Living or working in a supportive community can be one of the most transforming experiences of your life. Few things can help you go further, accomplish more, or give you more opportunities than community. The key is you have to choose to engage and participate. So, why should you?

I believe a significant part of the change you want to see in your life can be unleashed through the power of community. I have had the opportunity to be a part of both good and bad communities and, most recently, I’ve become a more engaged member of the CrossFit community.

I cannot say enough good things about this community and I’ve learned many positive elements of how participating in strong, positive communities can change your life.

This past Saturday I had the opportunity to be a judge at a local CrossFit competition hosted by the gym to which I belong. We had well over 100 competitors from gyms all over Texas and some from bordering states.

Before the competition began, it was interesting to see people who were about to compete against one another speak about their experiences and their excitement about the competition. You would expect that to change after the competition started, wouldn’t you?

To my amazement, it never did! The greatest example happened during the team finals.

The top 5 teams (1 male, 1 female) started the final workout or WOD (Workout Of the Day) evenly, but you quickly saw a couple of teams jump out to an early lead. One team in particular was moving a blazing pace, that is, until they reached the final exercise of the workout.

The teams had to have the male athlete complete the exercise before the female athlete could begin. So, this team that had been out in front found their male athlete running out of strength and steam at the end. Teams that had trailed this team were finishing the workout and placing ahead of them in the competition.

I expected the other competitors and the spectators to start to lose interest because they had already finished or because their team they supported had finished. No! Instead, everyone in the building surrounded this athlete who was at the end of his physical strength and cheered him on! Teams that they were competing against turned around and started clapping and cheering!

There ceased to be a multitude of small communities and, instead, there existed one big community.

What would your life be like if you lived, worked, or existed in one big community? One that supported you even if they directly competed against you. There are at least 3 ways that your life can change if you make the choice to live in community.

  1. You will be encouraged. Just like the male athlete that ran out of steam at the end of the final workout, you will be cheered on when you’re down, exhausted, or at the end of yourself. The word encourage means “to put courage in”. Courage, like many other attributes, works like a bank using deposits and withdrawals. Wouldn’t it be great to have someone “deposit” courage into you when you most need it?
  2. You will be held accountable. No one who is at the top of their field or successful in life exists without people (aka community) to hold them accountable. It is not comfortable. But, much like working out, the benefits far out weigh the pain. Learning to embrace correction and accountability can be a rocket for your life. It will propel you to heights you never could reach on your own.
  3. You will change someone’s life. This must sound like the opposite of the title of this post. I guarantee you that it is not. As we meet new people, we collide with others’ lives. Much the same way that neurons and electrons collide when circling an atom. Few things have changed my life more than when my life collided with someone else’s and I got to not just witness but take part in their life transforming for the better. Leadership blogger, Joseph Lalonde, recently wrote a blog post on this kind of other-centeredness.

My faith informs my belief that we are created as social beings. My observations tell me that benefits of good community far exceed the potential pain of rejection by that same community. My scars remind me that I did not heal on my own and to keep going.

Question: What community has made the biggest impact on your life? What in your life would be possible if you lived in the kind of community I just described? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section.

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