As a child, I was extremely active and just didn’t gain weight. I was a junior in high school before I weighed 100 pounds. My friends affectionately called me E-bone and I was one of the finalists in the senior class mock elections for “class slim”. My entire family was small like me. Maintaining a healthy weight was not an issue. Maintaining health in general was pretty easy. If you’d asked me then, I would have said it was just a natural thing. We just happened to be small people. I just happened to be naturally super active. My mom just happened to love to cook healthy meals. While I never set aside time to work out, we were always active just based on the interest of my family. Little did I know there was something else at play.
But then life happened – I got married, had two kids, locked into an incredible career where I was sedentary for most of the day. One day I looked up and realized I was no longer healthy, not just because of the weight I’d put on, but because of the things the weight caused…certain health levels not being controlled, not liking how I looked in my clothes, and longing to be active and eat healthy, but not knowing how to get back there with the life changes I’d experienced. I was taking two pills every day to maintain different levels that were out of control. I wanted to do something about it, but I had never learned what it meant to focus on being healthy, or so I thought. At least I didn’t think I had. I tried a few things and they never really worked out. But then I was convinced to buy a Peloton and fell in love with it.
When I thought about it, I realized I’d reconnected to a part of me that I’d ignored for a long time. The part of me that absolutely loved physical activity. More than that, I realized I’d reconnected with the part of me that loved community. I was now a part of a community of like-minded, positive, encouraging individuals with the same focus as me. I found myself making sure I got that little blue dot for the day, working harder to get badges, and looking forward to getting balloons during my century ride. I’d talked about the desire to run a marathon for years, but now I was actually training to ride 50 miles. What had happened?
I will tell you what happened. Community happened. When you want to do something in your life, you can definitely do anything you put your mind to, but community encourages, community holds you accountable, community celebrates victories, community understands the struggles, community can warn you of the pitfalls, community can provide you resources, community loves your journey, community is on the journey with you! No matter what you set out to do, find a community doing similar things.
As a child my community was my family and that is what kept me healthy, we all were so it was easier. As an adult I have found that every success I have had was with a community of likeminded individuals somewhere in the picture. As you set out to accomplish things on your career journey, you need a community to lean on, a support system, a community to encourage you to get your daily blue dot (the dot you get on the peloton calendar when you work out), a community to celebrate your successes and support you through your struggles. A community to hold you accountable. A community that understands without you ever having to speak the words. Never underestimate the power of community. Even if it is virtual, even if you don’t know anyone in the community in the beginning, find a community of support and lean into it.
Dr. Ebony Stone