I need connection. When I sat down to do a written exercise about influence the other day, I realized that for 90% of my day the oldest person I talk to is 15! It was in that moment I realized there was a problem. If I’m the sum total of the five people I spend most of my time with, I’m not drawing from a large pool of experience and expertise!
Several years ago I read a book called How To Lead Circle. I am not sure where I found it or why I read it, but the idea has stuck with me. I recognize that I need women in my life who make me a better version of myself. I was once told you need at least three people: one who is going through the same stage of life as you, one who has already been through your stage in life, and one you can mentor. When my big girls were little, I saw the need for friends my same age/stage in life. We could give each other advice and have someone to complain to with no judgment.
When the littles came along, I recognized the need to have mom friends with big kids and little kids. But it turns out I also needed someone older and wise I could lean on. At church, my friend and I proposed a women’s group where we could have moms of all ages and stages meet and learn. The pastor found a leader and for a few years it went well. We met once a month and participated in variety of activities. Sometimes we preped freezer meals, or learned a new skill. Other times we took the kids to the park to play, or just had a lesson at the church. Slowly members stopped coming until it was me and my friend back where we had started — needing more people in our villiage to help us.
With my second marriage on the rocks, I didn’t immediately notice my lack of ladies. I was in survival mode and so focused on things at home and the kids. I’m not sure when I lost myself, but after it became apparent that divoice was going to happen, I realized I had been wandering in a dark place for a long time. I was isolated and not sure how to break out of my survival habits into a thriving lifestyle.
In a recent training class I took to help me become an IEP Coach, the leader recommended the book Start With Your People by Brian Dixon. Chapter 8 is all about the need to have a group to hold you accountable and help you grow. The same week I read the book, I also stumbled on my old Circle book while cleaning a desk drawer. My deal is to not let God tell me something three times, so I decided it was time. I was going to start a group!
Making a Circle
As I read Brian’s book, people’s names kept coming to mind. I made a list in the margins. This is where I started. I texted each one of them and explaind I was starting a monthly group of influencers and wanted them to be a part of it. Scary part done!
Can I tell you how surprised I was with how many told me they weren’t influencers? My response was, “You influence me by ________. I need to be able to learn more from you! Please think about joining!” I had a few say they would love to come if we could do a virtual meet up. I thought about it for a hot minute, but I am craving face-to-face contact. Maybe later on down the road I will hold another one, but for now I stuck to an in person group.
Picking a day and time was the hardest part. I didn’t want this to be a burden or another thing that needs to be done and taking up time. Weeknights are difficult, so those were automatically ruled out. Saturdays can be busy with sporting events and To Do lists. But, I figured if we did it early we would only be missing out on some sleep. Coming from the crazy lady who gets up at 4 am on a regular day, sleep is something worth missing out on. 7 am Saturday was the time I picked. Only a few people grumbled (smily face here) but they are the ones who said “yes” first!
Breaking bread is a must! My love language is honestly food, so if food is not involved, I’m not sure I feel loved. For our first meeting we picked a restraurant that is in the middle of where everyone lives. We did discuss that sometimes just coffee would be fine as well. I’ve got to do some research on places that are open at 7 am on Saturday!
Our Meeting Outline currently looks like this:
- Share wins for the month – 3 minutes each
- Book Share – what we learned from the book we decided to read
- Share struggles we are facing – 3 minutes each
- Mastermind – 20 minutes to generate solutions to struggles or hold each other accountable for goals we stated last time
- Decide on personal goals and reading for the month
The plan is to run group for about 90 minutes once a month.
Rules for Our Group
In order for this to be a productive group and not just a fun hang out, we needed some ground rules. Here are the ones that were suggested and accetpted:
That is it! This is the process that went into creating this group I — we — needed. I know this isn’t a very interstesting post, but I wanted to document this for myself. In a year when I look back at where we started from, I want to remember what led me here. In five years, I want this to meausure the gains we have had.
If this sounds like something that you need in your life, I highly suggest you go for it! Here are the top three books that helped me make the jump. I make no profit off of these suggestions. They are just amazing books that have helped me!
Call to Action
Ready to start your own circle? I would love to hear what you’ve tried, see your rules, and get feedback on what is working for you! We can mastermind here as well. Or, if you are local (Northern Utah) connect with me and come join us for breakfast one Saturday morning!
Here are some beginning ice breaker questions to ask to get conversations started. I also love to pull questions from The Un-Game (again, I don’t get paid for this recommendation). Questions like these help us get to know eachother and ourselves better.
What are your innate gifts and abilities?
What are your natural and developed talents?
What are you passionate about?
What are your strengths?
What would you like to receive from this group?