The Power of Community

Julie, here…

Do you have community?  You know, folks who support you, who’ve got your back, who help you reach your goals?

I am a fan of social media. I really am. It has helped me stay in touch with family and friends, far and wide. I’ve reconnected with old chums. I am part of some very active groups online. I treasure these and don’t wish to change this aspect of my community. But I recently realized that while I was having a rich online life, my face-to-face interactions were lacking.

I tend to go in and out of having in-person community.  Currently I meet with a fabulous group of women from my church for an in-depth Bible study. I’ve been in an nine-year book club with some lovely, wise ladies. And recently, I answered an ad for someone looking for running buddies.

This morning, my new running peeps and I ventured out together. Three of us, but it’s supposed to swell to, like, five next time we run. Though we’d all just met, we had a great time laughing and telling stories and ringing the big bell out in front of our state capitol building (yes, obnoxious at 6:10 a.m., but fun). I came home from our jaunt all aglow and happy. I realized while out on the run, which, incidentally, was faster than I would go by myself, that it was only because of the commitment I’d made that I was even out there in the first place.

We can all benefit from community to support and grow us.

Here are a few reasons community ought to be a key part of all of our lives:

  • Accountability. I wouldn’t have gone on a run this morning without these people. And likely I wouldn’t be sitting down to write this blog if I hadn’t mentioned to someone that I was going to do it today.
  • Bearing one another’s burdens.  It’s no secret that it helps to have the listening ears of a few trusted friends when you’re going through hard times. Not only that, it’s good to have a friend with a pickup truck to help you move!
  • Motivation. This is different from accountability. This is someone(s) who helps you keep your fire burning. Maybe it’s a kick in the arse to get you moving, or maybe it’s a friend who helps you remember your vision and your reasons why you want to accomplish something.
  • New ideas. Your community brings to you a wealth of knowledge and experience, and may be able to stimulate new thinking in you. I’m glad I have such amazing people in my corner. They’re creative and smart, and oftentimes they’re smart in ways I’m not.
  • Reaching goals. When you’ve got a goal growing inside you, it’s hard to accomplish it alone. Sharing, brainstorming, commiserating or celebrating… all of these help keep us on the path toward our desires.
  • Longer life.
  • This article from Harvard Medical School reports that strengthening relationships contributes to longevity. But you don’t need Harvard to tell you that. We know intuitively that we need each other.

You are the kind of person who has ideas in your head, a fire in your soul, and ideas of how you can make your life – or your world – better. Whether it’s overcoming a health obstacle, planning an event in your town, starting a new business, or volunteering across the world, creating community can help you reach your goals, fulfill your purpose, and live out your passions.

“The need for connection and community is primal,

as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food.”

~ Dean Ornish

What can you do this week to gather a circle of people around you?




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