Deeper Weekend 2014

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    Greg Kyte
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    Jason Blumer
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    Jon Lokhorst
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    Melinda Guillemette
  • Toni Cameron

Jennifer BlumerI recently listened to Brene Brown on audible. It wasn’t a book, but rather a series of talks she gave, so it was more informal and very entertaining. But it was also fascinating, especially the ideas she presented about what it means to belong, rather than to fit in.

“Fitting in and belonging are not the same thing, and, in fact, fitting in gets in the way of belonging. Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. Belonging on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.” 

When you go to a new place, say Deeper Weekend 2013 (REGISTER HERE!!), you may meet some new people. It’s natural that you’ll want them to like you. You’ll talk about your trip to Greenville and how cool our downtown is. You’ll look around to see who’s there that you already know. And you may really try to fit in. We often do this by finding the commonality of the group. In this case, it would probably be Thriveal or CPA firms or being small business owners. It may be around the food or drink we serve. Sometimes we even find a common enemy.

When we try to fit in, we adjust to the group. We are one way in church, one way at the PTA meeting, one way in the office, and another way at home. Fitting in is safe. We learn what is expected and we behave according to those rules.

But when we don’t try to fit in, when we just show up and be who we are, we are vulnerable. We are taking a risk. Maybe we’ll be liked and appreciated, or maybe we won’t. But here’s the pay off. When we take that risk, and we find out that we really are okay, we find belonging.

One goal in Thriveal is for our community to all feel as though they belong. That doesn’t mean we are a group for everyone though. We give the Manifesto to potential new members, and Jason spends about an hour talking to each person curious about our community. However, once a person is in, they are supported. And it’s okay if they don’t do everything the way the majority of the group does. We are not a best practices group. We don’t require people to value price or only use cloud products. You’re not in trouble if you use paper! You belong because you care about your customers and you work hard to create and implement ways to serve them well.

Are you familiar with this concept or with Brene Brown? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Jennifer earned her degree in Early Childhood Education from Winthrop University. She has taught in public school as well as homeschooled her own children for many years. Jennifer serves the Thriveal members as the Community Manager. She also produces two podcasts, The Thrivecast and The Businessology Show and serves as the Director of Operations for Blumer & Associates CPAs. She loves college football, especially the South Carolina Gamecocks. You can read more from Jennifer at her personal blog, Finally Jennifer. Jennifer and her husband, Jason Blumer, live in Greenville, SC with their three beautiful daughters and their two dogs, Rose and Jessie.

  • On 08-20-2013 at 5:06 pm, chris f said:

    Yes mame; did I need to hear this one today! Jeez, the need to “fit in” really clouds the day. The internal feeling of belonging is far different than trying to “fit in” when it comes to customers. I really believe the contraction we are experiencing is a result. Thanks for this reminder today.

    • Jennifer Blumer

      On 08-20-2013 at 5:11 pm, Jennifer said:

      Thanks Chris! I think you were the one that first introduced me to Brene Brown. So thanks for that too. 🙂

  • On 08-21-2013 at 2:08 pm, Kevin said:

    I think vulnerability fits well with the concept of “not being for everyone” or niching…which is also hard for a lot of CPAs to accept.

    Listen to the latest Happy Monday podcast. Seth Godin is the guest and they talk about Brene Brown and vulnerability a bit. Seth’s interpretation – vulnerability is about owning your work and being ok with those that don’t “get it”. (And being able to say, sorry it’s not for you.)

    I think part of what makes Thriveal special is the “Wow, I had no idea there were others that think accounting is broken” factor. For a long time, I thought I was the only one. Now I know there are others, thus I belong.

    • Jennifer Blumer

      On 08-21-2013 at 2:17 pm, Jennifer said:

      Cool thoughts, Kevin. It is such a relief to find belonging. I wish Thriveal could do that for everyone, but of course we can’t. But I LOVE knowing that you feel that in this community.

      Josh Long (Happy Monday host) will be the Businessology show guest this week. Hope you can listen in!

  • On 08-21-2013 at 4:56 pm, Jason M. Blumer, CPA.CITP said:

    Cool comments. Kevin, I listened to that podcast episode too. It was awesome.

    I love the concepts of Fitting In and Belonging. Thanks Jen, this is a great post!

  • On 08-24-2013 at 4:43 pm, David Thienes said:

    It is very difficult though for those of us that neither “fit in” or “belong.” We don’t change who we are but our ideas are so radical that they are dismissed because other can’t see how you actually do “belong.” In this scenario, you are constantly seeking “your kind” but are most often left stranded on an island alone sending out messages in bottles that state, “I Belong! Just give me a chance!” Yes, we are vulnerable when we are who we are. You would think there are folks that recognize the risk being taken by individuals not trying to fit in but sadly there are not. And why wouldn’t the risk be recognized?” Because the concepts and ideas of those of us on the island of misfit toys extend well beyond most peoples comfort zone. So my question is this; if you are not trying to “fit in” but know you “belong”, what do you do when no one else believes you “belong”?
    (Context: Creating hybrid industries by taking two seemingly unrelated industries and merging the best attributes of both to create revenue streams never before afforded to either industry.)


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