Earlier this week, I saw a post on Jen Hatmaker’s Facebook page that stopped me to stare for a minute. She was with five other women on a boat, bundled up in sweaters, smiling with so much peace. I have to admit, for a moment, I felt myself long for that. I loved the image, because I love Jen, and love seeing women support one another, then I moved on.
Yesterday, those same women went live together, addressing the very thing I felt.
They explained that every January they get together for a little “friend’s retreat” of sorts. Each year when they post photos, they receive comments from women all over the web. Women who, like me, see their pics and long for deeper, more consistent community with other women. So they decided to hop on a quick live broadcast to talk about what it really looks like. They shared the story of how they got started on this friendship road they are on, and I LOVED it. I loved it for so many reasons, but mostly because it’s not what we so easily assume.
It doesn’t usually happen organically.
It’s awkward to get started. Someone has to go first. And unless you live across the street from one another (I’m looking at you Holly & Jennifer!),it’s hard to maintain. Kristen was feeling lonely, so she looked around at the women she knew and intentionally invited a handful of them to jump into deeper community with one another. Some said yes, some did not and some invited friends along. Six years later, it’s become a smaller group of tight-knit women who “talk” daily via Voxer and see each other once a year at their little retreat. They shared that the most important factors in keeping it going are two things: 1. Showing up 2. Being totally honest – sharing everything.
It was such a beautiful example to us all.
I know for me, building a business is a lonely job. (Yes, even when the business is about connecting women!) So outside of throwing the monthly GNOs to connect you with your girlfriends, I’ve intentionally hired women to work with who could become friends, and they have. This year, Scott and I started a small group with friends we want more intentional community with. (a few of those ladies pictured above) I also started a mentorship group with business friends to meet consistently with the intention of showing up bravely to support each other in our journeys.
Not one single part of it happened organically.
It took work. Each group took courage. It took saying, “Hey, this is what I’m looking to create. You in?” and being willing to live with the answer.
With life moving at the speed of light, getting quality time together with girlfriends, that intentionally takes you below the surface, is so much easier said than done. Even when you love each other dearly. Sure, it’s somewhat easy to meet for lunch or dinner every now and then. But it’s the daily, showing up and truth-telling that makes all the difference.
It’s the going first.
It’s work to build. It doesn’t happen over night. It’s guaranteed to be a little uncomfortable, to hurt at times, and to be hard to maintain.
But it is worth it.
If you want a meaningful community of women in your life, pay attention to that. Take ownership of it. Be brave. Be patient. Go first.
to more love,
(Of course, this is the whole idea behind our Girls Night Outs. I want to make it just a little bit easier to put at least one consistent time a month on the calendar with your girlfriends. I’m doing all I can to make the first step easier, but it’s up to you to take it and join us at a GNO. I hope you will.)