The other day my sister Becky sent me an article from her Santa Barbara paper about a creative young entrepreneur named Michael Lewis. His business, Suite Arrivals is an interesting idea, but his entrepreneurial mindset is what got my attention.

One of the things he’s done since setting up shop in his adopted hometown is to create a MeetUp group to connect other self-bossers. “When I started StartUpSB, I knew I wanted to cultivate an entrepreneurial community based on camaraderie rather than business card swaps at networking events,” said Lewis, saying that he’d attended a few such events when he first arrived in town and “they were a nightmare.”

The concept is pretty simple. Participants “show up and make friends with each other, which is far better for the community’s long-term economic growth,” Lewis said. “I spread the word via Twitter and word of mouth at coffee shops, where many local entrepreneurs  work during the day. Now we have 140 members and will soon have the fifth gathering.”

“StartUpSB isn’t big,” Lewis says, “but it’s potent. You can’t measure that potential, all in one room.” He’s passionate that everyone attending has something to contribute. “Each entrepreneur is like one of the X-Men, each with a special forte.”

Later in the interview, Lewis mentions how sad it makes him to see businesses that don’t move forward. He’s convinced that those who make the effort to show up in places that connect them with others on the same path can make all the difference.

It’s something I learned long ago when I watched a tiny little network marketing company grow into a national organization. This was not a get-rich-quick venture and many of those who ultimately succeeded invested a great deal of time before seeing much money.

Because the company was founded by a man who understood much about personal growth, he invented many ways to help people grow from the inside out. One of those tools (although it wasn’t ever called that) was organizing regular company events and meetings.

Since the sales force was scattered across the country, most people had to incur travel expenses to attend. Repeatedly, I noticed, those who invested their time and money were the ones whose businesses continued to grow and flourish.

By regularly gathering with others who shared their vision, they were sending a strong message to both their conscious and subconscious minds that this dream mattered.

This kind of inspiration isn’t vaccination, of course. Repeatedly making the effort to connect and share is an on-going activity for the truly committed.

Sometimes, of course, resistance gets in the way and keeps us away. Who knows what we miss by giving into it?

Comedian Martin Short wrote a wonderful essay in Time magazine about the turning point in his life. He had moved to Los Angeles, but was adrift.

On the day that his own doubts and fears were the strongest, someone invited him to go to an improv show. To be polite, Short accepted, although he didn’t want to go.

He writes, “That show changed my life.The actors were improvising and my mind was going with them. For the first time, I realized that I could channel the way I could be funny at a party into my onstage role. But before that evening, I had never put the pieces together. I had never seen my potential.”

“Isolation is the dream killer,” Barbara Sher reminds us. Fortunately, there’s something we can do about that.

Want to see more of your dreams come true? Transplant yourself into a dreambuilding environment as often as possible.

Gather with others who are passionate and proactive. Make idea gathering your favorite hobby. Listen to inspiring speakers and read eloquent authors who have taken a higher path.

Share ideas with forward-thinking people. Refuse to believe that you aren’t a good investment.

When you regularly show up for your dreams, they’ll start showing up for you. Or, as Steven Pressfield so eloquently reminds us, “There’s power in putting your ass where your heart wants to go.”

In his chapter on fear in The War of Art, Steven Pressfield has this to say:”We know that if we embrace out ideals, we must prove worthy of them. And that scares the hell out of us. What will become of us? We will lose our friends and family, who will no longer recognize us. We will wind up alone, in the cold void of starry space, with nothing and no one to hold on to.

“Of course this is exactly what happens. But here’s the trick. We wind up in space, but not alone. Instead we are tapped into an unquenchable, undepletable, inexhaustible source of wisdom, consciousness, companionship. Yeah, we lose friends. But we find friends too, in places we never thought to look. And they’re better friends, truer friend. And we’re better and truer to them.”

I’ve been thinking about these words alot lately as I’ve been dazzled by the helpful, delightful, creative people that are in my life. Some of them have been around for a long time; others I’m just getting to know. I seem to consistently attract people who are curious, adventurous and committed to making a difference. I think of them as my personal faculty in my own journey of discovery.

My experience seems to contradict a number of recent polls that show more and more of us feel isolated and lonely. This phenomenon does not just affect adults; kids in school often feel disconnected from their peers. Consequently, isolation is often a concern for people who contemplate solo entrepreneurship. Will they end up talking to their cat?

It’s possible, I suppose, but it’s also the antithesis of the entrepreneurial life. Being an entrepreneur is about connecting and collaborating with others. In fact, one of my earliest observations about the Joyfully Jobless life was that this is where we come to get our Ph.D. in human relations.

When we make changes in our lives, it’s natural that the cast of characters around us may change as well. There will be newcomers that join us and there will be old-timers that disappear. There will also be permanent cast members who welcome and weather the changes. The wise person consciously chooses to include people who enrich, challenge and delight. In the end our best relationships are built on a balance of contribution.

Do not surround yourself with people who do not have dreams. ~ Nikki Giovanni