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155 The Power of Community

by Claudine Sweeney
November 16th 2022

We are created to belong, to be part of community. With community comes strength, wisdom, motivation, encouragement and accountability. We can do so much more when we belong to a group of like-mind... More

you're listening to the Rise up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids. We have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the Rise up and Shine podcast. Welcome back listeners! Today, I'm gonna start us off with a quote from Helen Keller. It says alone, we can do so little together, we can do so much. And today we are talking about the power of community. Ashley and I are both strong believers in community, were both part of the same community, that's how we met and we have seen the power of it in our own personal lives. So we thought we would dress it today and talk about the power and the all the benefits that come from belonging to a community.

Oh gosh, yeah. Yes, Claudine, I'm so grateful you're in my community. Yes. Especially being the older wiser one in my life, I'm just, I have really benefited so much from having women in my life, especially I didn't see the need for it as much until I became a mom. Um a wife. You know, when I became a wife, we were young, we, he was my friend, he was part of my community, right? But then especially when you have Children then you're you're kinda, you can feel like you're on this island, you know, my husband doesn't fully understand or I'm going through hardships or maybe it's causing conflict in my marriage. And so he's a little less of my community because he, you know, like maybe we're at odds and feeling just worn out, but I really understood how much I need my village, you know, they say it takes a village, right? And it wasn't just for my Children, which is kind of what I thought going into motherhood, but then I realized like I need it for me, I needed to be Ashley once in a while, right?

Not just wife, not just mom, not just homemaker caretaker, whatever your role is. Um, but having our village, our community is so important to be able to live our best life. We can't possibly, I truly believe we cannot live our best life alone. We need each other and God created us to be with other human beings, to support each other, to encourage each other and you know, to really live our life to the full Yeah, absolutely. You know, and you and I met at our bigger community, which is our church, which is in itself, a community rights, a community of like minded people that are gathered together to worship God. And that's where we first met about eight years ago and so in that we had that connection that we were committed to our faith, we are committed to one another relationships and you're right, that was always God's intention for us, that we would be in groups, that we would be in community that were not meant to do life alone, um that connecting as part of a meaning meaningful community is important for our spiritual and mental well being.

And some studies have even shown it to lead to physical illness and sleep disorders if we are lonely or isolated, right? And we, we just went through that the last few years with the pandemic, it was a difficult time. You know, we had to get creative in being parts of community. A lot of communities, micro communities were created online, but you're right, it's so important. I remember when I was a young mom, I had two small Children and we were young, so we didn't have any other friends that had Children and it was a very lonely time. I didn't have anyone to share my day to day mom ng struggles with at the time. So it was great when we did finally find our church community and there were women my age that had Children my age and I got the support that I needed and I, I believe that there are various levels to community, right? I remember being church is a phenomenal one, especially like to be honest, I feel um, Just being a part of our church for 20 plus years, I feel like that's the one place I can be my true self and feel loved and accepted and appreciated and so that's really helped me over the years, especially going through difficult times.

But even just with our community, I just looking back like God created us. We have this need, right? This innate need to connect like you said. And when we go through various challenges, especially the pandemic, you know, just the last couple of years and whether it's challenges in our marriage, if we're not aware of our own tendencies, then we, we might lose out on the benefits of community because it took me years to realize how much I needed my village, how much I needed connection because sometimes I would think, well I have so much going on in my life. I just, I can't write. I mean I have to be able to take care of everything in my life that's kind of in my immediate um presence, right? Like my Children, my husband, my house, my, you know our jobs, maybe our pet and all our responsibilities, We keep giving, giving, giving and serving, serving, serving. And what happens is we tend to be last. But then on top of that our village, right?

We kind of take ourselves out of our village maybe even unintentionally. I know I do unintentionally. Oh I'm just so busy. Right? I talked with many other friends as well and women who are just like, well, Gosh, I just don't really have time. I'm running from one one thing to the other, especially when you have kids that are in activities as you have four kids and you're running from one thing to another is hard enough for my husband and I to have some time alone, which is he and I let alone just me being able to go meet a friend for coffee or um you know, get together with a friend or even talk on the phone or something. It's like, gosh, there's so many other things that feel more uh important and more of a priority. But as I lived that way for years, I realized that it was a detriment to my well being because I wasn't giving myself the time to fill my cup, right? I think with our village, it's in our community, it's a chance for us to step out of all those roles and just be me to connect with other women who understand.

