Monday, April 6, 2009

Two Exercises to Get You Thinking (the start of Nurture Network)

I received the nicest email over the weekend from someone wondering how I got started in my "career". While responding back to her, I realized the thing that prompted me to start Whisker Graphics might be of some use to others. I've been thinking of sharing this for some time, so here goes...

Early in 2008 I was feeling frustrated with the conversations I was having with other women. I thought I would pull my hair out if one more conversation focused on a home remodel, kids, or kids sports activities. I started wondering who were these women in my community BK (before kids)? What did they do? What had they aspired to? What was laying dormant in them now while they were meeting the day-to-day needs of everyone else? I'm no leading-edge thinker, so I figured if I was having these thoughts, so were other women. Maybe we just didn't feel comfortable venturing beyond the safe/average/normal/boring topics. Who knows. But, while at a kid's birthday party (of course) I expressed my frustrations with a few other moms. Lo and behold, they felt the same! I made a few phone calls to see who wanted to play and Nurture Network was born.

I wanted Nurture Network to be about supporting (nurturing) each other into thinking beyond day-to-day tasks. To help each other expand and explore what "lights us up". To share resources. To help each other stay on track of our dreams. To inspire each other. So far, I think its working. :) We meet the first Monday of each month (it used to be every 2 weeks, but that was a bigger time commitment than some members wanted) for approx 2 hours. We rotate hosting with the requirement being minimal effort expended (we each bring our own beverage and there is no pressure to provide snacks) because this is not about entertaining or one more thing to do, but about taking a couple of hours with women we trust and focusing on ourselves. We've been meeting for about a year now. The group is about to grow to 6 members. We feel this is a good size to provide enough time, intimacy and variety.

If you want to play along, grab a notebook/journal.

Here are the two exercises I assigned at our first meeting. Best done in order.
Exercise #1- Rampage of Appreciation -- See this post here for guidelines. This is to get you in a good feeling place to do Exercise #2.
Exercise #2- At the top of a page write "Wouldn't It Be Nice If..." and then write 50 things.

On my "Wouldn't It Be Nice" list was "I had a successful line of stationery". (Also included was "I had new pots and pans" and "I lived in the present moment more often". I don't have new pots and pans yet, but I am much more present than I used to be.)

The following meeting I told each member to pick 2-3 things from their "Nice" list and see what they wanted to put into action on those items. I didn't tell anyone that their "Nice" list was going to be an action list (so act like you don't know). The purpose was to have each person feel free and dream.

Anyway, that's how my current "career" of Whisker Graphics started. But the real purpose of this post is to see if you'd like me to include future Nurture Network blog entries so maybe we could create a virtual Nurture Network. Though we couldn't really meet and talk, maybe I could share exercises (of the mental variety) we are doing or books we are reading or info on how we run the meetings in case you would want to start a local Nurture Network of your own.

Leave a comment and let me know if you want more of this stuff. In any case, I hope you have fun making your lists!


Erin said...

Yes, this is a good idea. I think lots of people read blogs to get inspiration along with seeing a bit of someone's world, somewhere else in the world.

It would be interesting to see if bouncing ideas off each other and getting feedback would be the impetus to put ideas into action. For me that might be bordering on miraculous :)

Shooting Starchild said...

I would love to read Nurture Network posts! I'm going to try out the Appreciation/Nice To activities.

Erin S. said...

Thanks for the post! I love it! I think you should definitely have more! What about having a virtual Nurture Network meetup every so often on Twitter? I like the idea of making the list. If you don't know what you define success as, how will you ever get there?

Beky said...

I feel like our worlds are the same, but we are countries apart. Like yourself, a stay-at-home mum. Wanted to do more in life, so I have only just started my stationery business in the last couple of months.
The Nurture Network is a great and sane idea. I would be interested in the virtual nurture network.

laura said...

I just found your blog on Stephmodo. I think your Nurture Network is an amazing idea and I'd love to hear and see more of it!

Margaret said...

Hey, Beky bounced me your way, I love the idea of the nurture network. When I get a moment over the next few days I will try to do the activities!