence if you can keep yourself from going off-script. A mentor is not going to try to send you down the exact path they have traveled, but instead they are going to help you steer your own path. You need a mentor when following a work calling because a mentor will have a much higher risk tolerance than most people around you.

These are the people you can come to with your most bold work ideas. These are the people who will not need you to have worked out every step before you can get started. They know how to navigate between the spiritual and the human world. They trust the power of passion as a call.

Some of the things you start pursuing during your discovery phase are things that may seem fruitless or even crazy to others. If you have a good mentor that has walked this journey, they will be supportive when others struggle to trust your process.


Workmates (our significant others and primary relationships) have a substantial impact on our journey. Choosing them wisely and/or improving our relationships with them is a major way to influence where the work of our lives can lead.

You don’t have to have a workmate to manifest your body of work. Some callings may even be easier to navigate without being encumbered by someone that has their work callings intertwined with yours. However, if you do have a primary relationship (spouse, partner, significant other, or any other relationship you must make joint life decisions with), it is important that that person be a workmate. A workmate goes beyond romantic feelings and focuses on the aspect of love that is rooted in honoring human potential.

The workmate relationship doesn’t mean that the other person has to sacrifice their work callings to help you follow yours or vice versa. It means that you have someone else that is committed to the journey of growing spiritually and honoring the potential of both of your lives. This is especially important as workmates weigh in on many lifestyle decisions that impact the work we can get done. If you have a life partner, you are not free to make lifestyle decisions completely on your own and you will live with the decisions that you two come up with jointly.

Workmates have a significant impact on the kind of work we can get done over our lives. For that reason, choosing a workmate is one of the largest work decisions you will ever make.

If you have not already chosen your workmate, here are a few things you need to consider:

  • Do you share similar spiritual beliefs?

  • Do you have similar levels of what it will take to satisfy your material needs?

  • Would a scenario where your workmate doesn’t live up to their full potential in life be as hard to bear as a scenario where you don’t live up to yours?

Before you decide that your current partner isn’t right for you, be sure you have actually lived your script long enough to give them an opportunity to see the real soulful you. Be sure you have lived your script long enough to have been truthful about who you are and owned the unloving things you may have done in the past. Make sure you have put in the work to try to deeply understand them in an effort to connect and honor their potential.

Do you really understand their pain, their struggles, and their obstacles to growth? Can you see the glorious soul in them as full of potential? Are you invested in the promise of their work and ready to be their workmate?

If after that process, you have to decide in truth to part ways, do that with compassion. But for some, living their beliefs will transform that old relationship into something that makes you both ready to be workmates.

Don’t be quick to commit to relationships without careful assessment of workmate potential. And don’t be quick to leave a relationship that could possibly thrive if you anchored your life in what you believe.

Five Fulfillment Guidelines From A Sustainer

In closing, I would like to share a few thoughts on the per­son that sustained me long before I knew what a sustainer was and why I needed him to follow my work.

This person was my grandfather—James C. Swann. I miss him always, but the loss feels compounded on Father’s Day. One year, I wondered what he might say to me if he had the chance to write me one last letter. I was writing a blog at the time and decided to try to write the letter to myself based on the actions and words he shared with me in life.

These are the five things I think he would have written to me about how to live fulfilled. I know he would have wanted them shared with you.

  • Never think more highly of yourself than you ought to.

  • Never dim your light because it is too bright for others.

  • Never settle for less than love.

  • We cannot “be good,” we can only “do good.”

  • We are here to serve each other.

Who knows what the full impact of my grandfather’s life’s work was. I will never know exactly, but I do know that he followed his callings while he had a chance to. Now I get to keep following mine and you get to keep following yours.

©2019 by Kourtney Whitehead. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the author.

Article Source

Working Whole: How to Unite Your Spiritual Beliefs and Your Work to Live Fulfilled
by Kourtney Whitehead

Working Whole: How to Unite Your Career and Your Work to Live Fulfilled by Kourtney WhiteheadDo you want more from work than just a paycheck or a title? Are you ready to manifest a work life rooted in joy, purpose, and contentment? Career expert Kourtney Whitehead will guide you on a self-discovery journey to bridge the gap between your spiritual life and your work, and help you bring intention and satisfaction to your professional life. In Working Whole, she shares eight principles that will free you to be inspired and joyful in your life and work callings. (Also available in Kindle format)

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About the Author

Kourtney WhiteheadKourtney Whitehead's career has focused on helping people reach their work goals, from executive searches to counselling to career transitions. She's held leadership positions at top executive recruiting firms and consulting companies, and is a sought-after speaker and podcast guest. Visit her website at

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