I wasn’t sure he was going to make it. He was an elderly man attempting to complete today’s 5k race. His face and body were drained by the course, further impacted by the high heat and oppressive humidity. Many who had gathered on the side of the course began to shout words of encouragement as he fought his way to the finish line. He managed to share a little smile as he made the final turn on his way finishing the race.

There is a real sense of community surrounding organized road racing. Hundreds of people, from kids to grandparents, with hours of training mostly in solitude come together and turn 3.1 miles into more of a celebration of the common bond they all share. One defining characteristic of this community is it’s support and encouragement of each other.

At the finish line of most races it is quite common for many of the early finishers to circle back and line the course to cheer on those who’ve yet to cross the finish line. Shout-outs of  “you can do this!” or “you’re almost there!” are directed towards those still running from those on the sidelines. Most of these people don’t know each other but it really doesn’t matter. They share that common bond as members of the same community.

I’m a big fan of encouragement. It’s something we all need yet it’s so often something we never receive. A kind word or a friendly reminder of your belief in another person can have immeasurable benefits for the recipient. Unlike a race where you can see the physical exhaustion on the face of a fatigued runner, many people go through life fighting their own silent internal battles. They may be masters of disguising their pain but just because it isn’t seen doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

We all share the common bond as members of the community know as humanity. Within this community is a great need for the expression of support and encouragement of each other.

And for ourselves as well.

Look around your world today. Can you find the opportunities where you can offer a couple of words of encouragement to a family member, a friend, a co-worker or a complete stranger?

Or perhaps even yourself?

It’s a great day to be you!

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