I am all about growing community, and a form of that is peer groups. Peer groups can be a parent group, a dad group, or an entrepreneurial group, it can be whatever.
Why have a peer group?
Realize I am not alone
Have a mirror
To realize that I am not alone helped me because I often find myself thinking that I am doing things on my own. When I share with a peer group, I realize that I am not alone, and other people have been through similar things.
It is about growth. When I have others around me that are peers, it is about asking how I can help them grow and finding out how they can help me grow as a person, a dad, a business owner, etc.
A mirror is someone that can reflect back to you. They are comfortable reflecting on what they observed from you and pointing things out. That is not always a fun thing to hear, but it is about helping with the growth.
What is a peer group?
Using each other
A safe space is a place where I can hear myself think. Ultimately, it is to have a structure for when I say something that I am hearing myself. I may not even be looking for anything from my peer, but I am in a safe place to hear myself think.
Similar experiences are the people that have been through similar things. When I join a good peer group, I am thinking that I have either been through it, am going through it or I am going to go through it. Therefore, why not share my experiences with them and talk about how I handled and learned from something. I can also hear what they may have learned from a similar situation. We can all get through it together.
To use each other is a way of asking for help. We are giving permission to each other to tell one another if we are doing something outside of our integrity. We can use each other to grow.
How to set up and use a peer group?
Open and honest
There is a structure to meeting rhythms such as how often we are meeting and where we are meeting for example. We are starting and ending on time and there is an agenda to be followed. Someone will be in charge of running that meeting and it may seem like an awful lot at first, but without structure, things can often get off track. When that happens, I don’t feel fulfilled and it is not the best use of the time that I have invested.
Open and honest is being open to ideas, suggestions, and possibilities. I am not judging. I am honest with the people in my peer group, and I am open to receiving honest feedback as well.
The last part is confidentiality. This is huge and drives back to safe space. I know if I say something in my peer group, we have already agreed that we are not going to be judgmental and we are not going to share with people outside of our group. It is a confidential environment.
Community is important and a great way to have and be a part of a great community is through peer groups. So, find a peer group, figure out the roles and the part you want to play. Find the people that you can teach and learn from and have a great life!
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