September 26, 2018 0 I wish I could tell you what I’m launching in a month. (I can’t…not just yet.) But I can tell you that it involves the power of groups, of tribes, of like-minded people gathered together. And part of me hates that because … Like 2/3 of the people in a recent Wharton study, I’m an ambivert. That means I answer yes to questions like: I can perform tasks alone or in a group. I don’t have much preference either way. Social settings don’t make me uncomfortable, but I tire of being around people too much. Being the center of attention is fun for me, but I don’t like it to last. … And so forth. In other words, I really enjoy the group vibe and other times (sometimes / most times), the only person I really want to talk to is my chocolate lab, Belle (who is always very impressed with my achievements.) Even so… I’ve recently come to deeply appreciate the wisdom of the African proverb (NPR reveals origin unknown but quoted by Senator Cory Booker and retweeted by Lady Gaga, so you know it’s got to have some juice): “If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.” Earlier this year, I wrote about my frustration at dealing with a college friend’s addiction and got a ton of responses (thank you). To recap, I learned and tried to practice the idea that when it comes to saving people, sometimes you’ve got to be the coast guard, and sometimes you’ve got to be a lighthouse. When the stakes are this high, I prefer the dramatic, rescue at sea approach, even though this quote by Anne Lamott always rings so true: “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” Last month, however, I experienced the best of both worlds, when we staged an intervention (in Las Vegas of all places), one that somehow got my friend into (increasingly desperately needed) rehab. I learned so much from this intense experience, but one thing stands out: there was something uniquely powerful about having a chorus of voices. Rather than an individual, soul-searching exchange, however heart-to-heart (or perhaps more accurately, sober-brain to tequila-soaked brain), hearing the repetition of stories and themes, produced an overwhelmingly symphonic effect. And as the person who led the intervention, my research did indeed liken that role to that of a conductor, something I truly understood as I had to reign a few overly-emotional narratives in and draw others across the finish line. And…miraculously…it worked! Where all of us individually had failed (repeatedly, even disastrously, and for YEARS), together, in just over an hour, we succeeded. Of course, I know the power of like-minded groups; I still teach a handful of yoga classes every week where the vibe of community speaks volumes. But this experience brought it all home for me regarding my (soon to be revealed) next offering. There just is so much power and focus when the right people gather together, that it’s truly exponential. Finally, I’m reminded of the great Mary Oliver poem THE JOURNEY, where she examines the opposite phenomenon, how much the “bad advice” can hold us back from having the life we want. THE JOURNEY One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice — though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. “Mend my life!” each voice cried. But you didn’t stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones. But little by little, as you left their voice behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do — determined to save the only life that you could save. Perhaps you, too, are at that point where you’re tired of listening to the bad advice about mending your life, and want to reconnect with the voice you slowly recognize as your own. I know I am. And perhaps you also realize that the only life you can save, doesn’t (and maybe even can’t) be saved by yourself alone. Last week taught me that so clearly. That’s why I’m so excited by what I’m working on and will reveal next month. Please stay tuned.