So we don't feel like what we're going through, we're nobody understands because that's a lie, you know, and we've talked about that in previous episodes that nobody understands what I'm going through um is one of the biggest lies we believe, but once we speak openly and share vulnerably with our village and understand that other people are going through the same thing. I think that honestly, I feel like that's why that me too movement just popped right out. He became so huge because as soon as someone started speaking up, it's like, me too, me too and I remember feeling like going through my bouts of depression and anxiety when I finally just kinda got brave or I should say, and started sharing with my closest trusted friends and them saying Me too, I've experienced that I know what you're going through. It was just this aha moment as well as this freeing moment because it wasn't all on me and I have other women in my life that can walk with me through these challenges rather than me and my nature withdraw and you know, kind of retreat to my own shell, quote unquote and it keeps me in that space longer and we do that.

We women do that. We don't give ourselves um we don't put our community at top priority and we really need to because we can show up so much better for our families at work, whatever our roles are, when we are connected with that community. Absolutely. You mentioned something interesting talking about vulnerability, I think sometimes that's a really hard thing for women. It's hard and for everyone, but it's hard to, especially if you're going into a new community community, finding a new community to be vulnerable. That's a really hard thing. And for some people, well, it's just easier to keep that all within right, not being vulnerable, not wanting to be hurt, not wanting to be misunderstood or rejected. We have so many feelings, this need to belong is on, you know, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, it's right there in the middle, it's important And yet being vulnerable is a thing that can help us draw closer to others. But it's one of the things I think it's hard. I know for me 20s, it was super hard to be vulnerable.

It was easier to keep the outside looking good or easier than sharing what was on the inside. You know, that was that was difficult. I didn't want to share because I didn't want to be rejected or judged. But yet once I learned to do that, it's it's exactly like you said, once I learned to share my vulnerably what I was really thinking or going through the challenges I face. It was so interesting how many other women share the same thing like, oh, I've been through that or I am going through that. Or if they weren't then then down the road, it was gonna be their turn and then I would be there to help them in their time of need. Yeah, I really got a lot of support in the beginning, but to turn around and give it back. And that's another the power of communities, the opportunity to give back to others. So we receive so much. But it also gives us a space, a place to give back to others and serve from within. Oh, absolutely. And I mean it even says that in the bible, right? Like we who are comforted can in turn comfort others.

And so it's so important because if we don't, like I just remember telling myself just actually just open your mouth, just say something like, you know, don't don't feel bad about just sharing where you're really at emotionally mentally whatever is going on. Um and I, I just remember how hard it was and for me, especially those people pleasers or codependent nature like me. Yeah, I didn't, I had the fear of rejection or judgment, but I also had the fear of burdening others. So I felt like I need to show up for others and I can't show up with my with my problems because I don't want to burden someone else who might be going through a struggle. And so that that's where I kept myself at bay, right? Just kind of distant a little bit because I didn't, I didn't want to put my issues on someone else and make them feel burdened. And that goes way back to childhood, right?

That is not a fact. And we've talked about that throughout our podcast many times that so many of our beliefs are just just a thought that we bought into you, that that is driving us. And it very well may not be factual and so based on our experiences that dictates how we will show up or how how connected we we will allow ourselves to be to our community. And that's why, you know, with those beliefs in our head, we have to be aware of what those beliefs are and challenge them. We have to challenge, like, hey, is this really benefiting me? Is this helping me? Uh hell is this helping me get support? Is this, is this what's best for me? Is this really true? Even like, I don't feel like it's a burden at all when I have a woman or a friend sharing something, their challenges with me, I never I think it is burden. But somehow, I think in my mind that I will be a burden to someone else, right?

