Remember the feeling of being in elementary school, walking out of the lunch line, tray in tight grip…weird door air noises creating that ambient sound unique to cafeterias…scanning the wide room, looking for somewhere to sit?
That, my friends, is my first memory of the innate desire to belong. To have some place and some people (even 1 person) to come home to, or even just sit with for one lunch. Boiled right down to a feeling that gets you good, in the gut, in the lunchroom.
Being a human is a sad experience in that way. Stripped of spirituality (religion for some), we are born alone; we die alone; and that’s the story.
Studies on studies (from Gallup, LinkedIn, Cigna, UC Berkeley, BYU +++) all point to it: being lonely sucks…for emotional health, business results, physical wellness, etc.
Here’s some of what I mean:
- “A study by Cigna of 20,000 Americans highlights the cost of loneliness, and with a 15% average engagement score of employees worldwide, ignoring the human need of belonging poses serious business risks.”*
- “Gallup research shows that only two out of 10 U.S. employees strongly agree to having a best friend at work, but, if that ratio increased to six in 10, organizations could realize 36% fewer safety incidents, 7% more engaged customers and 12% higher profit.”**
And my favorite:
“Research dating back to the 1970s suggests people with weaker social networks actually die younger (due to any cause) than people who have more extensive social networks.”***
This research is huge. And important. But on the other hand, blah blah blah — isn’t it a little like, “OF COURSE??”
But I don’t buy it (and neither does my gang her at Campowerment).