Monday, March 21, 2011

Guest Post: The Power of Team

Our first guest blogger this week is Emma who blogs at Emmasota and I originally met her through her blogoir Divorced by for 30 which she is currently turning into a book.   She is one of those friendships that has been born directly from blogging.  The community I have found through this blog is so important to me and I am so glad Emma is a part of it!
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The Power of Team

As spring is right around the corner, I'm feeling nostalgic for the excitement of a new track and field season. Growing up, track was a huge part of my life, and I went on to serve as a college track coach for five years before switching careers in 2005. As both an athlete and a coach, what I loved most about track was being part of a team. In general, I'm a fairly independent person. In fact, I like doing projects on my own, and I have no qualms about sitting home on a Saturday night. But I still love the interchange of energy that happens on a team. As I get older and my priorities shift—as they inevitably do when juggling parenthood, career, and personal interests—it's essential that I continue to be a part of teams that can help me build the kind of life I want for myself.

When I needed some structure to help me finish the book that I've been working on since November 2009, I put a call out on my blog for people interested in starting a Twin Cities writing group. I didn't want it to be complicated—just a once-a-month gathering to share our work and provide feedback. Mostly, I was looking for some structure to provide interim deadlines for myself. Our dear Luther Liz, who I'd met through the Minnesota blogging scene, was one of three women to answer my call. The four of us have met three times now, and it's helped me immensely to know that I'm not alone in this often isolating task. Not only have I received thoughtful critique of my work, but I've had fun getting to know the other women better.

Now, I know that there's a danger in over-committing, so I'm not suggesting that we all run out and join ten new clubs. In fact, to fit the writing group into my already hectic life, I chose to step down from a non-profit committee I'd served on for three years. That had been a great team experience, too, but it was no longer fulfilling me the way it once had. When I reflected on what kind of support I needed, I knew that a community of writers would help me slog through the messy work of writing a full-length book—a daunting task, to be sure. So, my question for you is: Are you on the right team(s) to help you build the kind of life you want for yourself?

If you're not sure, here are a few ideas:
* Playgroup or ECFE class to share notes with other parents
* Cooking co-op to prepare and freeze meals together
* Volunteer League (my group of friends meets once a month to do family-friendly volunteer projects)
* Workout group (walking, running, swimming, yoga—you name it)
* Athletic team (my husband likes to play volleyball; I know people who have had fun with kickball)
* Book club
* Childcare exchange
* Bible study or other spiritual group (meditation, etc.)
* Support group for a physical or mental health issue

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I Want to Know:

* What teams—formal or informal—currently help you build the kind of life you want for yourself?
* If you had unlimited free time, what kind of team(s) would you like to join or start?

2 comments:

Lana D said...

I love this post! I've never thought of my support groups as "teams" though and that's an interesting way to look at it.

For myself, I know I would not have survived the past year without the love and support of my AA and Al-Anon groups. If nothing else, the knowledge that I am NOT alone in my struggles with my own addictions and my husband's addictions has done MUCH to sustain me.

If I had the time (and the energy) I would LOVE to start a local support group for spouses and families of inmates.

jimbassman said...

To me, the ultimate team is a music organization. As a rule the individual can't succeed in a music group if the others don't do their part, whether it's a large band or orchestra or a 3 piece power trio. I've rarely been part of a formal athletic team, but have been on a number of music teams. They helped me stay disciplined and focused and have improved me in many ways.