Like that's not that's not community. If we have a very supportive community and village, that's not the case. So we just have to challenge those beliefs when they come up. Absolutely, yeah. We we pointed out a few of the few of the things that hold us back from really being engaged and involved in community, it's so powerful. You know, you obviously God wanted us to be in community and that was his heart behind the church. And it's interesting one another is said 59 times in the new testament, and that's a lot, like one another, one another one another over and over and over. And I think about that passage in Hebrews 10 24 it says, let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works and let us not neglect our meeting together as some people do, but encourage one another. And I love that, and that's what a really healthy community looks like and we're talking about the church community that you and I are part of but there's all kinds like last year I was part of a business community, it was a uh kind of a high end business mastermind and it was so great to come together.

There were 24 of us that were like minded, we all had the same goal, right? We're all trying to build our businesses and there was so much power in that because people were in different levels of where they were at in their individual businesses. And I speaking of kind of how you were about being the burden, I was kind of the newbie, like I I don't know how I got in, But they let me in and I was kind of a newbie. There were a couple of us, there were like three or four of us newbies and the other 20 were like well into their multi six figure, you know, business is heading towards seven figures. The power of it to be in a group where people were sharing vulnerably and honestly and authentically they were sharing their struggles, they were sharing their wins and it was so great to be a part of that. It really was motivating. It really helped me understand that I wasn't the only one that struggle that had challenges and mishaps like, you know, I shared with you in a couple of people know if you get my monday minute, you know, two weeks ago, my whole website, my email crashed. I had technological issues right?

And it was so big and I didn't know how to fix them. But yet there are people that are further ahead than me that have their businesses that struggled with the same thing. It's not like it's just me and that's one of the power of communities. We know we're not alone. Like whatever. We go through the struggles and challenges. It's not just us. Like other people have gone it are going through it or will go through it one even thinking about social media. Social media has been a great tool to connect us, but more on a surface level, right to keep us um like in the No, I that's how I think about it. So like with my family, I love to see the pictures and the day to day things that they're doing that's not creating a deep vulnerable community though, right? I'm not bashing social media. I love it. I love checking in and saying, oh, what so and so up to or you know, kind of scrolling through my feet, but it is not the only source of community. And so that's something that's really important because also what it can do, especially like for myself it has done, it can breed um like competition.

So it can breed insecurity like, oh my gosh, look what they're doing. I'm not doing good enough. I'm not pretty enough. I'm not clean enough. My kids aren't clean enough. I mean whatever. So we have to be very careful. But also yes, it is a way to connect, but it should not be our only source because our village, our community, we need to be connected by heart and soul and be able to share deeply and it takes time to build that trust. It takes time to find the people that don't judge me and that support me and can understand where I'm coming from and also challenge me and speak the truth and love. You know, if I'm being selfish or if I'm being too hard on my kids or if I'm asking my husband too much or whatever it may be like I need those people in my life that can see that and help challenge me. Hey, actually maybe if you try being a little like this or you know, how is this working out? Like I notice you did this or you know, and from a trusted source, a trusted friend then that's the village that we should be creating, that's the community that we should be creating.

You know, and even like you said with your business community that helped you. I mean just even seeing and interacting and talking with people who are a little bit ahead of the building their business, right? They make a little bit more money then you might be making right now, but still seeing that, wow, they're human, they're they've gone through the things that I'm struggling with and have they given up, they would not be where they are, right? And so to have those people that are a few steps ahead and be like, you got this, you got this kind of at the, you know, I don't wanna say finish line, but kind of on the other side, like I got to keep coming, just I know it's hard, I know just keep coming. You got this like, that is just so healing. I mean it's healing, it's comforting is that's what's gonna help us in life, right? And help us be our best. But Claudine, as you mentioned, you are part of a business group. I also know that you've created your own community with so why don't you share with our listeners? I am launching in january.

So you're hearing this in november, you can get on the waitlist at Claudine Sweeney dot com forward slash the Courage Club and we'll have it in the show notes as well. But this is a group, a commune for emptiness. Moms moms whose Children have now flown the Coop or about two and this is a new area and it can be very lonely. This can be a very lonely time, it can be a time of now. What, right? If you've spent 2030 years raising Children and had a full household and like you talked about the business and you know always so much going on and all of a sudden that comes to a stop and if your Children were your career can be a very empty time. So I've started a group will will start in january, there will be weekly coaching, it'll be a time to get together, support each other, motivate each other. I'll have lessons, micro lessons and just to be able to go after each goals and support and believe in each other. There'll be accountability, motivation, all the good stuff that we need.

