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.
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.
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.
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.
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! :)