I recently had the same message, about being a part of a group, coming to me from various sources. When that happens, I take notice, and see if I can apply it to my life. I heard this point in a podcast interview with Peter Bane. He said, “By taking care of our larger ‘selves’—our families, our neighborhoods, our communities, the ecosystems around us—we take care of ourselves, of our personal needs: we ensure that they’ll be met over the long cycle.” The the same message came to me with a good analogy on a Youtube video. I don’t remember the fine details, but I remember the gist of it. It made the point that when you are a part of a group, you must put aside your own personal good in order to contribute to the good of the group as a whole.
How and When to put the Group’s Needs above Your Own
Imagine a young children’s soccer team. They are expending a lot of energy, and have busy families. So for the good of the group, the coach and parents decide that each family will take turns supplying snacks for the whole team. Imagine you are one of these parents and it’s your turn to bring a snack. You will have to invest some of your own money and time to purchase and prepare the snack.
It’s been a long, arduous day. You just want to go home and relax. But you still need to slice the oranges. And you open the door only to find that the dog made a mess of the house while alone. (Imagine whatever mess you want. [It should be stinky.]) You only have enough time to either clean up the mess (let’s just say there’s trash strewn about [it doesn’t have to be grosser than that]) or to prepare oranges. Your kid has to finish his/her homework and get dressed out. Nobody else is there to help. You notice some unpaid bills now shredded and mixed with the trash! You have to put aside your own needs at that time, so that you can prepare and supply the snack, for the good of the group. They rely on you to do so.
Stronger Group = More Support for You and Your Family
You don’t have to permanently put all your time, efforts and money into the team. But it does take commitment and sacrifice to be a part of a group. The more members who recognize this, and who commit and sacrifice, and follow through when their people are counting on them (despite their own wants and needs at the time), the stronger the group will be. The stronger an organization is, the more it is able to be a benefit to each and every member and their family.
Our dojo is such a group. We rely on each and every member to commit, contribute and support the whole.
By Jenifer Tull-Gauger