Breaking out of Your Shell How Community Can Help You Grow as an English Learner and as a Person

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Enhance your communication skills and unlock your full potential with this conversation on the power of community. Learn how joining a community can empower your to improve your language abilities and discover new aspects of themselves. Learn how the power of community can push limits and get us out of comfort zones.

Mary Daphne: Hello, Advanced English learners. Welcome back to another conversation. I'm joined by the one and only Greg. 

Greg: Hello. Hello. 

Mary Daphne: Thank you for joining me, Greg. So we do these conversations to first and foremost help you with your listening comprehension skills to work on conversation techniques and strategies to familiarize yourself with how native English speakers speak, and to learn new vocab phrases along the way. And we have a quest, a worksheet, a challenge, and a discussion that goes along with this conversation, which you can have full access to when you are a member of our very own community Explearning Academy. So we can talk more about that soon. But I'd like to dive into our topic today, which is the beauty of community.

Greg: Ooh, yes. Community is a beautiful thing. 

Mary Daphne: For sure. So let's get into it.

All right. Community is such a powerful entity, and it's a very dynamic entity, meaning it's growing, it's changing, it's evolving, which is what human beings are also doing. 

Greg: Yeah, totally. And it's funny, an entity is one way to describe a community, an entity I think of as a sort of some sort of tangible thing.

But I also think of community as a concept. So you're right that a community, for example, as an entity is something you join, something you partake in and participate in. Community also as a concept is something that supports you, something that you feel attachment to, right? It's this feeling in your soul, right?

It's something that is a part of you. And so I think it serves both as an entity and also as a concept and very powerful in both respects. 

Mary Daphne: I absolutely love that you tapped into this idea of belongingness and identity. And a lot of times we don't even realize the potential that we have until we join a community because the people in the community bring that out in us.

So in a way it's like unlocking a different aspect, a different layer to your identity. That was latent, that was not even manifesting itself to you until you joined something like a community. 

Greg: That's such a cool idea, this idea that a community can bring out a new part of you. And it's so true. There are things I didn't know I was capable of, things I didn't know I was interested in, or there were topics that I thought I knew a lot about.

And then I joined a community where there were other experts or real experts in that topic, and suddenly I was like, wow. I don't know a thing yet about this 

Mary Daphne: A hundred percent. And a lot of times there's this idea that we might not be pushing ourselves enough. We might not be pushing our limits. We might not be doing enough to get outside the boundaries that we set for ourselves.

In other words, we might not be getting outside of our comfort zones because a comfort zone is a comfortable thing and getting outside of it is quite uncomfortable. 

Greg: It's against our programming. 

Mary Daphne: Yes, exactly. And so with the community, if you see other people, they raise the bar and they're doing things that you could only dream of doing, right?

Maybe they're coding in a very difficult language, or they're creating cool projects, or they're in a language and communication community like ours, and they're using different vocab and complex phrasing and expressing their ideas in a way you could only dream of. Then by proxy and by osmosis through osmosis, you can start to also be able to pick up on that and push your limits so that now you're getting outside of your comfort zones too.

Greg: Yeah, there's this, isn't there this phrase, you are the sum of the people you hang out with or the average of the people you hang out with. I can't remember what the specific phrase is, but the point is you're heavily influenced by the people you spend time with. And one of the powerful ways a community can have a positive impact on you is if the community is made up of people whom can push you, toward challenges that you didn't think you could accomplish.

Could push your level of understanding in a certain topic can get you, like you said, to step outside your comfort zone. You are leveraging the exposure to those people to make yourself more effective at whatever it is you were trying to do. 

Mary Daphne: Exactly. And being able to bounce ideas off one another.

Being able to have a shared experience where you might be learning something. Even if you're at different stages of your life, there's this common sort of shared transition, meaning the reason you showed up to that community in the first place, the impetus for wanting to join that community. So getting better at social skills communication, working on maintaining friendships, and expanding your networks of global people, right?

