When I was visiting my daughter, who is almost 26, last weekend, she told me about a new activity amongst her and her friends, which she called “Skills Night”. The idea is that each person wrote down three skills that she could offer to teach, and three skills that she would like to learn. The moderator took the results of the little census and put together a schedule where these young women would help each other grow. I was impressed with what an industrious and fun idea this was.
People who are intentional about growing aren’t rare, but there are far fewer than there should be. To strive to be a better person is a noble pursuit, at least as important as pursuing a formal education. Carl Jung said, “We all walk around in shoes too small for us.” I think this is by choice. We know that we can be more but we settle. Our society doesn’t encourage us. The advertisements that come our way encourage us to relax. Take it easy. Enjoy convenience and comfort.
For these reasons, we sometimes need the strength that comes with accountability to others. We need encouragement, a kick in the proverbial pants, and the wisdom that is collected when those from different families and backgrounds are together.
Last year I participated in a series of meetings in which we studied various self-development topics like emotional intelligence, gratitude, and stronger living in general. We called it the 1% club, a few months before “1%” became synonymous with that which is the stuff of the occupy movement. In our case, 1% was derived from a book by Tommy Newberry and meant this: If you can see yourself as being even 1% of who you want to be, then you have hope to become more.
One from our group started a business that she’s been intending to do for a long time. Another retired and is pursuing with vigor the next chapter in her life. Another has nourished an idea for a non-profit that has been a glimmer for quite some time.
Whatever you choose to call your gathering, such groups are far from new. The concept of Mastermind groups was popularized by Napoleon Hill in the first half of the past century. In a sense, many civic organizations for men and women were intended to foster becoming good citizens and better people.
All that is history. The point is just to encourage you. If you want to be with those who want to make the most of this too-brief life, invite others to join you. Sure, it may seem a little embarrassing if you’re a little shy, but your friend or associate will be flattered that you want them to join you. There is no shortage of books to study or topics to discuss. You can start a meet-up group if you want.
What is difficult to convey, though, is the sense of connectedness you can experience by working with others who are looking to move beyond where they are now. There is something about the vulnerability the comes with sharing your goals with others who are supportive, with being fully-present voluntarily for friends and associates who want to ask more of themselves.
Draw strength from your family and friends and they will draw strength from you.