Deep Stretch - Rethinking Community (Again)

On this Deep Stretch episode of Inner Warmup, Taylor tells us what community means to her and shares some exciting, important updates.

Happy birthday month to Inner Workout who just turned three! 

Mentioned In The Episode

If this episode title sounds familiar, it is! We talked about community before, last fall. Listen here

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Episode Transcript

Welcome back to Inner Warmup, where your inner work begins. I'm Taylor Elyse Morrison, creator of Inner Workout and you as always are our expert guest. Thanks for being here today. This is a Deep Stretch episode. So if this is your first Deep Stretch episode, it's a little bit different. Normally I share a concept and then I hand the mic over to you.

In Deep Stretch episodes, I'm really being pretty open and transparent about what inner work and self care is looking like for me during any given month. And today's topic is the title is Rethinking Community (Again), because the universe is really funny. I was struggling with how to approach this episode. Literally, I was mulling over how I wanted to talk about this, how I wanted to approach this topic. I had a coaching session earlier today about it. It's just been kind of heavy on my mind. And one of my mentors from afar likes to say that you shouldn't start from a blank page. And I realized, okay, I'm trying to start from a blank page, what could I build off of? And I remembered that I'd done another deep stretch podcast episode where I talked about community. So I decided to look in the archives. And when I say the universe is funny, it's funny because almost a year ago to the day, we published a deep stretch episode that was called rethinking community. And as I read through my notes for that, I realized how many of the thoughts that I was having today were a continuation of the thoughts that were started a year ago. And if you don't know, something that I like to do, it's easier for me, it makes things easier for the people who help make this podcast possible, is that we batch record podcasts. But members can join the deep stretch recordings live. So I spent a lot of today batch recording podcast episodes for the month to come. But the last episode of the month is almost real time. I normally record it on the Monday before it comes out the following Sunday. And so I had a break of doing this batch recording during the day, and then doing the session in the evening so that people who want to join the live recording can join it, I try not to do it in the middle of the day. Or if it is in the middle of the day, it is close to people's lunch times. So during this break, I was chatting with someone, I there's a lot happening in my life, y'all. I'm also starting another company that's related to coaching. You'll hear more about it in the future. And so I had another coaching session where I was working with someone related to this business I'm starting. And we were talking about something that was tangentially related. She was helping me work through a topic. And at the end of our conversation, she said, "I just want to acknowledge and appreciate how deeply you care about community. The word community just kept coming up in our conversation. And it is so clear that you care about the people in Inner Workout's community." And it was a gift really to see her reflect that back to me. She's not someone that I know really well, because I do. I really, really do care about the Inner Workout community. And holding space for this community is truly like one of the greatest honors of my life. I regularly get humbled and get chills and get teary eyed when I think about the fact that there are people who read the Inner Workout newsletter, who listen to this podcast, who have come to workshops, who have taken the Take Care Assessment and gotten something out of it. It is just wow. Like even now it's happening. I'm getting a little teary eyed feeling so much gratitude for the fact that this is work that I get to do. And in the last rethinking community episode, I shared an announcement.

I keep telling you the universe is funny because this year we're actually making two announcements related to community. And I'm wondering if it's because September is Inner Workout's birthday month, we just turned three. And I know in my own life, as my birthday gets closer, there's this energy of change. There's also a clarity of like, this is what I want to bring with me into a new year. This is what I don't want to bring with me into a new year, whatever it is, it's happened at least for the past couple of years. In that last rethinking community episode, we talked about three truths about community. And what I want to do today is revisit those three truths, and then add to them. There is another year of life experience that I have of experience of the Inner Workout community that's existed. And so there's room to build on these truths. And then at the end, I'll share these two announcements that I'm excited to share. I hope I didn't scare you, because at the beginning, I was saying I was struggling to think about how to express this, it wasn't a struggle, because it's anything super sad. It's a struggle, because like I said, I take getting to hold space for this community really seriously. And part of that means communicating really clearly. And so whenever there is something that's shifting, I'm thinking, how can I say this in the clearest way possible. So we're gonna go through these three truths. And then I'm going to make the two announcements, which hopefully you will be excited about.

