Ep 39 – Finding Strength in Numbers with Blayne Smith of Team Red, White and Blue
Our guest on Episode 39 of Life in Focus is Blayne Smith, Executive Director of Team Red, White and Blue (TRWB). TRWB is a organization that aims to enrich the lives of veterans by building connections and community through physical and social activities. They bring together veterans, military personnel and civilians and all benefit from these deeper social bonds.
The interview with Blaine was eye opening. For one, he pointed out that military culture is one of community and deep connections, whereas the civilian world seems much less connected in recent times.
Episode 40 explores the importance of community and human relations. We talk about the need for strong communities from the perspective of helping veterans, but also from a universal Human perspective. We also discuss the process that Blayne went through as he shifted from his career in finance to being executive director of Team Red, White and Blue, and he very wisely reminds us that the changes we fear most (new careers, divorces, relocations…) are never as insurmountable as we think.
Findings other, finding yourself and having the courage to be yourself; this episode is all about human connections, fears and taking action.
- The quality of personal relationship is a huge factor in perceived life satisfaction – how good are your connections? Do you have close and meaningful bonds with at least one or two other individuals.
- Fear, again, is one of the big reason we hold back from connecting with others. Are you aware of the thoughts that cross your mind in social situations? Can you change them?
- There is nothing like sweat to bring people together – build a community around working out!
- This is the article I reference in the interview.
- Although we tend to label, segregate and separate ourselves across a variety of lines, we are far more alike than we are different. Try connecting with someone else along those values and experiences first.
- “Lack of genuine empathy is the root of most of our social challenges in America and throughout the world. It is very, very hard to use slurs, to use aggressive language, or to be oblivious, or rude, or anything to somebody if you’ve sat down and talked to them for 20 minutes, and heard their side of things.”
- Talking about life in general – you can’t define yourself through your 20-year-old self’s ideal.
- We think of big life changes (like starting over) as being so insurmountable, of being so difficult to overcome. The reality is that they are all survivable, and we will come out on the other side of them just fine; so take action.
- “Life is just a mirror, what you put out is what you will see.”
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“Enrichment is defined as creating quality relationships and experiences that contribute to life satisfaction and overall wellbeing. The concept of enrichment consists of three core components—health, people, and purpose—that define a rich life.
Enrichment Equation: Enrichment = Health + People + Purpose
People: Creating authentic connections (defined as genuine, quality, supportive relationships that generate mutual trust and accountability), reflected in an increased number of close relationships and improvements in teammates’ sense of belonging, purpose, and community engagement.
Health: Creating frequent opportunities for team members to connect through fitness, sports, and recreation to improve physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
Purpose: Engaging members in meaningful team and community-based experiences such as leadership and service that, beyond physical and social activities, renew self-identity and purpose in life.