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“‘Presence’ is the mother-load of transformation” — Michael Blas
Circling Masterminds live at the intersection of Authentic Relating, entrepreneurship and social change. They are like a Mastermind but with an over-arching relational context. It’s like a Mastermind with more connection intent; or maybe a Circling group with more developmental intent. I have been running these groups for 5 years and they have been both super-fun and super-transformational for all of us, including a men’s group that has been running weekly now for 4+ years. The invitation here is to stay in connection through (or maybe because) of the real-world challenges of our lives.
What is the purpose of a Circling Mastermind (or “CM”)?
“You don’t need to get what you want if you can express what you want” – Strephon Kaplan-Williams
- Are you looking for a “band of brothers” (and sisters) who know you, who care for you, and are rooting for your success?
- Have you experienced Authentic Relating and Circling practices, become excited at their potential for personal and social transformation, and want to apply it to “real life”?
- Do you find that knowing people over time makes you feel safer and allows you to go deeper with them?
- Do you have personal goals (money, love, health, passion) that you KNOW are within reach, and yet you are your own worst enemy?
Circling Masterminds happens in small, closed groups of people who are committed to their own development, to the development of the group as a whole, and to causing transformation in the world. They are also (usually) very fun.
Why closed groups? Because to make deep changes in our lives, and to grow in wisdom and discernment as relational leaders, we need ongoing support from people who know us. If you are reading this, you probably know that Authentic Relating (“AR”) practices are extremely powerful for creating connection, and from there transformation. The problem, is that authenticity is scary and AR can be triggering. Ironically, it is by moving through the inevitable triggers and metabolizing those lessons, that real growth is achieved. Since most human problems are relational problems, we have discovered that clearing the issues that inevitably arise in the group dynamic is the “golden ticket” to development, or transformation.
You can get more context on Circling Masterminds, and the various processes, here.
- CM happens in closed, committed, invitation-only groups. We don’t accept drop-ins. Meetings are weekly for 90 to 120 minutes (depending on the size of the group), and are usually limited to 6 people plus the leader. Group timings are set by the group’s preference, and are optimized for North America day/evening, European afternoon and evening, and Australia / New Zealand morning times.
- Billing is handled through Marco’s Patreon Account which bills on the 1st of each month (regardless of when you join) and can be canceled any time. You join a group by coming to an introduction or booking a one-on-one session with me (see below), and then committing to Patreon $60/mth (for scholarships, write to me). Once you have funded your commitment, I will try and find a group that works for people (via Doodle for a new group or direct email if you are joining an existing group). If we can’t find a timing that works for you I will refund your commitment.
- You should not join if you cannot commit to participating in most of the sessions. One-off absences are okay, but please communicate. Groups deepen over time so it is optimal if you intend at least a 3-month commitment, but I understand that life changes so its fine to come for just one monthly cycle.
- If a meeting occurs on a major holiday, it is skipped. Some months will have 5 meetings.
- Circling Masterminds are more fun with your friends! If you want to enroll your own group and just use me to kickoff the first 4-12 sessions, write to me.
“Trust that people move towards wholeness, and we just have to follow” — Alexis Shepperd
CM’s inherits all the principles and practices of traditional circling, except that we pay more attention to time constraints, we ask for everyone’s voice in each round (specifically in check-ins, the aliveness round, and check-outs), and we encourage the exploration of developmental goals, be they personal, political, or business-related.
Prior experience with circling is optimal, but not required. There are many contexts for circling (described in the Circling Guide), but the contexts below are a good start in becoming masterful at circling:
- We make the best attempt possible to show up with truth and care in all our relationships, in and out of the circle. These two dimensions need to be balanced. High-truth and low-care is called being an asshole, whereas high-care and low-truth is co-dependence. In CM we like to push our own and each other’s edges a bit more than in traditional circling, but this must be balanced with care and vulnerability.
- The invitation in all circling is to practice relational leadership, but this invitation is especially valued in CM. Leadership in circling, is done by demonstrating empathy and vulnerability.
- “Own your experience”. What this means is although it may appear that someone is doing something that is upsetting you, ultimately the fact of your being upset reveals something about you, most probably some developmental trauma, and hence is an opportunity for growth. Note that most people are not able to immediately see this or metabolize trauma the moment it occurs, our initial human reaction is almost always to blame others for our distress, and to distance, defend or counter-attack. The Circling commitment is to stay in connection to whatever extent possible. This provides the most fertile environment for growth, whatever side of the triggering you are on.
- Coaching, story-telling, even advice-giving are permissible in CM, provided they are wanted by the circlee (the person currently being circled). However, there is a shared agreement to return to in-the-moment presence and feeling-processing if tension occurs. This “circling consciousness” is the root context of CM.
- Finally, remember that usually people just need to be witnessed, or given space. This can be done silently or non-verbally, so if you do nothing but that, you will be fine. When in doubt, do nothing. Circling is more of a presence practice than a “technique” or a communication model, such as NVC.
Groups renew monthly and can be canceled at any time. There are usually new groups forming or spots available in already-active groups. If you want to join a group, come to an Introduction (if one is available), and if not book a 20-30 minute get-acquainted call with me. If you are looking for a high-level description of MC and the different processes, see here.
If you have any questions, write to me.
This 25 minute video will give you a good context of Circling Masterminds and the work that we do there. Enjoy!