Do you celebrate your successes or dwell on your mistakes?
Do you have a group of trusted people you can tell how awesome you are?
Brag & Biz
About a year and a half ago, I was at a women's networking event and was listening to a speaker talk about how women don't brag about their successes as much as men. We tend to dwell on our failures and disappointments more, are harder on ourselves and more than anything, don't want to come off as cocky or arrogant.
I was looking around dumbfounded and realized that I was definitely not in this category. I stood up and said that for the whole year previously I had met with a fellow coach weekly and we high-fived half the meeting saying what we had done in the previous week to grow our business. I met with my friend, The Technicolor Priestess, twice a month via Google Hangout, and Instant Messaged regularly, about how we landed a new contract, created a great campaign and met financial goals.
If you aren't going to high-five and fist bump yourself, who do you think is gonna do it?
The women in that room clapped and said it was awesome. I felt sad and empowered at the same time. I went home that night and decided I was creating a formal group. I spent two months reading books on creating mastermind groups, book clubs, and communities and came up with my own requirements for what was to become
Brag & Biz
I highly recommend starting your own brag group. It doesn't have to be all women. That wasn’t even my intention, it just turned out that way. We've been meeting almost a year now, and it is one of the accomplishments I'm most proud of in 2015. It is an important part of my week, I get feedback I want and need and have the opportunity to say how I kicked all sorts of butt. Making yourself find at least one thing to brag about, even if the week is tough, is important.
I had very strict guidelines for the type of people I wanted in my group. I have friends that are business owners that didn’t fit this criterion. It wasn't a typical networking group. I needed specific things, and if I was creating it, I could do what I wanted to and make it suit me. I've probably hurt people's feelings by not inviting them and have told some people that have asked that they don't fit, and consider starting their own.
Make it work for you.
Our group meets virtually on a weekly basis and in person once per month. We also try to meet socially when we can fit it in. We all have quarterly, short-term and long-term (1-3 years) goals.
- Minimum of 3 people, but never more than 6-8. We've had 3-4, and this number works out well. Any more than four and we would need more than 25 minutes on Mondays.
- The group is vaulted. Trust and confidentiality are essential. What is said at B&B stays in the vault.
- Committed to the group and the meetings. When I was in Mexico for two weeks, I didn't participate. I missed it and have vowed not to do that again.
- Similar success level in our business. It may not stay that way, but that’s how it started.
- Complimentary, but not competitive talents. Our group is made up of a branding officer and website designer, instructional designer and me. We are all speakers and authors or soon-to-be-authors.
- Welcome accountability.
- Our business could not be supplemental income or a hobby. This was imperative to me. Someone that could rely solely on a spouse and didn't need the income was not going to be able to relate to us in the way we needed.
- Wanted to significantly grow their business.
- Wasn't “playing at business” or just working on their passion.
- Invested in coaching in some format and understands that professional development is an investment and not an expense.
- Read business books for fun.
- Understands that the science and study of business are important to be successful.
- Wouldn’t get jealous or down on themselves if another group member was killin’ it with success one week.
How we meet is consistent and semi-formal. Since I'm the leader, I prepare the agendas and finalize the monthly topic.
- Meet virtually over Zoom web conferencing on Mondays for a maximum of 25 minutes.
- Use a Google Spreadsheet that everyone updates throughout the week. We list our Quarterly Goals, Monthly Priorities, and Top Three Tasks for the week.
- Start with our Brags. Then review the prior week's tasks, if we got them done and if not, why not, and say our Top Tasks for the upcoming week.
- Meet face to face the first Monday of the month for two hours at rotating locations.
- Start with our biggest brags of the month. Then move on to a coaching or reading ‘aha' for the month. Review Top Priorities of the last month and lessons learned, any struggles we had and how we could do something better the next time.
- Discuss our Top Priorities for the new month and Top Three Tasks for that week.
Review quarterly goals.
- Monthly Topic – this has ranged from referral networks, packages/bundles, pricing, conferences and speaking opportunities, branding, dealing with demanding clients, and events and launches.
Once a month we also try to do something socially, but we still always end up bragging about something 🙂
“Brag & Biz is my coaching squad, cheerleading squad, and sounding board all rolled into one. I am pretty good at celebrating my wins, even the small ones, but in my head. Being part of B & B has helped me set and monitor my business goals. Meeting every Monday AM helps me set a positive, productive kick-butt tone for my week. I’ve learned from their successes and their stumbles, and they’ve learned from mine. We’ve all elevated our businesses in the last year. They’re accountability, support, guidance, and friendship definitely contributed to my business growth in the past year, and I believe it’s reciprocal.” – Wendy Gates Corbett
“Being a part of Brag & Biz has helped me in so many ways. Probably the most significant way is in accountability. Knowing that I have a Monday morning meeting keeps me focused on the tasks that I have planned for myself. That’s not to say that I get everything done every week but just knowing that someone is checking in on my progress helps me to stay on track more times than not. The bragging part of Brag & Biz is something that I struggled with in the beginning, but it’s so important as a business owner to celebrate your successes, even the small ones. By taking the time to celebrate, you motivate yourself to keep going. Of course having a couple of people like Wendy and Marcey in your corner helps too.” – Amy Howard
Your group doesn't have to be business owners. It doesn't have to be same-sex. It should definitely have a different name. What it can be is whatever you want it to be, in a way that makes you feel uplifted and powerful and gives you the opportunity to gain valuable feedback, brainstorm on ideas, hold yourself accountable and most important of all, provide a platform to high-five and fist-bump about how awesome you are.