Together is Better Than Alone

running budsAfter months of hearing my friend Maria tell me about her running group, I finally got up early one Saturday morning to meet the group for a run.

Leaving my house before six a.m., I asked myself: Who does this?

When I pulled into the parking lot for the meet-up, several cars idled there and when I got out of my van, I stepped into a circle of six or seven women.

Although meeting them for the first time, they seemed familiar. They looked like me: tired (maybe), determined, committed.

Who does this?

"We do," I thought. "We do this."

Moments later, we took off in a steady jog through a still dark morning. As the miles passed, the sun rose, lighting the sky gradually, as dark faded to light.

We are stronger together.

Whether you want to run a marathon (which I did last month, supported by my new running friends), start a business, or become a better leader, you will be more effective if you have a group of like-minded friends to support you.

Being part of a group provides unshakable accountability. When you commit to others who want to live and lead the way you do, you are inviting them to help you be the person you're aspiring to be. Friends in a group can nudge you gently back when you fall away, just as you encourage others when they struggle.

Being part of a group creates a new normal. Is getting up at 5 am to run before dawn normal? Is being a no-excuses leader normal? Is generosity normal? Joining with others community gives us a chance to create new definitions and norms. These new norms can propel us to become better versions of ourselves.

Being part of a group introduces new resources and ideas. My running friends have experiences and knowledge that I don't, and they share their ideas and thoughts with me. I ran my marathon much more successfully because I followed their advice to pace myself carefully. I met my coach, Susan Mazza, in this group (Lead Change).

Being part of a group allows us to make a bigger impact in the world. If I am trying to do something alone, I can have some effect. When I join with others, I can make a much bigger difference. When I started my business in early 2012, I was the only one working. I soon discovered I needed help. Now that I work with a team of 20+, we can get a lot more done. This group is a great example of a community you can join if you want to make a bigger difference in the world. One voice talking about the importance of character based leadership can be easily drowned out by the noise. When we raise our voices together, we will be heard.

If you ever feel like you are standing alone, you are not. When you are facing a challenge, or conquering a fear, or facing a new day with courage and integrity, though you may be physically alone, as part of this community you are not ever alone. The answer to the question "Who does this?" is always, resoundingly, "We do."

We do this.