In March of 2017, I was standing in front of the door to a florist’s shop, utterly panic-stricken. I came very close to turning around. Instead I walked into my first meeting of the Suffolk County chapter of The Rising Tide Society, an international group of small creative business owners embodying the philosophy of “community over competition”. Every month local chapters meet to discuss a different topic, but more than anything, to support each other, because “a rising tide lifts all boats”. I left the meeting inspired and uplifted by the amazingly supportive women I met that day, and I’ve made sure to be at every meeting since.
In August of last year, the Suffolk leader Christie asked me to serve as Secretary for the group, because she noticed I was always taking notes (I’ve always been a nerd, it’s a tough habit to break). I did that for the rest of the year and then in January, Christie asked me and another member Kim to take over the role of group leader. Just like at that first meeting, I was scared but I said yes. I doubted that I would do well with the public speaking aspect of the job, as I’m an introvert at heart. I said yes because I really love the amazing people I‘ve met in the group and I believe that joining together creative and compassionate people can only lead to good things for our community. Kim and I led our first meeting together in March. Once again, I was anxious for nothing. The meeting went great and was, as always, a place for entrepreneurs to lean on each other and learn from each other.
I barely spoke at that first meeting I attended. Then at the next one, I made a few comments. Then a few meetings later, I was cracking jokes and letting my voice be heard. I’ve grown a ton as a person and as a business owner since finding this amazing community. This month, Kim said she couldn’t make it, and Christie wasn’t going to be there either. A year ago, this might have sent me into an anxiety spiral, but I didn’t freak out. I tried to follow Christie’s lead and be a warm and welcoming leader. We had a good mix of new and old members and it was a really productive and fun meeting.
If you’re a Long Island small creative business owner, consider joining our group. I promise it’ll be worth it. It’s a great way to spend the second Wednesday of every month, which I otherwise would be wasting on the couch with my dog!
Find us on Facebook if you want to join us!