The Unity Puzzle


I’ve had to learn, not everyone cares about unity.

Unity is powerful. We have all participated in, or witnessed groups of people coming together, accomplishing remarkable tasks that could ONLY be completed with a team.

We have raised money for the sick, fed the poor, and helped our community thrive in ways that were only possible through working with a group.

I’m perplexed as to why someone wouldn’t want unity.

Granted, healthy competition can be an incredible gift for inspiration and motivation.

However, competitors shouldn’t take from another party to accomplish their goal. Instead, they should challenge them by doing it better, so we can all mutually benefit.

I’ve had several people approach me to partner their ideas and goals, who are in direct competition with Electric City Life, The Loft, etc. These conversations are not always easy, and can be very humbling. However, it is much more productive than not having a meeting, which can result in division and/or strife, that will only negatively affect business. Often times, brilliant ideas are birthed from these dialogues.

Transparency and engagement are vital to fostering unity and community. Being open helps everyone grow and it reminds us to stay respectful, even if we ultimately choose not to be friends or do business together. For example, look at the periodic “Let’s Talk! …with the Mayor” events that take place in order to keep the lines of communication open in our town.

“There have been many people who try to bring division to my businesses, and to our family, but I know our strength is in our unity,” Buddy Nelms (owner of The Loft, MaBella’s, etc.).

I can’t help but wonder: What causes people to choose divisiveness over cooperation? Do these people not like one of the members in the group? Do they have their own agenda? Do they want credit? Maybe the leader isn’t any good. Maybe they think they can do it better. Maybe they are unaware.

The questions above come to mind when I see division.

When I see four local, elected officials suing our Mayor, taking time out of our leader’s schedules to deal with litigation, and using our tax money (over $1 million so far) for it (ironically it is over the city’s budgeting process)…

When I see only one black person present at a strategic city planning meeting in Columbus, Georgia, a predominately minority city…

When I see that I’m often the only woman invited to a business meeting…

These local observations are a conundrum I’ve yet to piece together for the sake of the unity puzzle. It will certainly help solve these issues if we have a united focus for the overall betterment of our city.

We, as a society, have been branded with the eroticism of individuality, yet we are gaining more comprehension of the various communities we belong to, (where we work, live and play together) and how vital community is to healthy growth in our city and personal well-being.

In a culture where selfies and self-propaganda are glorified, we feel the backlash of over self-analyzing and ruminating, which can cause isolation, depression, and sickness. 

“A community, like an individual, is a living organism, whose health is a result of a complex web of factors and events, some of which it consciously controls, and some of which it doesn’t. Like a truly healthy human body, a truly healthy community is one in which all systems function as they should, and work together to make the community function well… For a community, health is, to a large extent, the result of all citizens getting what they need, not only to survive, but to flourish,” Work Group for Community Health at The University of Kansas.

The shift away from suburban sprawland into downtowns and walkable communities speaks for the growing realization that we need community. The growth of co-ops and makers space confirms the need for connection in business and community.

We cannot even spell community without unity; it is the foundation of the word, and on several points, may be used interchangeably.

If we truly want more diversity in Columbus, unity will facilitate it.

We all have strengths, room for improvement, and things we can offer. Community ownership results from community participation in its development and implementation.

Maybe the concept of unity and healthy community hasn’t been on your radar. Maybe you haven’t realized sharing every negative article you find on our city, with no solutions, is causing division.

I looked at the three most shared articles on The Ledger-Enquirer’s Facebook page yesterday, and they were about stabbing, abuse, and murder. We wonder why we don’t have more good news coming out of our city. Look at our focus: division.

There will always be disagreements and differing opinions, but if we have a unified concentration of growing our city to its full potential, rather than emphasizing our differences, we will be able to accomplish what no other generation has before us.

Living a community-oriented lifestyle can be arduous– it breeds more responsibility and accountability. However, it can yield the most results if we submit to it. I’m not talking about a blind submission, but rather adopting a purpose and focus of growing a healthy city that we can ALL enjoy.

When we need someone, something, or somewhere to go, community gives us a tribe to call on, and that is empowering!  That’s what community and unity do: they literally promote courage by encouraging and empowering YOU.

Your network is your net worth,” Porter Gale (internationally known public speaker, entrepreneur, marketing executive, and writer).


Fortunately, we are sensing the time to shift into more unity-driven events and causes. For example, Art of Yoga, River Flow Yoga & Wellness, and The Up Factory are celebrating unity, and collecting donations to help Nepal Earthquake Relief! (It will be all day Sunday, June 21st, at Barefoot in the Park!)

How impactful is it that competing businesses are coming together for our community AND raising funds for the desperately, dire Nepali?

Recently, our community has come together for two incredible, unifying events by Revival on The River -Unity Night at The Phenix City Amphitheater (read more here) and the second Prayer for Peace Rally, recently hosted by The Mayor at the Columbus Civic Center.

After experiencing these types of events, the feeling of connectedness to our community leaves us inspired that we are in this together and we can do something to help it’s growth.

What are you doing for the Columbus, GA area to help build it? Are you tearing Columbus down with division or building it up with unity?

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  • […] Let’s Talk! … with the Mayor is Thursday (9/17) 6:00-7:30 PM at St. Luke Ministry Center (301 11th Street). Do you have a complaint or concern? Ask questions and discuss your concerns with Mayor Teresa , other elected officials, city department heads and public safety representatives. Everyone is invited and this helps unity among our community, read more here. […]

By Jacy