At Vitality, we love celebrating our members’ successes. How can we not? Sometimes we ask members to share their victories, and other times the stories trickle in via our many interactions with our clients and members. At first, these success stories made us feel great about helping people improve their health. In time, we came to realize that we weren’t the only ones who found these success stories powerful and motivating.
If you work in tech and operating systems, you probably know about Linux, and that means you have probably heard the term “ubuntu.” In that world, Ubuntu is a specific version of Linux, but that’s not where the word came from. Ubuntu comes from the Nguni of southern Africa. It means “humanity to others” and is meant to express the feeling that “we are what we are because of who we all are.”
Another way to put it is that people are people only through other people, and that it’s precisely our interactions with each other that produce our humanity. To us, this is why sharing can have such power. Hearing the story of another person, even if you do not know them, immediately gives us “all the feels,” as the kids say these days. Those stories, of success or sadness, can help us feel connected on superficial and deep levels.
At Vitality we immediately see the motivating effect of member stories on others, especially on Facebook and Instagram where those posts erupt with likes, shares, and comments. It’s hard not to feel moved when you see the amazing personal stories our members share with us! And it’s not just about likes and shares—sharing stories can help us improve our sense of self and in turn have a positive impact on our well-being. And in kids, creating stories and acting them out helps them better understand themselves and their world. Sharing can be a way to affirm our own beliefs and values and help us connect with people in our lives.
Our plea to Vitality members everywhere is to continue to share your victories but also your failures. It can be hard to admit defeat and to tell others about it, but we’re pretty sure you will get only support in return. And you’ll likely find connection, which is something we can all use a lot more of in our lives.
With a PhD in Exercise Physiology, Jonathan Dugas spends his days thinking about how we can help more people be more active. With four Ironman finishes and 13 marathons and counting, he’ll see you out on the road.