This is part 2 of How To Grow With Your Friends. If you haven’t read part 1 yet you can do so here.
O.K., so Dani made a Growth Group with her two good friends Bianca and Jessica. Hopefully you have decided with one or more people to form your own Growth Group, or, at least, you are thinking about doing so. If so… FANTASTIC!!!
Now, on the year anniversary of Dani, Jessica and Bianca’s 1st meeting they looked back on their incredible year and they were filled with emotion. All three of them cried as they spoke out what they had achieved over the past year.
So how did they turn their goals into realities? Well, in this blog post I am going to tell you the specifics of what they did that worked. They had a very simple formula. It worked for them and it will work for you too. And do you know how I can be so confident? A bunch of Growth Groups popped up as friends of Dani, Bianca and Jessica heard about what they were doing and wanted to do the same thing for themselves. A number of male groups were also formed (one such group being Dani, Bianca and Jessica’s husbands). They all used this simple formula and it worked for all of them.
So I will give it over to you in as short and as clear a manner as I can so you can learn it, know it and apply it too.
To begin with, just before I give over the 3 step model for achieving any goal you choose, here are a few basics to consider…
How many people?:
Some say that a group consisting of 3 – 5 people is good. If you can only start with one other person, go for it!!! You may be able to include another when your Growth Group is up and running… Or… two people, you and someone else, might be perfect for you.
Find and SCHEDULE IN a time when you will be able to meet. Ideally the same time each week. If it isn’t scheduled in it probably won’t happen. And even when it is scheduled you have to make sure that you make that time a PRIORITY so it doesn’t get pushed aside when things come up!!!
Deciding what to work on:
>> In your 1st session:
Make a list of 5 things (potential personal spiritual goals) that you’d really like to work on.
Try and prioritise your list, no.1 being the one you think will have the biggest impact for you that you are able and keen to work on now.
It’s often best to start off with something very tangible. Things like ‘being a more positive person’ or ‘loving oneself more’ are great things to work on BUT they are internal and without proper guidance working on them can be difficult. A few examples of tangible and concrete goals might be: Shabbat – Keeping kosher – Honouring one’s parents – Speech that builds rather than destroys – Praying…
Once everyone has finished making their list of goals that they’d like to pursue, each member should share and discuss the no. 1 goal that they’d like to pursue right now and why it’s important to them.
By the way, after Dani, Bianca and Jessica each selected the goal that they each wanted to work on they took turns sharing it and why they had chosen it. It sounds crazy but each of the three said that just speaking out the goal that they had chosen to another, why it was important to them and what they hoped would come from it was an incredibly powerful and empowering experience. For each of them it was the first time that they had ever spoken out a specific personal spiritual goal that they wanted to pursue to others who cared about their success and who wanted to support them.
The 3 pronged strategy to work towards your goal:
So… Dani, Jessica and Bianca and many other Growth Groups that were created saw that there are 3 essential ingredients to practically and effectively pursing and reaching any goal. Let me explain these 3 ingredients through the prism of Dani’s, Bianca’s and Jessica’s goals…
For Dani, her goal was simply becoming kosher. That’s a very specific and concrete goal. For Bianca her goal was to take time out once a day to pray, for herself, her family and various others. This is something that she had never properly been taught to do. Jessica decided to work on what she initially called ‘being a better daughter to her parents’ but as she learnt more about it she began to refer to as ‘the mitzvah of honouring one’s father and one’s mother’. Now here are the 3 ingredients that they used to pursue and reach their goals…
 GET UNDERSTANDING
 TAKE THE NEXT STEP
 GET ASSISTANCE FROM ABOVE
1. GET UNDERSTANDING (the how & why)
O.K. What does this mean? Well, let’s look at Dani’s goal of only eating kosher. In order to accomplish her goal of being someone who only eats kosher she had to learn the “how’s” of keeping kosher and it also helped her a lot from a motivational perspective to be clear on the “why’s” too.
Dani who is not at all a big reader got herself a series of MP3 classes that went through the ABC’s of keeping kosher… Bloodspots in eggs, cleaning cabbage from bugs, not mixing milk and meat etc. She would listen to these lessons in her car on the way to work and back. When she finished the series she started listening to it from the beginning again to review it. When she had a question regarding something that wasn’t clear she asked Chana Levin, one of the ladies at her work who’s husband was a Rabbi. Usually Chana was able to explain things well. For one or two questions Chana asked her husband to record the answer for Dani and to send it to her.
