This blog piece “How To Grow With Your Friends” could change your life forever. It will teach you, through an easy to read story narrative, the whats, whys and hows of… ‘how you can grow with your friends’. Now, exactly what that means you will read about soon enough. The purpose of starting with this little introduction is simply to ask you to go into this article with the understanding that you are about to encounter a truly POWERFUL idea. As the idea becomes clear consider how much of an impact it could make in your own life… Enjoy!
To listen to an audio version of this blog post How To Grow With Your Friends, just press play – or you can read the blog which appears below:
I’d like to introduce you to Dani. Dani found an incredible way to infuse new energy into her life and to grow towards her goals in a way that she had never done before. I am sharing with you her amazing story. It could be that you will recognise similarities to your own life (regardless of whether you are male or female). What’s more, it could be that the epiphany that turned everything around for Dani and her friends may well be a solution that you too can use to energize and invigorate your own life and to actualise your personal spiritual goals in the most amazing way!
Dani’s story starts with her sitting in a McDonald’s restaurant, grazing on a Big Mac and feeling frustrated and despondent. Why? Well, 6 weeks previously Dani had gone to shul on Rosh Hashanah and had made a commitment to herself to give up McDonald’s and all non kosher restaurants in the new year. As she sat in that restaurant chewing her burger (not her first Big Mac of the year) she realised that not only had her goal to quit going to non kosher restaurants come to nothing, but that this was the story of her life! This was just one more in a long line of started but never completed goals. As she meditated on this reality she felt more and more pathetic.
“Why?!” Dani said to herself! “Why can I never complete anything?! … I feel like such a loser!”
But as Dani pondered this thought she realised that it wasn’t completely true. Dani had done well throughout her schooling and now had a good job which she was also doing really well in. It was specifically her personal goals, her ‘spiritual’ goals which she had a hard time following through on… Goals like cutting out those non kosher restaurants, cutting out her derogatory conversations, being a better daughter to her parents, putting a little more ‘Shabbos’ into her Friday nights and Saturdays… The question was why? Why had Dani always been able to follow through on her academic and career goals but not her personal growth goals. It’s not as if her personal growth goals were any less important to her.
Dani finished her meal and then with this question buzzing around inside of her mind she lugged herself back to work. It wasn’t until Sunday when Dani met her two friends Bianca and Jessica for coffee at Jozi Blue that the answer materialised… And it was this answer and the brilliant idea that came out of it that changed Dani and her friends’ lives from that day forth (and that you may find could energize and uplift your life in the profoundest of ways too.)
“Why is it I can do fine at school and I’m doing well at work but I can’t follow through on the most basic of personal goals?” Dani lamented to her friends that Sunday morning at Jozi Blue as they sipped their cappuccinos.
Bianca and Jessica just nodded their heads to show they understood from personal experience what Dani was feeling. They also had a long list of started but never completed personal spiritual goals.
There was silence for at least a minute as each of the young ladies just sipped their drinks in quiet contemplation. And then…
“I’VE GOT IT!” screamed Dani.
A few people turned around to see what Dani had got.
“I’ve got it!” Dani said again, this time more quietly, but with no less excitement in her voice.
“What? What have you got?” Bianca asked.
“I have the answer!” Dani simply replied. “I know why we were all able to follow through and do well at school and why we are doing well in our careers and yet we fail to follow through in our personal, spiritual goals!”
“So why?” Bianca and Jessica asked together with keen interest on their faces.
“It’s simple!” Dani began. “And now I know how we are going to turn things around in our lives from this day onwards too!”
“Nu! Let’s hear it!” Jessica urged.
“It’s like this…” Dani explained “You see, you can break every goal down into 3 stages…”
“This sounds complicated” piped Bianca.
“Its not. Just give me a moment… There’s a certain point I want to bring out… So… Stage 1 to achieving any goal is the inspiration stage. It’s when a vision of you having attained your goal, that thing which is important to you, flashes into your mind. So for example, you see yourself 10kg lighter or able to converse in another language or whatever it is, and that vision brings with it a tremendous feeling of excitement and enthusiasm to start pursuing that goal so you can truly achieve it and have it.”
