They say you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. So, it’s always a good idea to stop and notice the people around you. This month, as we celebrate love and friendship with Valentine’s Day, it’s a great time to open the door a little wider on your friendships. Expand. Invite. SHARE.
We all tend to focus our efforts at the beginning of the year on eating well and exercise, but it’s also a great time to join a group or to create a new one. Studies show that being part of a group is incredibly important for your health – at least as good as (if not more than) quitting smoking or exercise! Belonging to a group increases not only that sense of social connected-ness, but also your mental health at large. There’s just something about shared purpose and meaning that enhances our lives.
If you’re looking for something new to sink your teeth into this year…a new challenge…a new project…a new purpose, I want to SHARE a little story with you.
In late 2014, a neighbor reached out to me to see if I would be interested in sharing a story about another neighbor who was going to be participating in a marathon to celebrate 25 years of being cancer free. How could I resist? That sounded like a great story! Little did I know, it would change the course of my life.
When I got on the phone to interview Mark Adelman and hear his story and learn about Team in Training and how they raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and how this organization impacted his life over 25 years ago as a young adult diagnosed with lymphoma…I was really moved and inspired. I sat down that afternoon to write an article with the intention of inspiring all of you reading to jump in and participate. To form a team and to take on a marathon as a community.
I myself had never run more than 2 or 3 miles. I had always been fascinated by the idea of a marathon. I couldn’t even begin to wrap my head around what running 26.2 miles really meant. It just didn’t compute for me. It seemed absolutely impossible. And yet, you see people do it every day – people of all ages, shapes, sizes, nationalities, backgrounds. I was always curious about why people run marathons and how!
Funny thing happened while writing that article that was meant for all of you readers.
When I finished, I asked myself…WHAT ABOUT YOU?
- Why are you telling everyone else to do this?
- Why aren’t you doing it yourself?
Moments later, I logged onto the Team in Training website and signed up. I committed to running the 2015 San Diego Rock n Roll Full Marathon and raising $1800 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
And then, I freaked out. What had I done?
To make a long story short, I started showing up for the trainings. I felt so out of place. No idea what I was doing. But, I did what the coaches said. Followed my training schedule. And, ran my first marathon in under five hours. But, that was just the beginning.
A year later, I did it again. This time with several friends – including my husband TK (who had never run more than 2 miles and, in fact, avoided it at all costs). Never in my life did I think TK would get into it. Yet, there we were in 2016 running the full marathon side-by-side. We even renewed our marriage vows at an impromptu ceremony on mile 25 because it was our 25th Anniversary (Did you see us on the news?). Since then, we’ve run another marathon and a few half marathons. Running has become a fun activity for us to do together. Who would’ve thought? At 50, you’d think we’d be golfing or something. But, for us, it’s all about those long runs.
More importantly, we opened a completely new circle of friends. We’ve probably each added about a 100 friends to our circle. Dozens of which have become significant, close relationships. I shared on the cover that joining a group is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. Science shows it to be as beneficial as quitting smoking or as exercising. Better yet, if you can join a group that is centered around something healthy – like running, biking, swimming, hiking, eating healthy, cooking.
Joining a group will not only give you the immediate benefit of social connected-ness, but it just might absolutely change the way you spend your time. It might open up a new interest you never knew you had. Or a talent that you didn’t know was there. Or a cause that wasn’t even on your radar. Or a purpose that just might ignite that passion you’ve been looking for in your life.
If you’re looking for something more in your life, but you just can’t seem to find it – I’m telling you – join a group. And, if participating in some sort of event sparks an interest – I’d love to SHARE more about my experience with Team in Training. We just kicked off our summer training program for the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon (and half marathon) and the America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride in Tahoe. You can choose your event, get world class training, and be part of a group that just might connect you to that thing you’re looking for in your life.
Maybe there’s another event you have your eye on in Chicago, Boston, New York, Mt Everest, a National Park? Team in Training can get you on a path to get there surrounded by like-minded new friends and supporters. Shoot me an email to chat about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, not only Team in Training. There are PLENTY of groups to get involved in here in the community. I’m happy to connect you to any of that as well.
This month, I encourage you to take stock of the relationships in your life. Do you feel connected? Is there a shared sense of purpose? Are you having an impact on the world together in some way? If not, now is the time. Jump into something new. Find your tribe. Roll up your sleeves. And, enjoy the ride!