Some recent research has shown that in times of strife, such as 9/11, the number of suicides, people diagnosed with depression and incidents of violence, actually goes down. It drops, when logically you would think it would increase under the pressure everyone is facing.
Why does this happen? What they have found is that acts of terror, war or other life-changing community incidents tend to bring people together to form a united front. It is through that sense of community that the feelings of isolation dissipate and people feel needed and wanted.
Interesting. It was a sense of isolation that spurred me on to start Company of Women over thirteen years ago. I had a successful consulting practice at the time and was working from home. But I missed the camaraderie and conversations with peers.
I also wanted to meet some like-minded women who were on the same path as myself. I was the only one of my friends, at the time, to have her own business and while I was at home, everyone thought I could just down tools and have coffee with them. Er… no. They didn’t get the time and commitment involved in starting a small business.
What I have discovered through Company of Women is that no matter what business you are in, the issues are often the same – finding customers, retaining customers, cash flow, human resources, etc… and yes, those feelings of self-doubt that creep in from time to time.
It therefore makes sense to problem solve together. It makes sense to ‘fess up that all is not as rosy as we’d like it to be, because when we “do vulnerable” we can be surprised at how people rally round to help you, give advice and provide support. And more, that you are not alone.
And what we are doing fits the definition of community- “Self-organized network of people with a common agenda, cause, interest, who collaborate by sharing ideas, information and other resources.”
In other words, we are not just looking out for ourselves, we are invested in learning and helping others succeed and in doing so, it would appear that we are also keeping depression at bay.
It is through authentic, genuine dialogue that we become community. Thank you for being part of mine.