Moon Gatherings. Sisterhood Circles. Business Masterminds…
Can these get-togethers really make your life better? Or are they just another to-do on your calendar?
Let’s start with a resounding YES! (hear that echoing off tall buildings, short mountains, and bouncing off the rim of your coffee cup?). Being a part of a community can make your life richer and yummier. Simply basking in the glow of connection can heal a lot of hurts.
Each of these get-togethers serve different personal needs:
✦ Moon Gatherings are about ritual. They’re a joint space to set intentions and celebrate the cycles of the moon and the seasons.
✦ Sisterhood Circles are about being witnessed, heard, and held as you walk yourself through life’s more challenging moments.
But what if you’re feeling lost or confused or alone and want to harness the power of community to help you move forward?
Then you need a Hive.
A Hive is not only a place to be celebrate and be heard, it’s a place to get stuff done. In business coaching, these types of gatherings are called Masterminds. The basic concept is that when you gather people with different knowledge, skills, and resources, options will open up that you never thought of or even dreamed possible.
What happens when you apply this concept to your daily life? What happens when you gather your friends to discuss best parenting techniques or ways to deal with a cancer diagnosis?
When you harness the strengths of your community, you create Hive Mind… and everyone benefits.
But simply gathering everyone in one room and asking for ideas can be overwhelming to your senses and underwhelming to your need for true support. The quiet person doesn’t get heard while the exuberant, type A accidentally grandstands and derails the train. Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve also, fifteen minutes after a gathering of super smart, insightful people, had the “oh, f*ck” moment when I realize I wasted my 20 minutes of group attention by asking the wrong question.
After years of first being a part of and then leading these types of circles, I’ve come up with a foolproof plan for making sure the entire Hive benefits from the gathering and discussion.
An aside: at one point I thought this might become part of my business model, so this step-by-step program was a closely guarded secret. But I’ve realized that while I LOVE leading these groups, they aren’t my main focus. Now the Mastermind which I started as a business venture— Sisterhood of the Traveling Pajamas— is a democratically run Hive. We get so much out of our quarterly get-togethers that I wanted to share our exact process with you so you can create your own Hive and begin harnessing the hive mind to handle life’s ups and downs.
Step 1: Build Your Hive
Before contacting your three closest friends and that really savvy woman from the PR department at your law firm, think about where in your life you most want support. Is your Hive bonding over raising kids, assisting elderly parents, new business ventures, saving for retirement, creating a city wide eco-initiative… the possibilities are truly endless.
To get the right people into the mix, you need to begin by defining your goals.
Think about how often you want to meet. Is this a one-and-done or are you building a long term, working group?
How many people do you want? Less than 4 is a lunch with friends, not a Hive. More than 8 can be unwieldy.
Will you be adding any ritual aspects to your gatherings? Even though my group is all about business, we build an altar for our weekend together. After each person’s “hot-seat” (keep reading and you’ll understand!), we pull an oracle card.
Once you understand what you’re creating, you can begin inviting people to the Hive. Be sure to set a specific time and place for gathering. Beginning with a Facebook Group and “seeing where it goes” often leads to non-action.
Step Two: Lay the Groundwork
Once you’re all gathered, you need to get on the same page. Lay the groundwork for being together. Download and pass out the instructional handout below and discuss the details as a group, adding your particular nuance and flavor. The handout is meant to give you a starting point. Try a round or two following the instructions exactly and then change things up so they work best for your group!
The basic layout looks like this:
- everyone gets a “hot-seat.” During your hot-seat time, the entire Hive focuses on your needs. You in turn focus on everyone else’s needs when you’re not in the hot-seat.
- hot-seats are timed to keep things moving and to force everyone to be thoughtful and concise.
- self-reflection is built in. You don’t need to police the Hive (cause that’s never good for group dynamics) because everyone is monitoring themselves.
The next steps will be laid out in more detail in the handout:
Step Three: Break into Pairs
Partners help each other to understand the most pressing issues to discuss during their individual hot-seats.
Step Four: Activate the Hive Mind!
Follow the instructions in the handout. Hot-seats are timed. The exact minute count on the handout is what has been best for my groups. After you work with this a bit, you can alter it to suit your Hive.
Step Five: Five Minutes for Self-Reflection
The questions to ask yourself are listed on the handout. Each person reflects for themselves and there’s no need to share. These questions help all of us to make sure our behavior supports the whole Hive.
Step Six: Share
Share 3 things you learned from the hot-seat (you’ll do this for both your own and other people’s hot-seat). We all learn from each other and you’ll quickly realize that we are all mirrors for each other! Noticing 3 take-aways from someone else’s hot-seat helps you realize that the whole experience is a sweet feast, not just the 20 minutes when the Hive is focused on you.
Have an issue you can’t quite resolve? Feeling frustrated or alone? Build a Hive. I promise, you are richer in resources than you could possibly imagine!