As a consequence of the current pandemic, we have all been restricted to the domain of our homes. The frequency of social events and gatherings are at an all-time low. At a time, when one is yearning for some company, podcasts offer us the perfect solution. I recently listened to a podcast, “In Conversation with Alex Loh”, an installment of the podcast series called “In conversation with” organized by Mitti Ke Rang and hosted by Mishika Sharma.
Alex Loh is the Co-founder of Kampung Collective, A curated community for community builders across Asia. The core mission seeks to educate, gather, to achieve their vision to elevate community building as a credible professional career.
The whole podcast can broadly be divided into two segments. First would be Alex’s virtuous characteristics demonstrated by his experience as a professional sportsperson and the later could be a guide to community building as described by Alex.
In order to resonate thoroughly with the text, I would recommend everyone to listen to the podcast before diving deep into the takeaways.
The 11 times a week training schedule should be enough to exemplify Alex’s commitment towards his passion, Water Polo. He was selective in his approach and had his priorities set. Alex mentioned that when most of his college mates were partying, traveling, or hanging out in general, he was sweating it out at the training ground. He chose to limit his participation in social activities in order to play professionally and made it to the national team. Selectivity is pivotal for success. To achieve one’s dreams and ambitions, one needs to set their priorities straight and make sacrifices.
Experiencing a long-lasting injury is an ordeal that most people won’t like to recollect. It doesn’t only hamper one’s mobility, but also has an effect on one’s mental stability. Giving his professional sports career a second shot after sustaining an injury which sidelined him for two years just displays the never say die spirit that runs in the veins of Alex. This spirit is pivotal for success. Roadblocks are part of life, the one who struggles through them paves his path to success
Optimizing one’s physical and mental well being
One’s physical and mental well-being should be of the utmost importance to a person. A robust mind and a healthy body won’t only lead to an increment in one’s happiness charts but will also boost one’s productivity and overall well-being. The importance of routine in optimizing one’s well-being is indispensable. Research indicates that the body’s clock is liable for more than just sleep and wakefulness. Systems, like hunger, mental alertness, and mood, stress, heart function, and immunity also operate on a daily rhythm. Keeping one’s routine intact helps the clock ticking without being disturbed. An intriguing consideration raised by Alex was about knowing one’s body. Everyone is unique and therefore should have a separate health routine curated for them. Throughout the podcast, Alex also touched upon the concepts of Breathwork and biohacking. (A beginners guide to biohacking, suggested by Alex is linked at the end)
At the core of it all, Alex is a hustler. He works hard and sees every situation as an opportunity. The tenacity and perseverance inculcated in him through sports always keep him going. Once Alex realized that it was time to move on from competitive sports, he did not loath in self-pity for the injury sustained, instead, he saw it as an opportunity and turned himself into a life coach/recovery advocate. Throughout his life, Alex’s interest shifted to various fields. From aspiring to be an engineer to finally finding a match in community building, Alex gained a lot of experience. Utilizing his experiences, even the ordeals to help other people who have met a stumbling block in a life epitomizes the community mind-set that Alex is trying to promote through the Kampung collective.
The strength of a community and the approach to community Building
Slowly but steadily, we are moving on from a society that encourages individualism and moving towards a society that understands the power of the community.
A group of people with similar characteristics or interests come together to form a community. The strength of the community though isn’t measured by the number of participants. It is the intensity of engagement that dictates the strength.
A community works on the exchange of ideas. It is a place where people can improve themselves and learn from each other. For Example, Kampung Collective which is co-founded by Alex is a curated community for community builders across Asia. People from different walks of life join forces to spread awareness about community building and help each other improve.
The community mindset dictates that the wellness of the community comes foremost. It is built upon the foundation of trust and brotherhood. The intent is to share our skills and grow collectively. The general idea is that if one looks out for people seeking help in a field of their expertise, one will receive help when one requires it. So instead of dealing in currency, a community deals in engagement and skills.
It is clear that being involved in a community is mutually beneficial, but how does one become a part of a community?
The first step to being a part of a community is to find one. So follow up on Alex’s advice and check out whether your vision and values align with the vision of your community. Once you find a community that is a perfect match for you, understand its needs. Find out the ways in which you can be of value to the community. If one cannot provide value, one won’t receive the desirable engagement.
The role of a community builder as a professional
The community builder is responsible to make sure that a community doesn’t fizzle down in engagement. Ensuring that every member feels included and engages actively is pivotal to community success. Alex’s suggested a few ways in which one can keep the engagement from fizzling down:
1) Frequently organizing community-specific events
For instance, panels, speakers, and keynote presentations. It helps the members gain a sense of exclusivity and motivates them to engage them even further.
2) Curating the right audience
When building a community quality precedes quantity in order of preference. Having a smaller yet interested and engaging audience is way better than having the masses who do not engage at all or have ulterior motives.(sales, marketing)
3) Frequent check-ins
Formal or informal check-ins to understand the needs of the community is pivotal to the success of a community. The needs of people are transient in nature so gaining feedback from one’s community is essential
All in all the podcast acts as a beginner’s guide to community participation and building. It provides enough information to peak one’s interest without bombarding one with two much information. The community-building aspect combined with Alex’s inspiring journey does well enough to keep one hooked to it. The podcast helped me introspect and rebalance my work/well-being schedule, anyone looking for some motivation or surface-level knowledge about community building should give hearing the podcast a go.