So the first truth about community is that community is a choice. And I still really think that that's true. That community is a choice. We choose to come together. It could be because of proximity, like you have community, you can have community with people who are your neighbors, or who are in your neighborhood, you don't have to, but you can choose to. It could be a shared interest that you have, because you're all interested in a hobby, you play volleyball, you knit, whatever it is. You can come together because of an intersection in your identities. I think of employee resource groups and organizations, those are communities of choice, often because of identity around being parents or being women or being black, or being Latino. Community to some extent, I guess, could come out of convenience or obligation. But I really don't think that's how the truest communities are formed. This I actually was watching a Tiktok, about the hurricane happening in Puerto Rico. And they were talking about how there's lots of people who like to move to Puerto Rico, and get their residency there because it can help with their taxes, and they're staying on this beautiful island. And what happened, they actually were stitching, or dueting, I forget what it's called on TikTok, but they were adding on to someone else's video, who presumably was in Puerto Rico and was talking about how they saw so many people going back to their second homes in the States as soon as there was word of a hurricane. That would be maybe a community of obligation. They're like I'm here, while it's convenient, or a community of convenience. They're here while it's convenient. When it gets hard, they're going back to what allegedly apparently they would consider to be their true home. And the creator was talking about that in contrast to the people who are born and raised in Puerto Rico who don't have another choice, but to be there for the people that they share this island with. And that duality of this community of convenience of you could think of it as in sports, being a fair weather fan. When things are nice. I want to be a part of it. When things are hard. I opt out. The deepest communities are a choice. You choose to be there you choose to show up when it is hard. You choose to have the conversations that other people might avoid because you are invested in being in relationship there. That still feels really true. And as I've been thinking about Inner Workout, and how it builds community, the idea of choice is something that I think has only become more prevalent in my mind as I think about architecting or building scaffolding for the community.

The second truth was that community was an exchange or that it is an exchange. I think this is true too. that communities have a give and take. And it's not a one on one, it's not us counting, you did this for me, you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. But I noticed as a trend in myself. And I'd be curious if this is a trend for you, too, that when there starts to feel like there isn't a reciprocity, within a community, specifically or within my communities as a whole, I find myself wanting to pull back, I want to invest less, I want to give less, and this isn't just a matter of money, it could be a reciprocity in time, or care, or attention or yes, money, that can be part of it. But when it doesn't feel like there is an equal giving and receiving again, it doesn't have to be specifically within one community, it can be overall, as you look at your, the word that's coming to mind is portfolio of communities, that if the balance feels off, you will likely start to retreat. If you're like me, you might have the opposite reaction where you are actually trying to give more, because you think that will fix things. You're like, Okay, if I can just give more if I can just talk more than that will be better. This idea of exchange still feels so true. It's it's funny, it's like yes, yes to all of this past Taylor, you knew what you were talking about. And I am noticing, I think I've learned more what exchanges feel good for me. What exchanges make me feel more anxious. And also what exchanges feel comfortable for people who are members of the community, what are the ones that come more natural to them, I noticed that it is easy. And this is something that a lot of business owners deal with. A lot of times when people are answering questions, if we put out a survey or something, people will share the best case scenario. But our reality is often different from the best case scenario. And so having the time to observe and see, this is how people like to exchange. This is how people like to give and receive. There's more information. That's the blessing of time, is that with time if you are paying attention, you get more information, you know yourself and you know, your community better.

And then the last truth about community is that community comes together. I have loved seeing the different ways that the Inner Workout community has come together over this past year, whether it was in free workshops, or paid workshops or in events that were hosted in the group chat, our previous membership. Most communities that I am a part of that flourish, have a touch point. Like right now I'm a part of a book club. And everyone may not make every book club on Thursday night, but we're making most of them. And we know that we will see each other on these times. I had another group that I was a part of, actually several that do it like this, we meet on the second Tuesday of every month, or the first Monday of every month, or once a quarter, I have this meeting with someone. And it is this touch point where we know that this is one of the things that holds us together, that we will see each other regularly here. And when community comes together, there is that element of seeing each other at some regular interval, it could be once a year, it could be once a day, depending on what the community is and what its needs are. But coming together also means like sharing power, where it's not just about one person having all of the answers, but it's creating space for people to speak and to share and to be seen. So those are the three elements that I talked about last year about community - it being a choice, it being an exchange, and it being a place where people come together, to meet and to exchange and to share. And all of that feels true and I'm just seeing, oh, I've learned and Inner Workout as a company has learned more about each of these elements of community. Which leads me to my two announcements.

So one, if you read our newsletter regularly, or your follow us on Instagram, you've seen this already. One of the decisions that we've made is to deprioritize Instagram. Instagram builds itself as a community space. And we found that that's not true. We've spent most of this year really experimenting with what it looks like to engage on community and even when we we play the Instagram game, like, sure, we can create a post that gets plenty of shares. But it's not actually creating connection. It's not really creating a real transformation. It's giving like a quick little dopamine boost on an app that is designed to get you to stay on as long as possible. And it just started feeling less and less aligned to spend a lot of time and money and energy in that space of Instagram. So what that means going forward is that you won't see a ton of feed posts. You will occasionally see stories, you're more likely to see us on stories than you will to see us on the feed. But Instagram just is not going to be our main point of connection, because it's not necessarily a true community space. And it's becoming that less and less as they figure out what they want to be I think Instagram is also having its own crisis of who they are. And we're just gonna give them their space to do that, while we focus on creating community elsewhere. Because there was a time where Instagram was a place where we were really connecting and building relationships with many of you. And that's shifted. Now it's more on the newsletter, and it has been in our membership or in events that we've hosted. And I would so much rather spend our time and effort and energy there. Then on Mark Zuckerberg's app, that's just the reality of it. So community less on Instagram, we will occasionally be on stories. And if that changes, we'll let you know.