That could be something when you join our community that you'll be getting. So it's really about, being on your own journey, but doing that with other people as well. 

Greg: Yeah. It's funny because I've always thought of myself as this lone wolf. When I learn, I like to do things on my own, at my own pace.

And that works. But what I've learned also is you can dramatically accelerate that process by being part of a community. Where I experienced this, in my work in blockchain , right? So I had been involved in blockchain technology for years, but only as a solo participant, right? Mm-hmm.. And it wasn't until I actually got a job in blockchain that I realized how much I was missing and how much I didn't really understand at a fundamental level, because suddenly I was surrounded by people who spend their day using this professionally and talking about it professionally and selling technology.

So it was just a totally different level of exposure, that I could only get from that community. And so as much as I like doing things by myself I discovered that having that community was such a huge catalyst, such a huge accelerant to my ability to master that subject matter. 

Mary Daphne: That's an excellent point you raised, Greg, because this idea of autonomous learning is still something that you can achieve in a community.

But then there's so much more that you can unlock alongside people and learn from them and with them alongside them as well. So for example, in our community, we have loads of courses and prompts and challenges that you can do on your own, right? There's that aspect of autonomous learning, that lone wolf that Greg described, right?

If this is the type of learner that you identify as, so you can spend time going through courses and materials and challenges and worksheets and do that, and at the same time we have this whole community aspect where you're interacting with each other, you're chatting with each other, you're going on live conversations with me and the other people and members in our community as well, second aspect to that community where you have all these incredible people with you. 

And I love this idea that the collective mindset, the collective knowledge is so much more powerful than any one person's knowledge. 

Greg: Yeah, exactly. It all builds on each other. You were saying before how you can bounce ideas off each other.

There are a lot of strategies that we discuss in these videos and in our web courses, right? There are a lot of different opportunities to go out and practice them, and we always encourage you to do that. And what's cool about this community is this is the easiest way for you to go and do that.

You have a group of other people who are also armed with the same strategies and are also excited to go and practice, with each other, right? And practice with you during the lives. There's so many opportunities to actually put the kinds of things that we talk into practice.

And that's something that I think, for me, when I'm trying to learn something new, the ability to actually use it in a live setting. It's just, it's so valuable.

Mary Daphne: It really is. And as Greg said, we're able to practice these in our community, which is the real world, right? And so much of our lives we experience and we conduct online, right?

Think about remote work, thinking about all the Zoom calls you do for work. This is no different in that we're communicating live with real people in real world settings , but this is done in a safe space because the people in the community are very kind and nurturing and non-judgmental.

Greg: And they share the same objectives. 

Mary Daphne: Yes. So all very important things. It is a community of practice, and this is a term that's actually, it comes from anthropology and it is this idea that people come together with the goal of getting better at a skill or around a shared passion, right?

So we are able to be a community of practice thanks to people like you in our Advanced English community and Explearning community, and together that makes up Explearning Academy. 

I'd like to also point out something about accountability. Because accountability is something that, people are gonna help hold yourself to the goals that you set for yourself, the things that you wanna achieve, they're gonna hold you accountable for that, even when you are not able to do that.

Greg: Yeah. There's this concept that comes up a lot in motivational literature that essentially says if you tell other people a goal of yours, you're much more likely to accomplish it because even if they're not actually holding you accountable, you feel like they are.

And the truth is, once you tell someone something, they do remember it. Maybe it's sitting in the back of their heads, but they do remember, and from time to time they do check in. So there is a little bit of actual accountability there, and so by telling people what your objectives are it pushes you subconsciously and consciously to actually achieve those objectives.

So definitely it takes that sort of motivation to do something to another level. 

Mary Daphne: I love that because sometimes, we have just enough motivation to get us through maybe one day, but then showing up the next day, we can't find that motivation within ourselves because, sometimes it comes and goes. But having the community motivation to inspire you and hold you to those goals, even if they're not verbally saying so, you think that they are, like Greg said, exactly. It's a good, it's a good thing cuz it helps you find that motivation again within yourself, and then hold yourself accountable for the things that you said you were gonna do. 

