1+1=3: The Power of Community

Several years ago, I heard a business parable that I realized today is applicable in our little corner of the blogosphere. (That’d be the weight loss/fitness community, in case you clicked on the wrong link and have no idea where you are.) I’ll share it in the way I remember it, which

Once upon a time, some folks in a small Canadian town apparently had nothing better to do so they decided to have an ox pull, a contest to see who had the strongest ox. To spice things up (as if the ox pull alone wasn’t enough fun), they placed wagers on their favorites. The winning ox pulled an astonishing 10,000 pounds! The runner-up was only slightly behind him.

With that excitement out of the way, speculation turned to how much combined weight these two oxen could pull if they were harnessed together. Some bets were for lower weights: 15,000 pounds to 18,000 pounds, but some folks thought the oxen could pull double their original results and bet 20,000 pounds.

When harnessed together and pulling in tandem, the two oxen pulled a total of 25,000 pounds! Even my math-deficient brain can figure out that that’s more weight than they pulled working alone.

You see where this parallel is going, don’t you? Yes, my friends, we are the oxen. (And I apologize profusely for that, but I couldn’t recall a daintier parable.) Together, we are stronger than if we were all off in our separate little worlds, working alone. We has synergy!

syn·er·gy (sn. pl. syn·er·gies
The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.

I don’t know about you, but for me that describes the blog community experience perfectly, illustrating that, despite the traditional rules of math, 1 +1 can equal 3. Or more, for that matter. When people come together to share their talents, skills, abilities, and resources, oftentimes more is accomplished than would be by people working alone.

But some of you know this already. Through interactions on your blogs and within the community, you’ve seen the benefits of being part of something that is bigger than your individual effort. We share information and ideas, celebrate successes, commiserate through the..er, un-successes, and keep “the team” moving forward. Our results aren’t measured by the scale or the tape measure, but in the shared effort and the strength of our numbers.

I’m making you all suffer through this waaaay-too-long missive for two reasons:
1) It may encourage new readers from you-know-where to join the crowd. (All the truly cool people are here.) You’ll be amazed at the support you get, and in exchange, you get the excitement of cheering others on to their own victories, large and small. Two resources for starting a blog: How to Start a Blog (WordPress) or How to Set Up a Blog (Blogger). There are other platforms, but those are the two I know. Alternatively, you can use a site likeSparkPeople, which has a blogging function as well as hundreds (thousands?) of communities to search for kindred spirits. I used SparkPeople for my first six months of blogging, and I give that F-R-E-E tool lots of credit in getting me off to a great start.

2) I also hope to remind reluctant bloggers who are taking a hiatus because they’re struggling and don’t want to report their…un-successes for fear that we will think badly of them that that is precisely why we are here: to support you and encourage you to continue moving toward your goals. I doubt there are any of us who have been “on-plan”, whatever our individual plans might be, 100% of the time. Okay, maybe two people and we don’t really like them that much. My point is that we all struggle, but there’s power in sticking together and working it out. Honestly, it helps US as much as it helps YOU. (I’m sure I’m not the only one.)

Should anyone actually still be reading this post, I’m hoping you’ll share how blogging through the good times, and the un-good times, has made a difference in your progress. What’s your favorite part of blogging? Other than being compared to an ox, that is.

You know, one of my new goals is to write shorter posts. Starting Monday, of course. :) Right now, I can’t leave without mentioning a new online community for…tennis players! Straight from the PR packet:

Juump (www.juump.com) is an online tennis community helping people find courts and players right in their neighborhood. Juump solves the biggest problem…players cannot find compatible people to play with in their vicinity. With Juump, you can FIND players and groups who play at your favorite courts, MEET players with similar skill levels, interests and schedules, and PLAY more tennis.

Pretty cool, huh? It’s also F-R-E-E! (I get a little tingle every time I type that.) I played tennis at one point in time, and I might just give it another try.

But I’m NOT wearing one of those little skirts.

18 thoughts on “1+1=3: The Power of Community

  1. It really is a community. Virtual friends with whom you can share your successes (clothes fitting, pounds melting off, miles jogged) and slip-ups (my own chocolate fiasco this past week ). I also like reading their posts and learning things, getting inspired, offering sympathy or suggestions when they face trials and tribulations, and just feeling like a part of the community. Cammy’s got it right.

  2. Pingback: 1+1=3: The Power of Community « Tennis Community

  3. I’m not sure which was more important, the support and encouragement I got when I was stressed out and struggling or the support and cheers I get now that I’m (finally) making progress. It is amazing how much power one little comment can have. It can even get someone to start throwing weights around 😉 Who knew?

  4. What I really enjoy, besides the sense of community, is seeing other people offer encouragement and sometimes a “kick in the pants”. It really shows how much people care about people they don’t know IRL.

  5. Blogging is a fascinating circle of give and take and paying forward. Without the weight-loss blogs that came before my weight loss and after, I’d not be where I am today. They were and still are my source of inspiration.

  6. Living this right now and my blogging community is giving me some wonderful support…including you. Thanks!

    I am going on vacation, tonight I am going to yoga and tomorrow I am going to my volunteer job.

  7. I agree that there are a lot of reasons for joining the community of bloggers that non-bloggers and non-readers of blogs don’t know about. I tell my sisters stories as if I am talking about friends I know from around town – and then explain they are my bloggy friends!

    The biggest plus is how much I learn from other people, from their experiences and lives. I love the recipes and product suggestions and work out tips and encouragement and just the whole experience of interacting with wonderful people with shared interests and varied approaches and backgrounds!

  8. Loved this post! :) very true how our efforts can be multiplied together plus think of all the great ideas and suggestions we get from each other? It’s endless the support this community has.

  9. Cammy, I said I would write shorter posts too & sometimes I do it & other times, not so much. 😉

    My fav part of blogging, just reading the commetns & “meeting” all the great people out there. Writing it is hard for me. It does not come easy to me like others that have a way with words.

    Hey, I saw a news story on ABC about cardio tennis! Looked pretty cool!

  10. Blogging definitely helped me to lose the weight to enjoy my son’s summer baseball season. For the past couple of months, no doing so well on the weight, but posting, reading other blogs, commenting, and reading comments has definitely kept me more positive about my life in general. And, when ever my mojo wants to kick back in, I know I’ll be ready because I have the power of oxen.

  11. Excuse me, that’s “not doing so well”.

    Not doing so well at proofreading.

  12. Awesome post Cammy!

    This is exactly what I came to realize after having started and stopped with previous attempts to get my life back on track over the past couple years. I got to the point where I said to myself “I can’t do this alone, I’m going to need support from others, even fellow weight loss enthusiasts who know the struggles!” and so I finally took the plunge and created my site to help myself, and to hopefully help others down the road. Sorta like what you’re doing for everyone now, Cammy! :)

    Anyways, it’s been a real help to me having that as a motivational tool, because people ARE watching and reading… and I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m a competitive guy :P. I don’t like losing! Last thing I want people to see is me losing to my battle with weight, and my site is holding me accountable to that!

    Anyways, I concur with ya Cammy – everyone should Blog, or create their own site because it is an awesome tool :). Great post!

  13. You said it so well that I tried that little “tweet this” button for the first time ever! I have written about this before – the community is what makes this all worthwhile:) And you are a big part of that awesome group. Thank you.

    I admit that I worry when I see a blogger has taken a hiatus for unknown reasons. I worry about them and I also worry that maybe they are taking a break when they could use the most support.

  14. “Connectedness” (and I don’t mean the electronic methods) is how people, and especially women grow best. Blogging and other online experiences have helped me connect with others in ways I could have never imagined. Great post!

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