Going back into the city this morning after yesterday’s earthquake in New York, I asked myself a question: Although the tremors were quite brief, in times of sudden possible crisis and chaos, what helped me feel a little bit better?
I thought about that question as I got on the bus today at 6:45am for my usual commute to the city. My mind began to wander but as I entered the building where I work, coffee and bagel in hand, I came to realize the answer. And that is: to know that I wasn’t the only one experiencing it. Knowing someone else was feeling, seeing and experiencing something similar made me feel better. That’s why all these people got outside and just stopped. And why Facebook was the first place most people checked after the tremor. They didn’t want to feel alone.
As life becomes more uncertain, increasingly complex and less predictable, I feel better knowing that I’m not alone. That someone’s got my back.
Remember what it was like growing up with your brother or sister and knowing them so deeply and going through the ups and downs with them? And how they covered up for you when you did something wrong? Remember how you worked together to get something you wanted from your parents? It was great!
Remember when you had friends, a group of 3 or 4 you were with all the time? Couldn’t go anywhere without them. Good times and bad, they were always around and always had your back.
Remember the team you were a part of at work? They made you feel great. Everyone had a certain role and they knew what it was. No ambiguity. You all worked your tail off and nailed that project! I remember being part of team like that. In particular a colleague in Italy who became one of my best friends. We worked hard…really hard but had a blast doing it. We spent days and nights working but it didn’t seem like work because we had fun and I knew he had my back and he knew I had his.
Remember the sports team you were on? It wasn’t perfect but everyone carried their own weight and you could count on most of them in times of pressure. Everything seemed to flow even though you had no idea of how things were going to turn out.
Those times were just as uncertain as the times we are in now. Every game, presentation, pitch, project or life challenge we all went through never had a guarantee of a positive outcome. No game was predictable. No sale was secure. But we all got through it knowing that we were not alone. That we had a teammate, a colleague, a friend, a brother, a sister or a mate–who had our back. It felt good.
Having a deep social bond with someone does wonders to boost our confidence. Sometimes it helps us feel like we can take on the world. And while they may not tell us that each and every day, it helps to know that someone is there in case we need them. Someone who gets us and genuinely cares about our success and has faith in our abilities.
Whether we’re trying to solve a business problem, going through a job crisis or an Earthquake, it’s great to have someone who’s got your back.