Sharing hopes and dreams is a vulnerable pursuit. (We know.) It can be hard to tell if it’s a safe environment to share our deepest. It can be hard to tell just how much we have been invited to share. Vulnerability is complicated.
It can be easy to hide behind endless Pinteresting to find decoration and recipe ideas and let the conversation be an afterthought. The brave women in attendance and the conversation that is to ensure are the most important part of The Brave Collective.That’s why we put together a little guide to help lead brave conversations.
The 5 Basic Elements to Brave Collective Conversations
1. Find a brave
Share about the one brave thing that you are going to focus on for the next six months.
(If you need a little help choosing something brave, in the Fall 2014 issue of Hello, Darling magazine Mandy Arioto talks about the process of choosing her Brave Thing … may you find yourself inspired by her journey.)
2. Unpack and give
Talk about why you chose that particular brave. Give your friends around the table a chance to experience a little more of you than you might normally share.
Things might get hard along the way. Pursuing a brave thing might not turn out as expected. Speaking truth over one another with words that start like, “This is what I see in you … .” Encourage one another to keep going or to start over if someone realizes their brave wasn’t the right one for this season of their life.
There are lots of things to celebrate when it comes to sharing a table. Celebrate that you are at the table, celebrate the journey you are on together and the commitment you have made to show up in each other’s lives. Successes and failures are both a part of the greatest of journeys — toast to it all.
The idea is to meet four times over the next six months. Each conversation will take a different angle, but the first meeting focuses on selecting a brave, and speaking words of encouragement to each other to begin the journey full of heart.
The Conversation at Meeting No. 1
The first meeting of The Brave Collective is about new beginnings, about being vulnerable, and about a step, however small, toward the future.
Around your table you might be surrounded by kindred friends who know each other well, there may be new faces sitting with anticipation on their faces, there may be women who aren’t feeling exceptionally brave. No matter the atmosphere, we suggest easing the conversation toward brave things.
Something like this might make things more comfortable:
Before you meet
Use the Brave Collective Invites we created for you, and talk to each person individually to make sure they know that everyone is committing to pursuing one brave thing at this meal.
Welcome everyone to the table
Thank everyone for showing up and joining The Brave Collective. Let each woman know you invited her on purpose, because she is someone you want to journey alongside through bravery the next six months. Explain why you were inspired to host a Brave Collective.
Break the ice
At the beginning of the meal, have everyone introduce themselves and tell the story of when and where they were born. This is a chance to learn the early beginnings of the women around the table. Ask questions, comment on commonalities, receive each person’s stories.
As the meal continues, ask each person to tell the bravest thing they have ever done. It turns out that bravery is inside each of us, woven into our stories. We have found courage grows when it is shared, inciting bravery in others. This will inspire and bond you to the women in your Brave Collective.
Commit to one brave thing
This can feel like a weighty moment of truth. First, assure anyone wary that every act of bravery – no matter the size – is valued at The Brave Collective. Then acknowledge committing to brave things is vulnerable. The Brave Collective is a safe place to try, ask for encouragement, succeed and fail.
As each person tells of their brave pursuit and describes why they chose it, use the opportunity to ask questions. Then take a moment to encourage that person. One of the most powerful thing we can hear is what others see in us. Be generous with statements about what you see in the women in your Brave Collective.
Put it in writing
Use the Brave Cards we created for each woman to write down her brave pursuits. (Bonus: Use the back to write down everyone else’s brave to remember, pray for and encourage the other women choosing brave things.)
To commemorate the beginning of something new, Brave Collectives across the US are using the same toast to set the tone for their brave pursuits. Print a Brave Collective Toast for each person to read from and take home as encouragement.
Before you leave
Take a photo of your Brave Collective with your braves and post with the #bravecollective.
The Brave Collective should meet four times over six months. We’ll update this Conversation Guide for future meetings soon.
The Conversation at Meeting No. 2
The second meeting of The Brave Collective is about failures and successes, it’s about being honest about the journey.
Around the table you might have someone who is experiencing such amazing success and growth that she can hardly remain seated. You might have someone who has barely taken baby steps, unable to move forward because of fear, distractions or the demands of life. You might have someone whose brave is such an extension of themselves they don’t have much to say. You may have someone who has tried valiantly and faced opposition at every turn.
This is a night to see everyone at the table, because at The Brave Collective, everyone is welcome, just as they are.
Begin with a moment of silence. Encourage each mom to take a breath, because breathing helps us stop, focus and be present. Let people breathe out the hectic nature of the day and week. Breathe out the hesitation to come out of fear of being compared to the women around the table.
With eyes still closed, ask every woman to think about someone they are thankful for, someone who helped them get to this moment, someone who helped them be brave. This will help members of the group get outside of themselves for a moment – to think about others, the others around the table.
