Butts Stay When They Belong –Not for a Sense

Real belonging, your 2-Way Us-Story Super Performance highway

Let me offer you a real, functional, and very particular definition for belonging that allows you to qualitatively measure it.

Belonging’s the space where you feel, own, and care for them, your teammates and leaders in their successes, dreams, and failures. And they feel, own, and care for you in yours. Real belonging, its power comes bidirectionally from both sides being, give/get.

That’s a big difference from Cornell University’s definition of “a sense of belonging” and belonging. And, there’s an irony in Cornell’s definition. Businesses provide an environment where employees get to feel “a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity” and then are expected to “bring their authentic (real) self to work.” WTF!

In actual belonging, you get real acceptance, and inclusion, and get to be really you (identity).

Consider Navy SEALs. As individuals go, they perform at higher optimal levels than most. Many talk about the willpower that a Navy seal has. But it’s actually the “We’ll-Power” in their Us Story that’s behind the willpower that pushes resilience and performance to even higher optimal levels. And they commit to it, to each other, person-to-person in a bidirectional reinforcing. They do for each other, their families, their country (our country), and our allies.

But it’s actually the “We’ll-Power” in their Us Story that’s behind the willpower that pushes resilience and performance to even higher optimal levels.

The more belonging they practice, the more oxytocin and serotonin they have, which makes belonging more natural and easier on their team.

The context is always for each other. As a result of their (belonging) practices, they’re always generating the love and confidence chemicals of oxytocin and serotonin, even in the most difficult of situations. They’ve done this so often, that it’s woven into the ways they belong as they get shit done. It’s habit, unconscious. When everything goes sideways, they still have their oxytocin and serotonin levels in play. That means they always have a resiliency that’s motivated by their love for each other. You can think of their practice and producing oxytocin and serotonin as their Belonging “OS” (Team OS) for deep, resilient, and optimal teamwork. The more belonging they practice, the more oxytocin and serotonin they have, which makes belonging more natural and easier on their team. When the shit hits the fan, their hearts and brains are simply more physiologically capable. Here’s a read that goes a little deeper on this topic, in context and setting up lead and lag measures for measuring: Get Navy SEAL, or Real Accountability.

What we practice is what we do under pressure. If you don’t practice belonging in your teams and in simulated difficulty, you won’t do it when it matters, because you won’t have a good supply of oxytocin and serotonin. So practice. To keep, or develop, your Team OS in your companies, you gotta practice behaviors that live out your shared and guiding values, and, develop an uncompromised team-first-ethos in service of your company or tribal purpose (your Why?). This builds your belonging We’ll-House.

Guess what happens when you belong and you know you have each other’s back? One hundred percent of your focus gets to go towards your performance. Think on that for a bit.

The simple path to turning your real belonging practices into habits

Your belonging practices turn into your cultural habits, the ways you belong. It starts intentional and conscious and becomes unconscious. Then you automagically respond how you want to in being and doing, in a given situation in context. And the easiest and fastest way to get in the habit, incorporate these 4 R’s as you create your practice to instill.

Relationships – your brain wants love & accountability, (oxytocin + endorphins + serotonin)
(Tell someone and get it out of your head, so it gets real, it’s part of the 2-way street)

Rewards – your brain must feel good for doing it (dopamine + serotonin)
(We consistently do what feels good, so, give yourself something to feel good about each time)

Recurrence – your brain must create well-used neuropathways
(The more your neural gears of a certain practice turn, the more grease they get)

Resistance – your brain loves to work less hard, so, create less resistance for things you want, or more for things you don’t

(It’s just that simple)

You simply find ways to do these four R’s from your strengths, and you’ll get to those unconscious ways you do things (habits) in place faster, to bump you into sustainable high-performance.

A team that doesn’t belong, will never perform as well as one that does. A sense of belonging isn’t belonging. Real belonging takes practice, so it becomes habit, and we belong when it really matters and the pressure is on. We’re ready to give, in the face of danger. It’s really simple, we keep our butts right where they are, for and with whom we love and belong. And that includes when customers and your people belong also. Butts follow hearts.


Paul Haury
Paul Haury
Belonging Coach & Evangelist for Heart-Based Leadership in Workplace Culture & Happiness. I’m a coach, a mentor, an optimist that nerds-out on all things in the social-behavioral and neurosciences for what motivates us in how we can be better, and, get us to with whom and where we belong. The paths that get us there follow roads of vulnerable togetherness, kind and honest challenges in personal accountability, and a deep curious appreciation for being wholly human in full potential. It’s here, where we land on the good side of our fears and aspirations, and make our dreams happen. We’ll never do anything as well, as when we’re doing what we’re doing with and for those we love. I help people create their own unique spaces to go farther and higher in their individual brilliance than they ever could alone.

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