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March 08, 2021 5 min read

MARCH 8, 2021

Community; More Important Now Than Ever Before

Over the last few years, my personal definition and meaning behind the word community has changed. I understand now that the word community can be used to reference people that think similarly to me, with aligned values and beliefs. Community for me is also a collection of people that aren’t afraid to challenge norms and question what’s going on around us.

What is Community?

Community, for many of us, has also started to develop online in the last decade. For some, even longer. Even before the global pandemic began, we were starting to develop followings and create pages geared towards connecting with others based on shared interests or hobbies or experiences.

community


For me personally, I have been a part of few communities online, and have even created a couple. I held a side hustle / interest in photography for a few years (and still do!), and would find myself reading and sharing articles and videos related to photography content. I’d follow and reach out to other photographers, offering compliments and feedback, receiving the same in return. There was such a shared desire to help each other grow and learn from a place of love and admiration, cheering each other on.

 

As I moved out of photography as a source of income, and progressed further into my teaching career, I also became incredibly interested in podcasting. The world of podcasting, let me tell you, fosters community in a way few other platforms do.



My name is Amanda Lytle, and I host a podcast called The Safe Haven.

 

As with most projects and ideas, there’s a story behind this idea and the beautiful community it’s creating.

 

In May of 2019, between a significant break up and a girls’ weekend for my birthday, I was thinking about the people that were going to be coming to hang out.

 

Each person had so many life experience, and a few had some really pivotal moments or defining events in their lives that they carry with them everywhere.

 

Podcasts were very therapeutic for me in the post break up healing process, and I loved the idea of sharing stories in a vulnerable way. I was astounded to feel so connected to people I’d never met, based on what they were going through and how they shared their stories in this audio format.  


A good talker and an even better listener, I started dreaming about how incredible it would be to hold space for others to share their stories and perspectives.

 

Once I committed to creating The Safe Haven, it began to grow - and grow quickly!

 

This space began offering lessons and messages to the listeners, helping people feel less alone while starting additional crucial conversations.

 

As the guest list grew, so did the audience.

 

It started wrapping and weaving its way around the world. I was incredibly humbled and proud to hear about the moments when listeners reached out to guests to simply say thank you or to share something they really related to within the guest’s episode.

The more conversations we recorded, the more I started to understand that a community could exist with people you’ve never met - and may never meet! These online communities allow us to lift each other up, connect, and share experiences - the good, the bad, and the life changing. This growing community was promoting a sense of belonging and value, encouraging vulnerability and offering a safe and brave space to share. It’s a place to grow and to learn - and believe me, the learning never stops.

 

My understanding of community and the existence of rich and nourishing communities created online became more deeply rooted with the onset of COVID-19 and the Global Pandemic in early 2020. I, like many, was forced to re-evaluate how I would connect with others to record, as my preference had been to sit in person with my guests.

 

Unable to sit with my guests in person, I began navigating the steep learning curve of recording remotely. Fortunately, I was able to figure out sound and use Zoom to meet and schedule recordings rather quickly.

 

The international audience grew even more, and The Safe Haven’s guest list was no longer bound to distance. The Safe Haven was becoming an international community, connecting guests and listeners around the world!

 

As the networking continued, I started to bring an awareness to communities I was joining or being made aware of in this online space. I joined a fitness community, an author and publishing community, met other podcasters (@conversationswithkenzie, @madcasters, @realrebelpodcast), began networking with incredible educators in anti-racism (@myishathill, @sincerely.lettie, @accordingtoweeze), and even joined a podcast network!

 

People began reaching out for help with the creation and foundational steps to starting their own podcasts, and my soul was ignited being able to share my passion (and obsession!) with others.

 

These conversations led to deeper conversations about business, mental health, wellness, goals, lifestyle, and hobbies.

 

I’ve met people in this virtual space that I wouldn’t have otherwise, and feel so incredibly grateful for the opportunity.

 

Social media can be a blessing or a curse - depending on the lens with which you’re viewing it.When it comes to finding community amidst a global pandemic, it’s been an incredible blessing. It was social media that connected the one and only Jessie Lyon from Pokoloko, too. (find link to our conversation on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or the Frequency Podcast Network!)

Moving into 2021, my understanding of community continues to grow and deeping. I’ve been more intentional about content online, and aim to continue building relationships with my followers. I also aspire to encourage listeners to reach out to my guests to connect, ask questions, and share stories. Bringing together uplifting and knowledgeable people will hopefully inspire The Safe Haven community to dream bigger, love harder, and dig deeper, while helping people feel less alone on their journey. I’m working hard to create community with intention.



Ask yourself how you contribute to the different communities in your life.

 

Which ones are you proud to be a part of?

 

Do you feel seen, heard and valued?

 

Which communities are you interested in exploring?

 

Find them. Reach out. Connect with others who share similar values and visions. It’s really powerful.

 

A xo


Written by Amanda Lytle, Podcast Host & Creator

Amanda is an intensely dynamic woman with an infectious passion for humanity. She’s vibrant and compassionate. Her curiosity fuels her love of learning, which is endless.

Amanda is a teacher of many things. Whether she is teaching yoga, high school, or podcasting workshops, she teaches with grace and an open heart.  

 

The newest addition to Amanda's passion filled life is her podcast, The Safe Haven. Her podcast uplifts in every sense. It uplifts the raw, vulnerable messages of her guests. It uplifts listeners from all over the globe. It uplifts herself by paving purpose in her life. She is making change for the better in each episode, and the journey has just begun.