I’m a living testimony of the far-reaching influence of a positive community on members’ lives. And when I say a ‘positive community’ I mean it literally. You know, in my part of the world, there are all sorts of communities with different goals and objectives. Some structured, some unstructured; but not all of them can discuss their activities in the open.

Well, I have benefited immensely from both a physical community and a virtual one. I mean online community by saying virtual.

Let me start with my online community. As a Second Language Teacher of English, I used to have some challenges, especially in the aspect of teaching spoken English and pronunciation. Then I joined this online community and really enjoyed the supports of many native speaker teacher of English. Instead of seeing me as a competitor, they saw me as a collaborator and a partner in progress. With time, the anxiety I usually had whenever I had to teach pronunciation gave way to confidence and self-assurance. Today, I’m a teacher trainer on spoken English and pronunciation. This online community of teachers of English has fantastically transformed my life.

Besides direct professional support, I have also enjoyed some benefits that effectively rid my life of lots of distractions and subsequently translated into blessings for my career. In fact, there are lots of these but I’ll mention just one.

As a parent, I was finding it increasingly tough to keep up with the demands of raising a family as my workplace got more and more competitive. At a point, I thought combining both was basically impossible. But discussions with my online community members showed me how far from the truth I was. I got precious information that came handy for me.  I mean just about every piece of information from managing difficult children to safety-friendly clothing, down to the new Disney socks with gripping bottoms that secure the feet and prevent falls. And much more.

Now my physical community. This community has also helped, and is still helping, me handle matters more tactically to the extent that I feel like the old communal living of the extended family is back.

Let me go this way. At least there is little doubt that in today’s world, one thing that has intertwined with our lives so intimately is our careers. Most of us practically live for our careers pursuing the most coveted positions and trying to outstrip all our competitors. My neighbours have helped me a lot in achieving my career goals.

I remember that the safety of my children used to be a major source of anxiety and distraction for me, especially when I was at work and they had to leave school before I clocked out. But I have neighbours who volunteered to attend to look after them until I was back from work. This simple gesture of love has a huge effect on my performance at work as I can concentrate better knowing that the children are in safe hands.

Also, as a low-income earner living in a community with mostly high-income earners, I come to realise the strength of community spirit in promoting collaboration and unity. For more than two years, I went to work mostly in neighbours’ cars without paying a dime. Instead of having to trek some ankle-racking distance to the nearest bus stop, random neighbours gave me lifts. I don’t need to tell you this assistance gave my career a boost.

So I have come to this conclusion: Though our path to greatness is seemingly adorned with obstacles and hurdles, these hindrances are mostly either self-inflicted or imaginary, or both. Because they all emanated from the different communities we belong to. And that is an irony, judging by the treasures held by these communities. The people we make enemies could in reality be resourceful to us.

All we need is a buoyant community spirit!