“This event was all about mindful connections. After everyone was able to say their ‘hellos’ – their cell phones went right in the basket for the rest of the evening!” – Katie
As a counselor, my business is small, intimate and one-on-one. Yet I also know that community is an important part of keeping my practice alive and thriving.
With the help and support of some amazing people in my business development group, I put on an event called Mindful Connections in November at Red Rocks Country Club. The social and educational event was by invitation only. I sought out family, friends, and professionals in my circle, and their significant others, to spend an evening in Morrison enjoying a fine dining experience while learning a little about… connections!
Now this was not a therapeutic group or therapy by any means, just a fun way for people to get to know me and see me in person!
This event was about connecting with others (new friends, old friends, partners) and yourself. I put together some demonstrations about how to “unglue” yourself from your phone, really connect, make eye contact, listen, and be present.
I also had some volunteers demonstrate what it’s like to use all of our senses to find mindfulness. Just think about it… Take a deep breath through your nose. These mindful moments, when practiced, become habit. And, our habits become our everyday lives. I hope through connective events such as this one, we were able to think a little bit differently together, if only for an evening!!!
The event was fun, full of laughs, and a different way to connect with others!
If you are a therapist or social worker by trade and venturing into private practice, I can tell you that entrepreneurship comes with its ups and downs.
There is sometimes so much freedom and other times, many challenges. One of the best ways for a counselor to keep their practice alive, I’ve found, is to continually connect with others (mindfully of course!). I look for genuine connections. And, to do that, I am mindful. See how that works? Haha!
At this event, we were able to interact in a fun way that broke down the first wall of our collective “egos” and put us all in a mode of being in childlike play. Fun!! We authentically had a great time together whether we were first meeting or continuing a relationship. Support from a professional group is a great thing to have and when you enjoy the people in the group… even better.
My recommendation? Find groups that make you feel good when you’re with them! If you feel totally anxious and terrified every time you have to attend a meeting (or gasp!) a social with them… maybe try something new. A good professional group experience should leave you feeling totally listened to and that the time just flies. Learning a few new things and getting some great introductions are other benefits of a professional group.
Just remember, when you’re trying out a group, immerse yourself! Put your phone down (please!). I actually wrote about this very topic on my blog. And, try to really listen. One of my favorite ways is to ask open ended questions such as: “What brings you here?” Asking questions like these helps broaden the conversation and might even allow for a funny tidbit of how they actually got there today (i.e. well, you wouldn’t believe it, but…).