STOUTWORTHY: Learn to BELONG with Radha Agrawal
Radha Agrawal wants everyone to belong.
In her new book, BELONG, Daybreaker CEO & CoFounder Radha Agrawal details how building community starts with being yourself.
In Radha Agrawal’s view, many of the current social issues plaguing us start with belonging — or the lack thereof. It’s a subject that she is so passionate about that she not only wrote a book on the subject, but created a powerful movement – Daybreaker – that has inspired a sense of belonging for more than 500,000 people worldwide.
While Agrawal initially founded Daybreaker to stay connected to the things she loved about nightlife (dancing, anyone?) minus the negatives like spilled drinks and drunken scenes, she discovered that her true purpose actually expanded far beyond a single group or event. Her dream, she says, is to bring like people together to create real connections and community.
If you’re not yourself, you attract all the wrong people for you.
— Radha Agrawal, CEO & CoFounder, Daybreaker
Friend With Intention
To make that dream happen, she has been exploring what makes a community, and how people can find or create the one that is right for them. According to Agrawal, “We need to get more intentional about our friendships. To build your own community, you have to start with an internal exploration first.”
Looking within to figure out what to search for in others can be tough for many, but Agrawal has a quick way to get started and once you’ve identified what you’re looking for in others, you can start to bring them together as a community.
Radha Agrawal’s three simple questions to ask yourself to begin building intentional friendships:
- What are the qualities I’m looking for in a friend? Think about who you enjoy having in your life. Now ask yourself, what makes them so satisfying to be with? Maybe it’s a quirky sense of humor, or an appetite for adventure, or the ability to deeply listen. Whatever the traits are, write them down.
- What are the qualities I don’t want in a friend? This is equally important as the first question. Are there people who encourage you to make poor choices, or make you feel small, uneasy or unworthy? What traits do they have that cause you to feel that way. That’s what you’re looking to avoid.
- What do I need to embody to attract the kind of friends I want? This is what Agrawal calls “auditing how you’re showing up as a friend”. Your behavior and attitudes draw certain types of people to you – make sure your actions are aligned with your connection goals.
The Science Behind The Build
Agrwals’ community-building process is actually grounded in science. Every opportunity that she creates is designed around the DOSE formula, an acronym for Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins. Dopamine is released when our happy center is stimulated, while oxytocin is the feel-good reaction to human touch. Serotonin is activated by the sense that everything is bigger that just one person, leading to gratitude. And endorphins are the natural high that comes from moving your body. When crafting her events, Agrawal is careful to incorporate features that activate all four elements of DOSE.
Fun + Friends + Purpose
An embraceable community is built “at the intersection of safety and mystery,” Agrawal explains. “Safety, meaning people know that they will have a high-quality experience with you. And mystery, by always having some element of surprise that invokes a sense of ‘Oh, what are they going to do this time?'”
She also cautions people about the true intent of creating a community — personal or professional — and the danger of putting popularity over purpose. “It’s important to remember that you are not acquiring users — you are building a human experience.” To help others design and plan community-building events, Agrawal has also created and shares the five-step method that she refers to as CRAWL- we’ve got it outlined for you in the #stoutTakeaways below!
The CRAWL Method for Building Communities
Core Vales: this refers to what the most important ideals are for the group — and also the constraints.
Rituals: Sports teams have them, churches have them. People need regular habits that they can count on.
Aesthetics: A form of emotional branding, this step incorporates the design and feel of your event —from the space you enter down to the fonts and colors you use.
Why: You must have answers before you begin — why are you building community, why are people there, why this particular experience?
Language: How will you position your event to the world? It’s important to be authentic and avoid empty jargon — think about how you speak to your friends.
Get #Stout insights to find and fuel your purpose and check out our collection of wisdom and deep dives from Stout’s 2019 SXSW experience and building your emotional intelligence (EQ).