I live and practice in San Diego, California. There is an incredibly strong military presence in San Diego and I have had the privilege to work with that population. The marine who comes into my office in uniform offers a firm handshake and exudes courage. The retired Master Chief beams with pride as he or she tells old war stories. But there is another group that really blows me away with their strength and fortitude. That would be the military spouse.
Welcome back to the Power Series for My Amelia James, where women are empowered to live a life by design! Today we look at the Power of Community.
Military spouses are a resilient group of men and women who uproot their lives and move all around the country. And what is their reward? It usually comes in the form of being left alone to raise their children while the active duty spouse is deployed.
Deployments leave behind some hurting people. But the military spouse community steps up over and over again to protect their own. It is like watching a herd of elephants circle around their vulnerable calves when faced with a threat. This community takes care of each other. It serves those in need while their spouses serve the country. I’ve learned a few lessons about community from military spouses.
Lesson 1: Accept help as it is offered.
When I reflect on community, I can’t help but think of the late Mr. Rogers who said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
Are you open to receiving help from your community? Or does pride get in your way? One of the deadliest community killers is pride. Pride masquerades as strength. But shutting out your community because you don’t want to appear weak actually stems from weakness. When you are open and vulnerable with your community, you become strong.
Lesson 2: Ask for help.
When help is not immediately offered, ask for it!
Kendra Scott, famous for starting a jewelry business out of her home that has grown into a billion dollar company, says, “the biggest lesson I could ever give any entrepreneur is don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness, it is the greatest sign of strength.”
Lesson 3: Be intentional with your community.
“Community” is actually a pretty broad term. It could be the city or town in which you live. It could be your church, your volunteer group, or your family. It could be your fantasy bachelorette league. It could be your five closest friends. One of the most well-known motivational speakers, Jim Rohn, famously taught that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. While we cannot always choose who makes up our larger communities, we can certainly be intentional with who we spend the majority of our time.
Who are the five people you spend the most time with? Are they mostly optimistic or pessimistic? Are they driven or are they complacent? Do they build people up or tear people down? If you have not already, you are likely to adopt the mindsets of those around you. Attitudes are very contagious.
This does not mean that you have to start shutting people out of your life. But I encourage you to at least be intentional with who spend the majority of your time. One of the best ways to continue down the path towards success is to surround yourself with successful people.
Call to Action:
First off, if you have not already, I highly recommend that you write out the goals that you have for yourself using the SMART Goals format I discuss in a previous post (if you have not read that post, now would be a good time). After you have your list of goals, examine your community. Who seems to be progressing in the same areas that you would like to develop?
If you have goals around fitness and weight loss, who seems to enjoying their workouts and showing results? If your goals are around saving money, who is someone you respect that seems to be managing their finances well. If your goals are around advancing your career, who is the most positive and driven person you know? Spend time with these people. Ask them out to lunch. The paths of personal development and success are not meant to be traveled alone.
Remember, accept help when it is offered, ask for help when it is not, and be intentional with your community. You’ve got this!
Dr. Dan is a licensed psychologist, your biggest cheerleader, and the go-to positivity force behind My Amelia James.