Finding Community: How My Thing Became Our Thing

I have heard community described any number of ways, but one my favorite descriptions is “Being part of a community means being a part of something greater than you. It’s about sharing, growing and opening up to who you are and what you believe in”*. I believe our lives are filled with many different communities and they all have the power to impact who we are and what we do.

Friday nights are for going out and celebrating another week of hard work. After all we have Saturday morning to sleep in and relax, so why not? It’s our reward, we earned it and deserve it. The truth is, I’ve never been able to sleep in late, not even in college. I would drive my roommates crazy knocking on their doors at 8 am ready to start my day and looking for someone to join me in an activity or adventure.

Somewhere between post-college and mid-career, I gained a new perspective on this “reward” time. I now look forward to Friday nights because that’s my night of the week to go to bed early because Saturday mornings are my earliest wake-up of the week, often starting before 5 am. I used to think that the Saturday morning sacrifice was simply to get in a run while my children were still sleeping, but I’ve come to recognize that it is much more than that. I’ve found my community on Saturday mornings.

No doubt, I feel good about clocking some mileage before tackling the rest of my day, but more so, I look forward to spending time with my running friends. I no longer consider running to be My thing, it is Our thing, something greater than us individually.

We give each other our undivided attention for upwards of two hours. No phones, no emails to distract us. Sometimes we run in periods of silence allowing our bodies and minds to wake up to the strenuous activity we have just inflicted upon them. Other times we can’t wait to share a story about our week or hear about someone else’s race, trip, event, or even personal challenge. We have grown and continue to grow through our support for one another both in our athletic endeavors and in our personal lives.

This sense of community has been an underpinning for Morton Brown Family Wealth, so much so that it was the first thing we committed to on paper when designing our firm. Even before we had a name selected, we had a Vision Statement: To build a community of clients and professionals leading purposeful lives through the stewardship of wealth. I share or reflect upon that vision statement often.  I am humbled and encouraged to bear witness to our community growing and to be invited to step into the growing communities around us.

Recently, I was invited to share the story of our firm and my own professional journey in an interview with Michael Kitces on his Financial Advisor Success podcast. As one of the most influential voices in finance, I have been a fan of Michael’s podcasts and blogs for years. I have even had the pleasure of meeting him a few times at conferences and events. Michael has built a strong following by connecting people and creating a platform to share ideas about best practices and the impact of the changing environment around us.

I was thrilled when he reached out to ask my perspective as an experienced business owner and female advisor in a predominately male industry. I have learned so much from guests before me and from other podcasts and writings. This was an opportunity to share what I have learned and how we have applied it uniquely to our business. It is my hope that others might find a nugget of value or new idea to implement. Being able to open up and contribute back into this community to support others in their growth path is a joyous honor.

Our lives are filled with different and often overlapping communities. What are your valued communities and what do you learn from them? If you have a story you would like to share, I would love to hear it at kbrown@mortonbrownfw.com.

* http://www.silentjourney.com/blog/community-what-does-it-mean-to-you/