The Power of Women in Circle: Ideas for Women’s Groups

I have sat in 5 circles of women and 2 circles of couples in the last 7 days, with two more coming up this weekend, which is a bit more connection than I typically allow for in my schedule, but my heart is feeling such gratitude and fullness today.

I want to share a few of them with you because I want you to see how they got started, how different they each are, and how meaningful they are in so many different forms.  So many of you crave having more Circles in your life, and I want you to see what is possible for you to create.

Being in Circle Invites Support

Last Friday I was sitting around a table at a restaurant because I said yes to an invitation from someone I didn’t know who was hosting what she was calling 12@12, 12 women she admires coming together for lunch at 12 pm for us to meet each other and find ways to support one another. She had made the reservations and initiated the gathering, and we all reaped the benefits.

Business mastermind womens group

I loved sitting with a dozen women for lunch where we each just showed up to network, connect, and support.

When we went around the circle to introduce ourselves we had to answer three questions: What do we do? What is our super power? And, what is one challenge we’re facing right now? Just from hearing those shares, one woman has reached out with an offer to introduce me to a friend of hers who is in charge of finding speakers for an event, I offered to make a donation from GirlFriendCircles to the non-profit that one of them is starting in order to bring art to children. Being in Circle invites support.  When women hear how they can help each other– they do.

Being in Circle Invites Accountability

On Monday, I hosted six friends in my home for an afternoon of journaling and sharing, ending with dinner and celebrating.

womens circle for journaling and reflecting

Setting aside an afternoon to journal and share about what we had experienced and accomplished in the last few months, and to look ahead with anticipation and joy at what is coming…

This group came about because the day before New Years I had invited a handful of friends (who didn’t know each other at all before that date) to come launch 2014 by setting aside the time to reflect, honor, and set intention in the midst of community.  As everyone was hugging each other good-bye that evening, everyone kept saying, “Can we do this again? Sooner than next New Years?” So I scheduled this one to celebrate the end of the first quarter.

It’s one thing to pause and make sure I’m honoring my growth in recent months and getting clear about what I want the upcoming months to hold, and it’s quite another hearing the honesty of others and getting clearer as I hear myself talk out loud. It was easy planning– invitations were sent, everyone brought something to share for our dinner, and I just had some journaling prompts (such as “What am I tolerating in my life? and What is bringing me the most energy these days?”) to give us some loose structure. Being in Circle holds the space to do things like journaling and reflecting that we value but don’t always do on our own.

Being in Circle Invites Brainstorming, Feedback, and Ideas

Yesterday morning, I participated in two beautiful Circles that were both virtual. One was my entrepreneur mastermind circle (apply at Savor the Success to be matched into one!) where 4 of us spend an hour every other week on video chat getting the collective wisdom and expertise to help us grow our business.  I am hoping to partner with a few brands that might sponsor GirlFriendCircles and these women spent 10 minutes giving me every idea they had for what that can look like as I take my next step on a road that is unfamiliar to me.  Being in Circle with these women makes me a better business owner.

The other Circle happens early every Thursday morning via the phone.  There are seven of us who affectionately call ourselves The Rebel Queens. Queens because we are all thought-leaders, speakers, and authors who feel called to bring our messages of love into this world, each in our own domain and expertise; Rebels because that means we’ll speak against norms, ruffle some feathers, and invite people out of their comfort zones. We know the power of having space where we can be vulnerable, witnessed, and supported by other women who are big, bright, and imperfect.  We’ll each have days and areas where we will feel insecure; and days and areas where we can celebrate the success of each other. We each take time to share our hearts and receive the prayers and reflections of the group. This group was started by a couple of them who were friends deciding they wanted to have more structure to their support and connection, so they decided to start a small group and invited a few others in who they felt would be resonate. Being in Circle with these women helps me practice shining my best self in confidence that my shining gives permission to others to do the same.

Being in Circle Invites Fun

This Sunday is my 10/10 retreat day!  There are ten of us women who meet on the last Monday of every month. I started this group 3 years ago with two other friends.  We knew the power of networking but didn’t like the idea of mingling at networking events as much as we liked the idea of a group of women committing to supporting each other regularly.  So we compiled a list of names of women we knew, or knew of, and sent them an invitation asking if they wanted to commit to attending at least 8 of the 10 monthly meetings that were scheduled.

Womens Retreat Day mastermind group

While the bulk of our time together is after work hours and about work– several times a year our group spends the day having fun together!

