Since 2014, I have been running groups based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown called The Daring Way. Who cares, right? A lot of people actually. My original purpose for creating these groups was to help people live braver lives and show up in ways they never thought possible.
These groups have attracted people with similar goals, but also similar needs in terms of connection. Through vulnerable, supportive sharing over time, a bond has developed among members that has led to being in these groups for over 2 years. Group members have now become each other's "people."
The one you call when you need a ride to a medical procedure and you DON'T want to call THAT family member. The one you want to come over to your holiday barbecue so that you know you'll have someone "good" to talk to. The one you can rely on to "get you." This happened once, and I thought it was amazing. Then it happened again. And again.
I started to wonder about the creation and evolution of these connections as I've met new people who have asked for and needed the same thing.
Loneliness and social isolation are predictors of a shorter life expectancy. It's evidence that we need each other. We are wired for connection in order to survive. As we grow more virtually connected, we become more isolated in our own worlds. It's easy to hide behind social media and make your life look fantastic. It's harder to connect with people, let alone find them, who get you on a deeper level, and understand you in ways you never thought possible. It's ok to crave connection. You're not a "loser" because you don't have it.
Part i: E-course
What I've learned about how to create these connections in a natural way, is that people need to learn about vulnerability, courage, and shame together. The mutual learning + sharing creates natural bonds, safety, and shared experience. Based on survey results from founding members, the modules of the course will address members' chief fears and concerns. The e-course will be a multi-media learning experience to meet the needs of different types of learning.
Part II: The online community
This will be a closed, secret online community for Courage Club members only. It will be a place to share, vent, provide support and feedback, and receive it from others. Members will be able to go live in the group instead of just text communication. Part of the e-course will require live communication in addition to virtual, in order to practice the modules from the e-course.
This online community will grow with each cohort that completes the e-course. Completion of the e-course is the prerequisite for entry into Courage Club.
Imagine having a place where you can meet your friends, confidants, and people who get you because they know your past, they know what matters and they know what's important to you.
You will have a place where there is:
+ Refuge from loneliness.
+ A support squad ready to hear you and cheer you.
+ A community of like minded souls whom you don't need to explain everything to.
What others have said
- “Until I came to group, I kept everything inside. I have more hope now that I have a place to share and connect.”
- “This group has enriched my life.”
- “I look forward to coming to this group.”
- “Group has made me realize I am not alone in my struggle.”
- “Hearing about what other people are doing makes me want to try new things.”
What if people don't get me? The process of connection takes time. The e-course provides prompts for each member to share and reveal parts of themselves for others to receive, understand, and empathize. My job as the facilitator is to also support the connections between and among members. If this is still a concern, we can talk privately about your fears, unmet needs, or concerns.
What if I don't like it? Part of the application process is to discern who is a good fit for this platform. The goal is to bring like-minded people together who have similar interests, goals and needs. People are... human, after all. If you really don't like it, there are no hard feelings if you choose to leave. The community needs members who want to be there, who want to contribute, and who are open to receiving support.
What if I'm afraid? It's normal to be hesitant, skeptical, and unsure at first. We address these feelings up front because it's expected that you'd feel this way. The idea of becoming vulnerable with others, even though you want to, can be anxiety-provoking.
Other questions? Please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE TRUTH: Having and using your courage means being brave + afraid at the same time. Once you do this, you'll probably find that it's scary but invigorating. That you are making up things about it that aren't even true. That it's not as hard as you thought.
It's a COURAGEOUS step to join a community where you will have to continue to employ this same courage to build connections with others.
This initial courageous step is the FIRST action you'll take, and we'll help and support you with the second, third, and so forth.