Stronger Together

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Earlier this month, I was invited to “like” a blogging page on Facebook from a former roommate and two of her friends.  I had been close with this girl for a bit early on in college, but we both drifted away and haven’t had any contact since (no animosity, just life).

When I glanced through the blog prior to hitting the thumbs up (my likes are precious, can’t just give them out like candy), I was surprised by how awesome it was.  The title of the blog is ’30 Day Gals’, and the premise is in their tagline: Inspiring Growth Through 30 Day Challenges.  Their blog has been live since November, and their January challenge is to face their fears; their posts this month have been both entertaining and inspiring.

I am ashamed to admit, however, that I felt a pang of jealousy when I was browsing.  Their blog is so much cooler than mine.  Wow, that’s such an awesome concept-why didn’t I think of that?  They have more followers than me.  This is really good…dammit.  Instead of being excited for them and happy that fellow female bloggers in roughly the same genre of blogging were doing well, I was twinging on the inside with envy.

Obviously, that isn’t cool.  There is more than enough room for more than one person to be successful, and the more people who are putting out positive vibes and demonstrating a growth mindset, the better!

And so, rather than sit here and wallow in those stupid feelings, I figured I’d link all of my readers to them so that they can check it out for themselves–it IS pretty cool, otherwise my initial reaction would have been more smug.

Taking a step back from my pettiness, I wonder what would happen if more people helped elevate their “competition” rather than try to force them down?  Obviously, if this were a business setting, I wouldn’t be telling my customers to go to ‘the other guy’ down the street because he’s so awesome, but when it’s just people sharing their passions, why is it so hard to lend our weight behind someone else who is also doing wonderful things?

As I’ve mentioned before in my blog, I like to listen to Andy Frisella’s podcast off and on.  One thing that he consistently mentions is how truly successful people like to see other people succeed as well.  It’s not about just ONE person winning, it’s about EVERYONE winning.

For some reason, whether it be hidden personal insecurities or jealousy or a lack of confidence in my own abilities, I have always struggled with being happy with other people’s success.  This is not something that I am proud of in the least-I want to be one of those people who cheers the loudest when someone else wins.  I want to be the person who is the first to say a sincere congratulations.  I want to be the person who gets excited by other people’s success because it means that I can be successful, too.

There is absolutely nothing to gain by putting yourself into a box and not allowing anyone else into your space.  All you are accomplishing is blocking your own view into what could be the catalyst for your own success.  If there is anything that my 28 years have taught me, it is that there is nothing that can be achieved 100% on your own.  Even if you are the only one doing the work, there are people there to be your sounding board, or to help you relax when you need to, or to simply provide inspiration for the final push.

So many times we let pride get in the way of our progress.  I remember during my childhood and high school years, I would not like my siblings see one ounce of vulnerability; I was the eldest child and therefore the example, unbreakable, constantly strong, and never needing any sort of emotional support.  While I thought that I was doing them a favor at the time, I was actually doing us both a disservice; it is only when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable that our relationships with one another can blossom into something fruitful.

Since I have made the (slow, still on-going) switch to letting my siblings see my inner weaknesses, mistakes, and honest feelings, I feel much closer to each of them.  There is something so freeing about finally letting people see the real you, no matter what their reaction may be.  Even if they reject you, it is at least a decision made from a place of authenticity.

As John Donne famously said, “No man is an island.”  An island looks pretty and enviable from the outside, but when you get closer you can see the blowing sand and lonely palm tree struggling to cling to the semblance of being picture perfect.  Yet when that one tree finally gives way, there is no other to take its place.

If you have a network, however, you have infinite resources from which to draw when your own reserves are low.  I feel that sometimes, we don’t utilize these resources enough.  Allow yourself the luxury of crying into someone’s shoulder.  Permit yourself to ask those experiencing success for advice and help.  Grant yourself permission to share what you’re really feeling.

All in all, we are stronger when we’re pulling in the same direction; if you try to pull against someone else, you’re really just holding yourself back.  As Jack Johnson so eloquently puts it, “yeah, it’s always better when we’re together.”  There is no glory in being the person who stepped on the most bodies on their way to the top.

Celebrate everyone’s wins.  Share others’ success.  Lend a helping hand even when unasked.  To leave you with one more quote from the beloved classic High School Musical, “we’re all in this together/and it shows/when we stand/hand in hand/make our dreams come true.”

Let’s roll, Wildcats; together!