“Do you need help?”
“No, thanks, I’m okay.”
This was my reflexive response to most offers of help, until six months ago.
After dancing on the beach under a full moon (and eclipse) several friends and I trudged up the sand dunes in the dark. I wore a full backpack, carried a duffle bag over my left shoulder and heavy, damp sand-coated blankets and a towel draped over my right arm.
After stumbling for the second time I thought to myself, Next time I leave the extra blankets in the duffle bag or even in the car.
Two of my companions offered help, but I declined.
The next day while reading about the energy of the eclipse, one line grabbed my attention, “We’ve been called on to let go of our old behavior patterns of reacting to situations with anger, domination and aggression, as well as our need to go it alone.”
How could I expect to receive abundant gifts from the Universe, if I couldn’t receive help carrying towels up a hill?
I vowed to say yes to more offers of help. And to convene a women’s circle of Support, something I’d been contemplating for years. Since I felt a strong bond with my pole dance sisters I started with them.
Seven weeks after dancing under the lunar eclipse, four of us gathered for our first Blood Moon Goddess Circle. We added four additional members in the next two months.
Our purpose is to support each other in making our dreams a reality. During our first six months we’ve helped each other:
- Find a new job (and provide support when the search wasn’t going well)
- Keep a class together that was at risk of ending
- Declutter space
- Get unstuck
- Stay committed as resistance shows up (and be compassionate)
- Restructure debt and increase income
- Deal with work, health and family issues
- Envision our dreams, brainstorm, test ideas, and more
Peer Support is Essential to Make Dreams Come True
Now that I’m part of a women’s circle, I understand why so many leaders and super successful people say being part of a peer support group is essential. Jennifer Louden, who offers a self-paced class on convening masterminds (which I took years ago) says, “Yes, you can (and should) hire coaches, join groups led by sages in your field, make time for retreats. And you also must have a peer group, a give-and-receive community, a united-for-each-other tribe. Yes, I said must. I don’t do that very often.”
Here’s how we created our support circle and you can too.
Decide What You Want
If you’re the instigator, it’s particularly important to consider what you want and the type of people you want to be part of your group so you find your tribe.
Choose a focus
Ours: Make Dreams Come True. Give and receive support. Asking for help.
Yours could be the same or perhaps you want to get more specific:
- Starting a pole focused business
- Increasing profitability
- Entering a competition or performance
- Completing a creative project such as book, documentary or photo/art show
- Balancing family and pole
Find a Partner
I asked one friend, whom I thought would be interested. She replied YES!!! This was a critical step. She helped me make decisions. I suggested several names. She loved one. I sent her a draft invite. She suggested changes. She nudged me when writing deadlines distracted me. I sent out the invite with plenty of time to spare.
Determine Group/Gathering Characteristics
Size: Our goal was 4-8 women. We’ve all danced at S Factor San Francisco (not everyone knew everyone, though we all knew some of us)
Location: We gather in person at each other’s homes
Frequency: We meet monthly
Effective groups can be smaller or larger. They can be in-person or virtual. They can meet more or less frequently. They can have a common history or be from different studios or geographic regions, etc.
Think about what skills, attitudes and values you’d like members to have in common and where you want diversity. We focused on sharing discussing what we contribute and need as we work and play towards making our dreams come true.
Example: Lisa offers her curiosity, creativity and passion. She excels at brainstorming, inspiring and strategic thinking. She has research, teaching, writing and public health expertise. She adores playing and dancing, especially on the beach (hints at her dream!)
Lisa seeks support when she’s stuck, practice (and assistance) figuring out what help she needs (and how to find it). She’d like check-ins if she disappears and nudges if she starts over-thinking things.
Invite Potential Members
Once you decide what you want, send out invitation to people you (and your partner) would like to join your group. You can also ask them to forward to friends who meet your criteria that they think might be a good fit.
Use the answers to the questions you’ve asked yourself about what you want to create the invitation.
Here’s the core of the invitation we used:
Do you have a dream you’re ready to birth?
I sure do! And I want help. So, I’m convening a group of 4-8 women who have a dream they want to make happen. Are you intrigued?
Join in our first exploratory gathering on ________.
We will encourage each other to take small steps and big leaps. We’ll help identify blocks and patterns that hinder us. We’ll request help from each other and our extended circle of connections. We’ll cheer each other on.
We’ll be authentic and vulnerable. We’ll laugh, cry, have fun and hug. And celebrate all our accomplishments, especially the little ones since they add up to the big dream!
We will meet in person once per month (2 – 2.5 hours). Lisa suggests we meet at each other’s homes on a rotating basis (though is open to a central meeting spot). We’ll also stay connected with each other between meetings via text, email, Facebook, phone and/or in-person coffee/walk dates as needed for check-ins/encouragement. An in-person retreat once a year would also be fabulous.
If interested, please reply with answers to the following three questions:
- Do you have a dream? (We’ll discuss details in our meeting)
- What gifts do you bring to the Blood Moon Goddesses?
- What do you want to receive?
5. What Do We Do?
Our first gathering was magical. We set up an altar. Danced to ground us. Shared our dreams. Pulled oracle cards to support our dreams. Drank tea and ate snacks. And adorned ourselves with metallic tattoos.
We expanded our circle from 4 to 8 by inviting members individually and sharing what we’d done and how magical it was.
Our gatherings have all been a little different because the host has taken the initiative to surprise us with an activity. We’ve created glitter dream jars, played with wish paper, eaten yummy food, made vision boards and witnessed each other in our progress and blocks.
We have more ideas than we’ve had time for including an appreciation activity, a discussion activity, a meditation and a letter to our future selves because our check-ins have been running long. I revisited materials from Louden’s mastermind class. She recommends setting a time limit for check-ins because this is a common problem. I plan to make this request of my goddesses. Being vulnerable and brave enough to make requests to the circle is important for group health and growth.
Support Between Meetings
We encircle each other with support. Instead of partnering up and giving and receiving help to one buddy, we create a circle where each woman takes primary responsibility for supporting another because we all struggle with asking for help. For example: L supports M, M supports K, K support D, etc. Each month we change who we support.
Of course, we’re free to reach out to anyone for help and support. As we get to know each other’s strengths and patterns of getting in our own way this gets easier and more frequent.
What dream do you need help making come true. Who do you know that you want to help you? Invite them. Make magic together.
For more help starting your own peer support group, get Louden’s free mastermind starter kit.
This post first appeared on Bad Kitty Blog | Pole Dancing Fitness Lifestyle Ne, please read the originial post: here