As much as we are taught to be independent, think for ourselves, do for ourselves, be ourselves it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t encourage and implore the idea of collaboration within our lives. If there is one thing in life I know, it is that no one gets anywhere alone. Community is a key factor in creating a full and purposeful life. Without it, it’s nearly impossible to cover the necessary ground to move forward.
As the NYC marathon approaches this weekend I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this concept. The idea of utilizing the energy and force of others to help you tackle a goal or event. You might wonder what running a marathon has to do with all of that but the idea is actually very simple. It starts with the training. Typically, if you set out to accomplish the distance of 26.2 miles you are probably going to enlist the help of a few people to help you do it. Perhaps a coach, a nutritionist, and maybe a friend or two who run or train at high intensity levels. Maybe even taking it so far as to joining a group with like-minded people whom you can share miles with. Training for a marathon means a lot of time and energy on the road, literally pounding the pavement for hours at a time. Alone it can be seen as pretty isolating, boring and difficult. But, a group environment has the ability to quickly transform the experience into something much more enjoyable. Dare I even say something that you actually look forward to doing?
When I first started running in the city my goal was to do something I liked while receiving the added benefit to staying healthy and in shape. 3- 4 mile solo runs at the gym or occasionally on the streets were my jam. I wasn't really looking to do anything more. Then one day while shopping, I came across a running group and decided to try it out. Honestly, as with most new things, I was nervous. I hadn’t run in a group environment since college, which was easily 10 years prior. And I wasn’t exactly sure just how my physically fitness levels would fare. Despite the hesitation, I showed up and before I knew it I was on the road to running a half marathon. Starting out with 3- 4 miles that quickly turned into 5, 6, 8, 10 and so on. My confidence was boosted, I felt fully supported and knew that whatever I set my mind to I could accomplish. I couldn’t have known it at the time but the group training was designed to not let me fail. Eventually working my way up to a full marathon that same year.
It wasn’t until after my race in Philly that I really started to break down the whole concept of group training and recognize the benefits it had offered my life in full. I was learning, building, working off of others, growing, becoming stronger, and ultimately becoming better. I now know without a doubt I wouldn’t be the runner I am today, with the ability to cover so much ground, if it had not been for the collaborative effort of a group helping me to get there. Sure, I still venture out on solo runs, often times to completely clear my mind and let go, but there’s something about running in a group or with a partner that fuels me in a way unlike any other.
In addition to the miles covered, the group work also provided me the space to strengthen many of my core values and allowed me to pick up some powerful new habits along the way. Things such as accountability, leadership, courage, empowerment, listening, perseverance, responsibility, clarity, testing my limits, harnessing new ideas, seeing things in different ways, cultivating fresh perspectives, challenging my mindset, etc. Ideas and ways of life that I now carry with me in all aspects, on and off the road.
It’s a wonder what coming together really does for the actions you are looking to take but more importantly for your life as a whole. It is because of this experience I am now certain that in relation to everything we do, we are Better Together.
So whether it’s 26.2 miles, a new idea at work, or your new side hustle I challenge you to utilize the resources that those around you and your environment provide. From energy to information, we rise together.
The idea that no matter what level you have arrived to, there is always something more to learn and someone who can teach you. With this open mindset, the opportunity to cover uncharted ground has no limits.
Break out of the habit that just because we are adults we’re supposed to know everything. News Flash: We Don’t! So don’t be afraid to share with others what you are learning, what you are doing, and most importantly what you need help with. Make the conscious efforts to form open lines of communication with your closest networks.
Start a group.
Join a group.
Foster community efforts that give space for your goals to live and thrive. You never know where or with whom your ideas may land, and how that experience can advance you and someone else toward living your best lives.
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” - Henry Ford