The Happiness Group as described by Marci Shimoff

Posted Saturday, July 30th, 2011. Filed Under My Daily Dose

Dear Friends,

Who are the five people in your life you spend the most time with? Whether you like it or not, they are your unspoken “happiness tribe” (or unhappiness tribe). Since you catch the emotions of the people around you like you catch their colds, you are continually being affected by their vibes.

That’s why I am a huge fan of consciously forming a happiness tribe, a mastermind or support group of people who are committed to supporting your greatest growth and happiness in life. (This doesn’t mean a group of people who allow you to tell your “story” over and over and wallow in your problems).

I learned long ago the power of a support group when I read about the concept in Napoleon Hill’s classic book Think and Grow Rich. Hill defines a mastermind group as the “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.” Hill believed a mastermind group actually multiplies an individual’s brain power and produces positive emotions as well as success in activity.

Napoleon Hill worked with Andrew Carnegie and later his associate Charles M. Schwab to unlock the keys to their success. Both men began as manual workers and created their own huge steel companies, eventually becoming two of the richest men in the world. Carnegie and Schwab held regular brainstorming sessions and credited their success to the power of the mastermind.

I’ve been in some form of a mastermind or support group continuously since 1987, and they’ve been key in my life. The first one formed my when my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend suggested we create a group to help me through my difficult break-up. I went for it and it worked!

In fact, the six of us met every week for 12 years until I moved away. We supported each other through many life changes and through achieving our most cherished goals, and we still get together whenever I visit. (My ex and his new girlfriend got married later that year and both continue to be dear friends of mine).

For women, support groups offer a particular fringe benefit. When women share their experiences, or “tend and befriend,” it raises their levels of oxytocin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps them handle stress more effectively.

Today, I prefer a different name for support and mastermind groups — happiness groups, because that’s their fundamental purpose — to support you in experiencing greater levels of happiness.

Here’s my recommendation for creating and sustaining a happiness group for yourself — starting today:

1. Find three or more people you’d like to be in a happiness group with.
2. Decide to meet or connect by phone once a week or every other week.
3. Select a group leader for each week’s meeting who will be responsible for moving the meeting along.
4. Use this format for the meeting (until you evolve one that works best for your group):
◦ Allow each person 2 minutes to recount their “wins” of the week.
◦ Allow each person 5 minutes to share “what’s up” with them currently.
◦ Allow each person 2 minutes to state their intention for the coming week.
◦ End with an inspirational thought or quote offered by that week’s group leader.

It’s that simple. Try it and see how you experience more happiness and success in your life.

Happily yours,

Marci Shimoff

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