Have everyone open their eyes and mention who they are thankful for and how that person has helped them be brave.
Call out the vulnerability
Being in the process of a pursuit – being in the middle – is vulnerable. Acknowledge this in front of the group. Let them women in the group know they are valued because they showed up. Let them know that their value has nothing to do with their ability to achieve. The Brave Collective isn’t about accomplishing a goal, but of sharing ourselves and encouraging others. Those things are vulnerable.
Share successes and failures
Have everyone share a success and failure of their Brave Collective journey. Encourage people to bring up things that were unexpected.
Call out what you see
End the meeting by having everyone call out what they see in each other. Sometimes we don’t know what we have until someone else calls it out in us. Speak words to each other about the qualities you see in the women around your table.
Support each other
Make an effort to show up. Find out dates of important milestones. Pursue brave things together. Get dates on the calendar to support each other between official meetings.
The Conversation at Meeting No. 3
The third meeting of The Brave Collective is about remembering why we originally began pursuing our Brave in the first place. It’s about being encouragement.
This is the point of the journey where it can be hard to keep going. What started with a passion may have become a burden. What seemed life-changing may feel not be meeting expectations. Or, maybe this has been such an amazing life-altering experience that you feel like you aren’t the same person as when the whole journey began.
This is the night to inspire everyone to finish well.
Encouragement / discouragement scale
Have each person rate themselves from 1-5 on the encouragement / discouragement scale where 1 is completely discouraged and 5 is top-of-the-world encouraged. Remind everyone that every response is valid and welcome at The Brave Collective.
Call out challenges
Have each person call out the hardest part of pursuing their brave. Has it been an internal struggle? An external struggle? Acknowledge for each person that the struggle is real.
Own your successes
Have each person call out the moment on their journey that has made them most proud about themselves? Sometimes we need to see and own the good in ourselves. Create an atmosphere of affirming in each other the triumphs of the journey.
How has pursuing your brave changed you? Have each person answer this question. Celebrate together the ways each person has grown – the hard growth, the fun growth, the slow growth, the unexpected growth.
In the last chapter of The Brave Collective, what would you like to do to feel you have finished well? Encourage each person to make a mini-goal for themselves for this last leg. Give the long view that this is the final stretch. Ask how you can encourage each other to the very end.
The Conversation at Meeting No. 4
The last meeting of The Brave Collective is about celebrating.
This is the end of the journey. This is the part where everyone’s journey is esteemed. Around the table there will be those who are excited about where they have come. There will be those who are discouraged with the outcome – with their performance or with the way things worked out. There will be those whose accomplishment is showing up because sometimes our best laid plans simply don’t seem to work out.
This is the moment where to celebrate journeying together, even though everyone was on a different journey.
Everyone should give a status update about their original brave, what that turned into, and where they ended.
What did you learn about yourself while pursuing your brave? What beliefs about yourself or your life changed while you were on the journey? Did you learn anything about God?
Brave elicits brave
What other brave things did you pursue during this season of intentionally choosing bravery? We’ve noticed that when we are focused on brave choices, brave opportunities seem to come our way. Were there any whose call you chose to accept this last season?
Whatever that means for your group. Maybe it’s confetti. Maybe it’s a luscious dessert. Maybe it’s a night out. Take moments to appreciate each other and thank each other for the journey you have been on together.
After The Brave Collective
Intense bonds have formed. You’ve received each other. You’ve given yourselves to each other. You know intimate fears. You’re connected.
Let the relationships continue. Lean on each other in the future.
And maybe, consider starting your own Brave Collectives with other women.
When You Host a Brave Collective
When you host a Brave Collective you’re joining women everywhere in living into our fullest. We’ll be hosting The Brave Collective in Denver, NYC, Nashville and Los Angeles. Follow along on the Hello, Daring blog, YouTube channel and Pinterest as we highlight women around the country joining the movement into bravery.
If you’re planning to host a Brave Collective send us an email at email@example.com. We’d love to encourage you, answer questions and send you a free copy of the Fall 2014 issue of Hello, Darling magazine where we launched The Brave Collective.
The Brave Collective Curator
Dalley Galuzzi is long known as a filler of hearts and souls. She was an obvious choice when we were looking for someone to help put the dream of women living bravely into reality.
She gave life and legs to this idea and put together Pinterest boards to help you plan your gatherings, but more importantly, she’s available by email to answer questions, provide encouragement and share stories as you join The Brave Collective.
Find Dalley at firstname.lastname@example.org
We introduced The Brave Collective in the Fall 2014 issue of Hello, Darling magazine. We discuss everything you need to know to host The Brave Collective. If you didn’t get a copy of the issue and would like your own, you can subscribe to get Hello, Darling in your mailbox every season.