“Yup. I’ve experienced those moments of inspiration.” said Jessica nodding her head. “But I don’t always follow through? What’s the secret of following through?”
“I’m getting there” Dani continued. “After stage 1, the inspiration stage, comes stage 2, the hard work stage. You see the inner motivation that floods our system with excitement and enthusiasm in stage 1 eventually dies down… When it has we are left to face the hard work of having to keep to our eating and exercise programme to lose those extra kgs or the hard work of having to knuckle down and learn those verbs and nouns to master the new language… but with much less inner motivation to push us through it. This is the stage where most people give up.”
“O.K. I hear that.” Jessica said. “So what’s the solution?!”
“Wait a second. Let me just complete the last stage… So… Stage 3 is reached when we have somehow pushed through with the hard work and have achieved and actualised what we had originally visualised, a better figure, being able to speak a new language… whatever it is… Now… the million dollar question is how do we get through stage 2, the hard work stage, when the inspiration from stage 1 is no longer flowing through us and motivating us to do what we need to do to push all the way through to stage 3?”
“Yes! That is my question!” said Jessica.
“Well…” Dani continued. “The answer is simply this… Why did you and I do well at school if school was so many years of hard work? How did we manage to hang in there day after day and do our homework and get our projects completed and learn the material for our exams when we so often didn’t feel like it and would rather have been doing other things?”
“Go on…” said Jessica.
“Well, we were compelled to do what we needed to do by external forces. My mom took me to school every day. Even if I felt tired or hadn’t completed all my work she MADE me go to school! My teachers didn’t give me a choice as to whether I wanted to come to class or not or do my projects or not. If I chose not to I would have gotten into a lot of trouble! All of our friends who were doing well at school contributed to an environment that pushed us to also strive to do well. We followed through until the end because we had EXTERNAL FORCES that pushed us even when we didn’t feel like it.”
“I hear it.” Bianca nodded.
“And now let’s look at our personal spiritual goals? You know what… I didn’t even tell one other person that I had made a goal to quit eating at non kosher restaurants. No wonder I didn’t get too far… When my initial inspiration had faded and I felt hungry and in need of a refuel and the McDonald’s was beckoning to me from across the street, I just followed my hunger pangs and followed the path my feet had travelled so many times before. If I would have told my kosher Jewish work mates about my goal and would have made a plan to go with them to the kosher cafés or restaurants that they go to for lunch it would have been a lot easier. They would have reminded me to come with them, pushed me, encouraged me!”
“So Dani…” Jessica clarified “Let me see if I understand what you’re saying… You’re saying that the way that we can ensure that we will achieve our personal, spiritual goals is by setting up an external infrastructure with external motivators that will push us and support us to follow through and achieve our goals?”
“Exactly Jessica… But it’s more than that… You see, like I said, I would have done better if I would have made arrangements to lunch with my Jewish colleagues who only eat kosher and asked them to help me and support my goal. I’m sure they would have been happy to. But the epiphany that I experienced just a moment ago is something that I can use for every one of my goals… You see, WE meet more or less every Sunday morning for coffee. Right?!”
“So, I want US to use some of our special time together each week to create a supportive, motivating environment for each other.”
“What do you mean?” Jessica inquired.
“Well, I’m saying that each of us have personal and spiritual goals that we would like to pursue but that we are likely to fail in if we don’t employ a new strategy… If we don’t create for ourselves a constant positive, supportive environment to support us and motivate us to keep at our goals and to make us accountable to someone other than ourself… And, we are friends who meet each and every week… Let’s use some of our time each week to be that supportive group for each other!”
“Wow!” Exclaimed Bianca. “That’s a pretty interesting idea. Well, how would we do that?”
“Well, I guess the first step is for each of us to choose one specific personal, spiritual goal that we’d like to work on. We can share it with each other and say why it’s important to us. Then, we will each need to formulate a simple, realistic plan for how we are going to achieve that goal. You know making a plan is not so hard. I know 3 simple steps that anyone can use to get them to achieve any goal.”
“Wow! I’m curious to hear those 3 things!” chimed Jessica.
“Well, I’ll tell you them! [You can read them in part 2 – link at the bottom] Anyway… After we each have our simple, 3 pronged plan, then each week when we meet we will take turns speaking out how we did following our plan for that week… What went well and what didn’t… and for the areas that didn’t, how we can tweak things so the next week they will be better… I think that if we will keep meeting every week and giving each other the space to reflect upon and talk about how we are doing in pursuing our goal and how we are going to tweak things if they aren’t going as planned, then we will all achieve great things!
“Hey! Dani. We have to do exactly this where I work.” Bianca commented “At work they call it a Mastermind Group. I actually have to meet with my Mastermind Group every week.”
“Hmmm… What do you do in this group?” Dani asked.
“Well… the group is there to help those who are in it with the various projects that we are each working on. We need to present our plans for how we are going to take our most important project that we are working on through to completion. Then every week we meet and present our successes and our difficulties with following those plans. The other members of the group will give positive feedback where we are doing well and help us think through where and how things can be tweaked in the areas that aren’t going as well as they could be. It’s really powerful. And besides the joint brainstorming regarding how to deal with problems I know that every week I will have to talk about my progress in front of everyone else and that makes me feel accountable. It really motivates me to do what I need to do during the week!
“Wow!” Dani exclaimed “That mastermind group is exactly what I’m talking about, except I’m saying to apply the concept to our lives, our growth! And you know what… If people in the business world use this type of thing to help them with business projects, why shouldn’t we use it in our personal lives to help us with our personal growth?! I know that until now, when I have fallen regarding a personal goal I may have tried to get back at it once or twice, but in the end I always gave up. I know though that if I’m having a rough week or even a rough month and I achieve nothing that month regarding the personal goal I have set for myself, you guys will keep supporting me and I will eventually get back at my goal. Jessica, Bianca… I know that doing this will transform our lives!”
“Let’s do it!” Jessica cried out “We’ll call it our Growth Group!”
“I’m in!” Bianca committed.
And thus began what Dani, Bianca and Jessica called their Growth Group. And let me tell you… 3 months into it and it was bringing so much new energy and excitement into their lives… After 6 months they had each accomplished real, significant personal achievements in areas that they had never been able follow through with before. After a year they were still using their group to push themselves forwards in the areas that really mattered to them.
And where I’m going with this?
If Dani, Bianca and Jessica can form a Growth Group and benefit so much from it, so can you!
Now I know that the idea might be something that you’ve never done before and it might be a little outside of your comfort zone and it might feel strange, but so what! It REALLY works! It can help you strive forwards in the areas that are most important to you! You CAN do it!!!… You CAN form a group with a few like minded people. If they are not your closest friends that’s still fine. We don’t have to reveal our deepest secrets… we just need to pick a personal, spiritual goal that is meaningful to us and our group will help provide the supportive environment that will keep us moving forward with that important personal goal.
In part two of this post (link below) I have written the practicalities and details regarding how Dani, Jessica and Bianca ran their Growth Group so you can get an idea of how you might effectively run one or be a part of one. But those are the details… The question to ask yourself right now is: Who do you want to form a Growth Group with?
Why don’t you send this blog post right now to one, or a few people who you might like to form a Growth Group with… Also, why don’t you send this blog post to someone who you think would apprecaite receiving it.
There’s an email sharing button below at the end of this post and a What’s App sharing button (and a facebook button). Or you can just copy and send this link: https://thinkingjew.com/2017/02/09/growing-with-your-friends/
Once you’ve sent a link to a friend…
To go straight to part 2 (which is shorter 😂) just 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:
This post is dedicated l’ilui hishmat, for the elevation of the soul of Henna bas Avraham