Greg: Yeah. 

Mary Daphne: Yeah. 

So let's talk about why you should join our community. You know what our lessons are like. We put out three different lessons across both of our channels and podcast, which is Explearning and Advanced English, so you know the quality that you're getting with the kinds of material we share. And it's really about taking those materials and being able to practice them and to interact with each other because there's so much that we can tap into when we are part of something like a community that is so much bigger than ourselves.

So as Greg said, being able to level up his blockchain skills or his coding skills when he joined a community. 

Greg: Yeah. I mean community is something that's sort of inherent to human nature, right? We've had communities since the earliest days when we lived in caves, we formed groups, we formed even societies.

Society is just a bigger form of community. But I particularly as we enter this digital age where we spend more and more time alone in our offices or on our own screens, we start to lose that sort of closeness to society and to other people. And having a community like this can really help at least in my experience, give you that sense of belonging that, that might be missing. 

Mary Daphne: Absolutely. And what's amazing is that because this is done online, we are able to converse with people from all over the world. Meaning you get to meet people from all over the world. And of course, what unites everyone is their need and desire to level up their social fluency and their communication and social skills in English, because these are a group of professionals, right? And they have jobs in English. They wanna improve themselves, they wanna get better jobs in English, they wanna build lives for themselves in English speaking countries, or in English speaking pockets of community, wherever they might be.

And so it's really about being able to improve yourself, and that's what we do in our community. 

Greg: Yeah. 

Mary Daphne: So we've had some really great discussions , gotten really great feedback on those, people really enjoy them. So I highly recommend that if you say to yourself, this year I'm going to improve my social fluency in English, I'm gonna make friends in English, I'm going to be better at my job because of my increased English skills and my confidence levels, then I would not hesitate. I would join this community, our community external academy, because you're gonna be getting all of the resources and the support from this incredible community. 

Greg: So where do they go? 

Mary Daphne: So you can sign up by going to

So it's just 

You can also just find the link in the description and you'll see Join Community and you'll go straight to it and you can just sign up monthly. You can also do a yearly thing and we are so excited for you to join. 

Greg: Yeah, and I'll just say on a personal note, like this has been the end game for us for years, right?

Since the earliest conception of Explearning.. We always knew we wanted it to be something where we could have a community where you could have members who were, it wasn't just us talking it was the whole community weighing in and enriching, enriching the experience. And it took a while to get to this point, right?

Yes. Building up the content, building up the skills to build something like this. And I have to say, I'm so impressed with you in terms of what you've accomplished and making this as fully featured as it is, right? There's so much in there. I know you've put so much time into it, it's really well thought out.

And all I can say is if I were learning a language and I am learning a language, I'm learning Turkish right now I would love to have something like this because it's just it's so powerful in terms of motivating, in terms of providing the resources and the opportunities to practice that I wouldn't otherwise have.

Mary Daphne: Thank you Greg. That means so much. And of course , I couldn't do any of this without you, so I appreciate all of your support as well, and. Yeah, exactly my thoughts because when I was learning French, I wish I had something like this. I really do. And when I was learning other languages, when I learned Turkish too, I wish I had something like this.

So now it is there for you. Everything is ready for you. And it's just gonna get better and better because like I said at the beginning, communities evolve we grow as people, and Greg and I are lifelong learners, so what you get today is just a part of what you're gonna get when. Or with us for a while.

And the last thing I'll say is, we really appreciate your support and the reason we can keep going with stuff like this is because you show up, because you care, because you share the podcast and the, website with people. And the other way of supporting us is by joining because that way we can keep doing this and, keep creating important materials for you and giving you an opportunity to share your knowledge with the community. So hopefully we'll see you there and Greg and I will see you for another conversation very soon. Thank you so much everyone. See you in the next one.