Three years ago we planned one day-long retreat in addition to the evening meetings.  It was so much fun that last year we decided to up it to twice a year.  And, this year, you won’t be surprised that we scheduled three of them!  We always keep them easy, meeting at someone’s home, adding some yoga or a walk, good food, and lots of laughter and sharing that bonds us way beyond a typical mastermind monthly session.

 

Being in Circle Invites Intimacy

Many of the groups I described above started as Left-Side Circles, meaning that I was either meeting with complete strangers where we became Contact Friends, or committing to the group for the purpose of bonding over what we had in common (i.e. entrepreneurs, speakers) which made us Common Friends.  The groups where we have the most consistency (either by meeting weekly, or because we’ve been meeting for several years) now are also growing in intimacy.  May of the women I met in these Circles have been invited into my other Circles as we continue to grow our friendships in multiple ways.

best friends, girls groups

The three of us are Committed Friends, showing up with as much vulnerability as possible!

But one of my Circles started with my closest friends.  Three of us made a commitment to get 2 dates on the calendar every month, if we can.  We schedule a few months out and plan life around those sacred Circles where three of us, who have now known each other for nearly 7 years, come together and instantly go deep. We have the power of history; the memory of where we’ve each been, what we’ve each survived and struggled with; and have seen glimpses of who we’re each becoming that we can continue to hold up in front of each other.

Choose Your Circles

Being in these Circles never “just happens.”  Your calendar will never just automatically pop up an alert that says “Women’s Circle” without you putting it there.  Intention is necessary. Admitting what you want is important. Extending invitations is part of creating a Circle.

If you crave being in Circle with other women, I hope one of these stories inspires you… I wish upon you the opportunity to receive the power of the Circle.

p.s. TIP: If you’re a member of GirlFriendCircles.com, our web site to meet new friends, then be sure to post a ClassifedCircle with the type of Circle you want to belong to and see who else wants to join you!  :)

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11 Responses to The Power of Women in Circle: Ideas for Women’s Groups

  1. Dara says:

    Yes, many of us want these circles but we tend to think they just happen. I realize that for you, Shasta, being in circles is part of what you do and it’s also about cultivating friendships. I’ve found that the more I “join in” the more satisfied and fulfilled I feel in my personal and professional life. But I also fear I may get a bit carried away and over commit my time. What about you? Do you sometimes feel the need to readjust your priorities?

    • ShastaGFC says:

      Dara– absolutely! Readjusting is good! In fact this week was definitely one of those weeks that felt a little off balance, more connection than I typically do. I think it’s because I’m going to be traveling the next two weeks so I probably felt like I needed to “catch up” with everyone before I left. But we all have to ebb-and-flow, making decisions about how much capacity we have for that connection.

  2. Cathleen says:

    I’m in a spiritual book group that meets every two weeks-we’re reading Pema Chodren right now. It’s very supportive as we talk about our intentions for how to live in better ways in our lives with our families and other people in our daily lives.

  3. Alex says:

    “What is our super power” ?? What does that mean?

    • ShastaGFC says:

      Alex– in other words, what gift do you bring to the world? What is your sweet spot? What impact do you have? It was such a great question because without knowing the other women there, just by them answering that one question I had a better sense of who they are and what contribution the bring to their worlds. Does that make sense?

  4. B.Mel says:

    This subject is soooo close to my heart!!! I write books on Goddesses and Women Spirituality and have been organizing women circles for years now. One of my books is titled, “Gathering for Goddess, a Complete Manual for Priestessing Women’s Circles.” Isbn#978-0-9851384-4-8. I promise you, you will truly love my books. They can be found on Amazon or website at Femininedivineworksdotcom.
    Please, please come by and check it out!
    Blessings )0(

    http://www.Femininedivineworks.com

  5. ShastaGFC says:

    Thanks for sharing! And thanks, even more, for being someone who helps provide that connection in this world for others to experience!

  6. I have had the powerful privilege to both participate and lead circles of women over the years. My favorite way to foster deep connection is through the creative arts. SoulCollage circles are particularly non-threatening and authentic sharing circles I’ve also belonged to a monthly creativity club for the past five years. We celebrate a very broad definition of creativity in any area of wholehearted living. It has been amazing to witness what happens and how people blossom when they have a safe, committed encouragement group to be accountable to. So many people were interested in what we’ve been doing that I wrote up a little “how-to” handbook: the Creativity & Camaraderie Club Handbook: Have More Fun, Live More Wholeheartedly, Encourage Each Other!

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I always love to hear your ideas, wisdom, and questions! What do you think?