Saturday, March 12, 2011

Group Power!

The power of the group never ceases to amaze me. The happy, joyous faces pictured here caught my attention after my long run today. Children, of course, are great emotional-vanes; that is, that they are very honest in the way they feel. What you see is what you get. If they're unhappy they'll let you know it, if they're gleeful, they show that too. Then they grow up and the adult masks slip on and cover what's really going deep inside. Still, we humans like any other animals prefer to group. Some in small groups such as lovers or in marriage and others in larger groups like religious or political communities. There's power in groups; there's energy too, generated when shared passion, desire, creativity and electricity all come together. This is why I joined a running group.

It's bleak in Chicago during the winter months and having the motivation to lace-up and get out the door has been a big challenge for me. Especially, when the wind speeds are in access of twenty-five miles per hour. I have several races coming up and I am under trained and under motivated. The Internet combined with a confluence of shared needs and passion, we found each other: The South Loop Running Club ands it's energetic, kind and passionate founder, Allen Patin. The power of group demonstrated itself from the start, when on a very cold and windy Saturday morning a handful of runners got together to attain one simple goal: run. The group was eclectic, varying shapes, sizes, and levels of experience. Some ran slow, some fast, and others combined walking and running. But there were tow constants: the desire to run and the welfare of the group.

Knowing that there is a group of like-minded people that are friendly, committed and generous, that I can tap into on a weekly basis has provided huge benefits. A long time ago I identified with the character Alvy Singer in Woody Allen's Annie Hall said,"I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member." But I was wrong, I think I'm a good group member and the quality, energy and personality of any group is determined by the individuals who make up the group. So, if you're looking for motivation to learn something, to attain a goal or just to get out from under your blanket, consider checking out a group with similar interests. It's very powerful.
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