Within a few months of learning and reviewing the details of keeping kosher during her commute to and from work Dani had a much clearer understanding of how to keep a kosher kitchen.
Dani found the relationship she formed with Chana, who was quite a lot older than her, to be amazing. Dani saw her Growth Group as a beautiful group of supportive friends and Chana, who Dani came to see as an incredibly wise and perceptive lady, as more of a mentor than just a friend. Chana was able to give Dani perspectives and insightful observations that her growth group, as supportive as they were, at this point in their lives couldn’t.
So… this idea of learning the how’s and why’s is the first step of the 3 pronged strategy. Jessica who’s goal was to upgrade the way she behaved towards her parents found an amazing book on the subject called My father, My Mother and Me which explained everything clearly and included over 170 stories to really make the information real. This book was actually recommended by Chana Levin who met Jessica and Bianca through Dani and who became a mentor for them too.
2. TAKE THE NEXT STEP
We all know that a journey of a thousand miles starts with 1 step and that of course such a journey cannot be walked in 1 day or 1 week. For example, one cannot go from being totally non kosher to being totally kosher in 1 week. What one can do, however, (and the only way to complete such a journey) is to take one small step at a time. Dani started her kosher journey with just one step – choosing to buy her meat from kosher butchers. This was a hard step for her as she noticed the increase in price. However, through talking about it and laughing about it with her friends and with her mentor Dani she eventually accepted the price increase and felt comfortable getting her meat from places like Moshe’s, Maxi’s and Nussbaum’s.
So, this part of the 3 pronged strategy is putting one of the things you have been reading about into action. What you consider to be the next step. One obviously can’t take on everything at once. Additional steps can be added gradually over time when the time is right to add another step.
Generally smaller steps taken over longer periods of time are more likely to stick than big steps taken in rapid succession. Bianca who’s goal was to pray every day worked on a new part of the Shemoneh Esrei (Amida prayer) each week. It proved too much too soon. She commented how fortunate she was to have her wonderful Growth Group to support her as she had felt like throwing in the towel after her burnout. Her friends, however, had been there for her. They had listened to her and supported her and helped her rethink her approach. Chana Levin’s practical advice was also invaluable.
 GET ASSISTANCE FROM ABOVE
This third and last part of the three pronged strategy turned out to be a very meaningful part of Dani, Bianca and Jessica’s day. Even when breaking things down into small steps, growth can be hard. It involves us doing things that we weren’t doing before. It can require courage and willpower.
This last prong is to pray each day in your own words for your success (for help, strength, focus, whatever you need to pursue and achieve your goal). And because you are part of a group who want to support each other, to also pray for everyone else in your group! The prayer can be as short as 10 seconds so it can be done pretty easily at any time (although if it can be scheduled in to be done the same time each day, it is more likely that it will become a habit).
So, this is the 3 pronged approach to achieving any goal….
1. Learn about it, the how’s and whys
2. Break it down into steps and take 1 small step at a time
3. Pray for your own and everyone else in your group’s success
Now, there’s just one last thing to know for you and your growth group to experience success. You see, this 3 part strategy explains what to do ‘during the week’ when you are working towards your goal – it doesn’t explain how to conduct the actual Growth Group meetings or what to do when you, or any of the members experience bad days, bad weeks or even burn outs. In order to recover from one’s bad days and not throw in the towel and in fact to learn from one’s failures and to use those lessons to propel oneself forwards there needs to be a strategy. This strategy was called by our group: Tracking, Sharing and Tweaking. It is actually what their Growth Group meetings were built around. Please click on the link below to read the final part of this How To Grow With Your Friends series where you will find out about Tracking, Sharing and Tweaking and thereby complete your understanding of this system so you can use it with your own Growth Group 😀.
To send part 1 to a friend, send them this link: https://thinkingjew.com/2017/02/09/growing-with-your-friends/
To go to part 3, click here:
For a nice looking PDF copy of all 3 parts of How To Grow With Your Friends, click this: growing-with-your-friends-pdf: