Want to Change Your Life? Use the Power of Small Groups!

Whatever your age, are you wondering about the next phase of your life? If so, do you wish you had a concrete, practical plan of action and solid support to help you change, maybe even re-invent yourself?

“It may be time to join an existing small group or form a new one yourself,” says Sue Baugh, a veteran small-group leader. “Ideally, your group should be limited to six to eight people to allow everyone time to share. Have a clear focus for the group—such as exploring next steps for your life, taking chances in a new direction, discovering what new ideas and abilities are emerging in you. Then gather like-minded people to share the journey. Besides bringing their experience and expertise to the group, members can also ask questions and offer insights that would never occur to you. Often we can’t see how we might be stopping ourselves–but others can.”

Group Support. Baugh recommends that small groups meet in person and keep a regular schedule—once a month, twice a month, whatever members feel they need. “I’ve found there’s a greater benefit in meeting face to face than in meeting online or over the phone. Being together physically sends the message that you’ve taken the time and trouble to show up for each other. And once you’re together, there’s a kind of spirit and electricity in face-to-face groups that’s missing otherwise.”

Baugh says that small groups often benefit members in ways that go beyond their original purpose. “For instance, author Lynn McTaggart in her book, The Power of Eight, organized small groups to focus healing energy on others. To their surprise, the members found that over time, they were experiencing healing as well! You can’t underestimate the power of a focused group to change the lives of its members.”

To help groups succeed in their goals, Baugh offers the following practical advice.

Guidelines for Successful Groups.

  • Set a clear intention for the group. What would you like to accomplish? Your intention may change over time, but start with a clear focus.
  • Listen carefully to each other. Ask good questions to clarify issues. Active, empathetic listening is a powerful tool in small groups.
  • Be honest and constructive when you give feedback to others. Have faith in them until they have faith in themselves.
  • Be open to moving past your comfort zone. Maybe it’s time to take the limits off your creative self. The group is there to help and support you.
  • Collaborate as a group to find solutions or actions for problems members raise.
  • Celebrate small as well as major successes. Small steps are critical for change.
  • End each meeting with some type of “homework”—a question, a task, a goal—to be completed by the next meeting. This helps build group momentum and keeps the creative juices flowing.

 Finally, Bring Your Commitment. “This is a major factor in a group’s success,” Baugh says. “Commit yourself 100 percent to the group for the time you have agreed to meet. And keep meeting at the appointed time even if only two of you can make it. You are holding the space for other group members. The more you commit to this process, the more creative power it has.”

Gift of Group Experience. A dedicated, focused small group can help you gain a new understanding of who you really are and what you have to offer, no matter what phase of life you are in. As Baugh affirms, “If you feel it’s time to make a real change in your life, I highly recommend you explore the power and rewards of a small group to help you do it.”

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Sue Baugh, email: sue.baughws@gmail.com

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