The other thing is I've been mentioning a little bit about the group chat. So for six, seven months, we had this paid membership community called the Group Chat. And in some ways, it was a space where people I mean, people did choose to be there, there was some exchange, we have these things called Chat Clubs, which were some of my favorite conversations with Inner Workout community members about all kinds of topics. And we did come together. But what I found is that I personally, as a leader, don't enjoy facilitating like these never ending spaces, I really enjoy spaces where we can come together for a set amount of time for a really clear purpose. And so we are evolving our membership model to move away from having a digital community space. And to be more about coming together for these types of learning and conversation experiences. So the Group Chat is no longer and in its place, we're launching the Inner Circle, which you can join for $5 a month. That is another change that we made, is making it a more accessible price point. And here's what you can expect if you join the Inner Circle. There are three key things that you get. The first is you get 40% off of all of our workshops, and a pretty nice discount on the other things that we have to offer. That also means we're going to be doing more workshops. From October till January, we have a workshop at least one scheduled every single month. And if you sign up for the Inner Circle, you get 40% off of all of them, you can come to one of them, you can come to none of them, I wouldn't recommend that because want to take advantage of that discount. Or you could come to all of them. But then that means you get to actually connect with Inner Workout community members in real time having real conversations, you don't have to worry about showing up a community space online and then trying to like get to know people. It's so much easier for me at least as a leader and a facilitator to facilitate that conversation happening in real time, even if it's happening virtually in a spot like Zoom. So that's the first thing that you get is 40% off of all workshops. The next thing that you get is access to join the live podcast recording. So you could be here live as I'm recording the Deep Stretch, I would be talking directly to you. And then we have like a little secret Q&A and conversation where if you have questions, thoughts, things that were sparked for you in the Deep Stretch, we have time to again connect, come together, have a conversation about it with other people who are a little bit more invested, I guess figuratively and literally.

And then the last piece and this is really a carryover from the group chat, is you get access to the secret newsletter. I have people say like I would love have to know what products you're using or what books you're reading or these different things. That's what you get in the secret newsletter. So I love recommending it could be a skincare, it could be a podcast I listened to, it could be a really interesting article. All sorts of things that are related to self care and personal development and are more, this is probably the most that I'm not. I wouldn't say I'm being prescriptive, but it's the most that I make recommendations. Because as you've heard me say before, I do believe that you're your own best expert. So I don't necessarily want to put myself in like this position of Taylor knows everything. But I do have things that I'd like to share that if you think are interesting, you're welcome to listen and watch and buy or not. So those are the three things that you got in the Inner Circle for five bucks a month : 40% off of workshops and discounts on pretty much everything else, whether that is like coaching or courses, you get to join the live podcast recording every month, and then you get access to the secret newsletter.

So those are the two shifts that we're making around community and I feel really good about them, I felt even better when I revisited these three touch points of community. I feel like this is a way to be really intentional about how we foster community and transparently I think the way Inner Workout does that best, is through these live events where people can talk and learn, not necessarily from me, but from themselves and from each other. And so I'm really excited about the shift. The last thing I'll say is that like Inner Workout is 100%, a labor of love, but it is also labor. So if you feel like you've gotten value out of Inner Warmup or a newsletter or something else that we've offered, joining the Inner Circle is a great way to support this work and to make sure that it can continue and can continue at a scale that continues to be, man how many times can I say continue? That this work continues and that we can do it in a way that is values aligned. I personally love having the chance to support work that I value and has given value to me. And so this is me offering you that opportunity as well as it relates to Inner Workout. So the Inner Circle, if that's of interest to you, it'll be in the shownotes you can join for $5 a month. And again, you will see less of us on Instagram. You will see us sometimes on stories, but that's just not a priority. There's so many other things. I want to put that energy into building new workshops and things for you rather than trying to make Mark Zuckerberg happy. So that's the Deep Stretch. It's funny too. I'm like, will there'll be another "Rethinking Community" episode next year? Maybe, maybe this becomes our birthday tradition. But thank you so much for listening. Thank you for your expertise and thank you for being a part of the Inner Workout community. It truly means the world to me that you are here and that you are listening. If you ever want to say hi, you can still DM us on Instagram. We'll check our DM's. Thank you so much for your time. Thanks for your expertise and take care.