I know I needed it, it wasn't there for me when my youngest flew the coop 10 years ago, he's now my baby's 28 which is hard to believe probably state. No. Yeah, he left at 18. Yeah for a bit we had the little birds flying back in and out of the mess but for the most part it's been a while and there wasn't I didn't have that and again my kids were older than most of my friends so they were still in the throes of it where I was kind of by myself and I've always worked part time that um I never had a full time career outside the home so it became a very lonely time for me. But yeah, I mean we we shared some of the power of community like the borrowed motivation and the support, right and accountability, like you were talking about accountability is a huge one. I've been part of a different mastermind about five years ago and I wrote a book because I was part of that because I knew I was gonna see him every other week and I didn't want to come in and say I didn't write anything, I did nothing. I'm telling you accountability works wonders for me. I don't like back to a meeting and saying, yeah I did nothing.

You know, that motivates me. But there's you know, just the wisdom, the power of other people's wisdom in the group thing to be able to lean on other people's strengths and skill set and talents that they have because I don't have it all, you don't have it all. But as we are in groups with others, we can lean on those strengths and glean wisdom from them. And I love that. I love that. Oh absolutely. My husband and I right now even are getting a lot more input from our community, you know, separately individually and also together as a couple just with parenting, our kids, our preteen right there, preteen stage. And so there's activities, there's they're up later, it leaves very little to no time for my husband to like I said, just be alone. So we're we're recognizing that like gosh this is this is a tough time, like how do we, how how does he and I stay connected during this stage of our life, right?

And how do we stay on the same page with parenting as our kids are getting older and so, and as we recognize this, we're like, we're going to, to the people in our community, hey, I know so and so went through this, let's talk with them, let's get their input. Hey, I know this person or this couple went through this, let's talk with them and so you know when you have this community, it's, it's beautiful because when we know friends or people who have gone ahead of us and experience, hey, what did you learn or what, what were the challenges you experienced? You know what is something, even just being a sounding board, a prayer partner, even if they don't have the best advice like, hey, this is what we did and it worked great if they're even going through it at the same time, you can be prayer partners and just you know, like talk with each other and support each other through it. But I mean my marriage, my parenting would not be what it is today, if I did not have that community, I know this for many women, especially you as women that we talk with, but we highly value community in our village and it does take being courageous, which I love the title of your, your group or your community that you built because it does take courage to step out and join a community, if you're starting from scratch if you are new to the group maybe you know some people, maybe you're just not ready to share personally yet.

You will, I mean once you step in you're like, oh my gosh, this is my people, it's a great safe. Yeah, exactly, it's safe. And even like you said with accountability sometimes for me, accountability can feel like a new negative thing, like I'm gonna be judged, I'm gonna be ridiculed or you know, told like, oh you should be here now, How come you're not here now? But the accountability is actually, it goes both ways. It's just someone who cares who's just going to ask, how is it going? That's it. Like someone's going to ask me how it's going and that's coming from a place of love, it's not coming from a place of judgment. So if we can have that mindset, it will really help to be part of a community like your coaching group and get all the beds that are offered from just being in this community, from your coaching and your wisdom, all the things that you've learned um as you became a coach and just have your own Children and marriage and all that an empty nest, you know, it's highly, highly valuable.

So I am not there at empty nester yet. Not yet, not yet. I mean it's coming, it'll be a blink of an eye but I do know the value of you know that that community yeah, it's so important to me. I stay in community. Many obviously are my big church community but little micro communities and the business deal things that are centered around my goals and my dreams and my desires. So what we have talked a lot today about the power of community, um I think the challenge is to have the courage to be vulnerable to to be open and to join one because it's so important. Um we don't really have practical because practical is go find a community and go join a community. That's the practical. But there's so, so many benefits. We were created to be with others. We absolutely were. So, so that's our tidbit for the week is find a community for you. There's so much power in it and until next time Take care.

Alright, everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the rise up and Shine podcast. If you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button. So you never miss an episode and while you're at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today if you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at Claudine Sweeney dot com and Ashley at Mind over chaos dot com. Our links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life.

155 The Power of Community
155 The Power of Community
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