“If you look at your inner circle and you’re not inspired, then you don’t have a circle, you have a cage” -Anonymous on Community
As I write this post, I’m about halfway through the 75 Hard, which is a mental toughness challenge for 75 days straight. Everyday I do two 45 minute workouts (much of the time it’s just walking, everyone calm down!), drink 1 gallon of water, read 10 pages of a personal development book, take a progress picture, and adhere to a diet that includes no alcohol (I chose intermittent fasting). Completing this challenge has been on my bucket list for a while because it completely intimidates me. I imagined I would be so proud of myself if I could actually do it. So when I was writing my goals for 2021, completing the 75 Hard was at the top of the list.
I spent the first quarter of 2021 “training” for it. I figured if I could get used to drinking the water, and do at least 1 workout a day, it wouldn’t be such a shock to the system when I officially started the challenge. I set my start date for Monday April 19th, the Monday after returning from an epic vacation. And then I did one last thing that didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but it’s the only reason I’ve made it this far: I called in reinforcements. I let my Facebook friends know that I was doing this, and I invited them to join me.
I ended up with a group of 4 people who I check in with every day over a video app called Marco Polo. On the days that I just don’t feel like doing another work out, I think about the time that Heather got home at 11pm from a trip and still did her second workout even when she was tired. Or how Lynn had a really painful ear infection, and she still managed to stick with it. Or how Autumn has 3 kids, and she’s a nurse with changing work hours, and has rental properties that she manages. Everyday, we all share resources that are helping us, and often reflect on things we are learning about ourselves and what we are getting out of this challenge. This group inspires me to no end, and they’ve added a richness to this experience in ways that I wouldn’t be able to do on my own.
Community matters… a lot actually. There is an easy sense of comradery that builds between people headed towards a common goal that can make the whole journey feel so much lighter and more fun. Finding a community with common goals can also help form a sense of identity, which makes it easier to generate the focus and build the habits you need to reach those goals. For example, if you want to run a marathon, it would benefit you to identify as a runner, not someone who is “trying” to run. You will get up in the morning and run, because that’s just what runners do… and because your training group is waiting for you downstairs so you better giddy up. Surround yourself with the right people to hold you accountable, do the hard work beside you, celebrate your wins with you, and soften the blows of your losses.
The idea of community is powerful for any type of goal, even for financial goals. This is a big reason why I identify as part of the FIRE movement (financial independence, retire early) which is a lifestyle movement with the goal of financial freedom. Since I started reading various blogs on the topic and going to different meetups and events, I noticed over time that my entire circle of influence are now people who are pursuing financial independence. All of my closest friends today are either financially independent or well on their way. While money tends to be a taboo topic that many people are uncomfortable discussing, there is an openness and transparency in the FIRE movement that can be really eye opening. As I scroll through my social media feeds, most of what I see are people discussing topics surrounding personal finance, sharing tips, asking for advice, or celebrating milestones. I find myself surrounded by people doing incredible things with their finances and this has really helped me expand my understanding of what’s possible. While my finances are still my responsibility, I can’t help but wonder sometimes if they’ve improved somewhat from osmosis!
The power of community is a big reason why I created The EconoMe Conference which is an event rooted in the FIRE movement. We have incredible main stage speakers that guide us in questioning our assumptions about happiness, freedom, and prosperity through the lens of personal finance. But we also have many breakout sessions that are designed to facilitate discussions between attendees that can be the start of beautiful friendships. You’ve already optimized your phone expenses with Republic Wireless, but there is so much more you could be doing on your path to financial independence. If you’re interested in joining us for the next EconoMe Conference this coming November 13th and 14th at The University of Cincinnati, use code REPUBLIC (all caps) for a 10% discount on your ticket. And you can grab your tickets here!
Republic Wireless also believes in the power of community. The Republic Member Community serves Republic Wireless members who share an interest in enjoying technology affordably. It is the best place to find the latest Republic news, get to know other members, and learn or share new tips on using technology