Despite lives that span three centuries, these two guys and I share a belief that transcends time, space, and (yes) even communication platforms.
Community, be it visible or not, transforms you.
I discovered it this morning, half awake, clinging to my coffee cup, the universal shrine of Mondays. Savoring the 5 a.m. silence, I opened a new book and (of all things) began reading its Forward, contributed by Studs himself:
Once you join others, even though at first your mission fails, you become a different person. A stronger person.
You feel that you really count; you discover your strength as an individual because you have, along the way, discovered others share in what you believe.
You are not alone; and thus a COMMUNITY is formed.”
Terkel was paraphrasing Albert Einstein in This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women
The Serendipitous Epiphany
It turns out that the Aha prompting me to start this post wasn’t the Real Aha.
The Real Aha — the Epiphany — is both very personal and very public. Those 55-words — borrowed from Studs Terkel and on loan from Albert Einstein — sum up my life’s journey in the last year.
Thinking 2010 was the kick-off to marketing significance, I hadn’t factored in the impact of ignoring my health and a life-changing crisis in my extended family. My vision of success dimmed in the glare of developments far greater and intensely more humbling.
But in the midst of that change, I’d become part of a group. I belonged. I shared something. The people inside of that group taught me more about myself than I could have learned in solitude. The stress, the deadlines, the drive to change were glue for the team; but more importantly those elements were the foundation of friendships.
Failure: the Real Aha?
Although I grew from my failures; I changed because of community. I grew stronger thanks to the people within the invisible community we built together. I owe a lot to the people who know the significance of candy, laughter, sticky notes, and words.thisibelieve.org to fully appreciate the book, the project, and the 90,000+ stories submitted thus far.