The need to belong, to be part of something greater than ourselves, has been written in our DNA for thousands of years.
That's because in our caveman days, belonging to a tribe increased our chances of survival. Not only would a tribe gather food together but more importantly tribe-members acted as look-outs for each other against life-threatening predators.
Belonging to a tribe was so vital to survival, for so many years, that it is still hard-wired in us today.
But what does belonging to a group mean today?
After winning back-to-back NBA Championships and NBA Finals MVPs, Kevin Durant said the following and I think he nailed what it means to belong:
"I'm just grateful that, you know, I get to go to work with a group of guys that care about the game so much, who care about each other."
The feeling of belonging is present when the members of a group genuinely have both of the following:
- Love for each other.
- Love for a common passion/pursuit/purpose.
Fundamental to our feeling of belonging to a group or team is our need to feel acknowledged, accepted and appreciated. Some people aren't comfortable using the word "love" but essentially all three of these are forms of love. It is very apparent when you watch the Golden State Warriors that they care about each other.
And then there's the thing that brought the group together in the first place, the thing they had in common. Most groups or teams are bonded together by that one thing; an interest, a hobby or even a mission. As KD put it he was grateful to work with guys "that care about the game so much"....guys that shared the same passion he did.
Feeling like we belong enables us to do our best work and make our greatest contribution...Just ask KD.