Why Guild Has Such an Immersive Format
The new Guild course on creating an aligned and empowering social circle kicks off tomorrow, April 1, 2022 at 9am Pacific time… so about 21 hours from the time I’m posting this.
I’m really looking forward to the experience. A solid month of daily calls with the delightful members of this community is a real treat. 🙂
If you haven’t already seen the invitation video for Guild, I encourage you to watch it now. It’s only 22 minutes (11 minutes if you watch at double speed – click the gear icon to set the speed). It’s not a salesy video – rather it shares the intentions and purpose of the course and why certain decisions were made.
Guild’s Intensive Format
Guild’s format is the most intensive format we’ve ever used for a course.
Isn’t it a bit over-the-top to be hosting 2-3 hour Zoom calls every day for a whole month, including weekends?
That’s 60-90 hours of time together – about 5x as much time as we’d normally spend together in a 3-day workshop. By comparison our audio courses are typically 15-25 hours of material.
I’m well aware that this format takes time, and I know that not everyone is willing to accept this kind of invitation. Even though the recordings are included for everyone too, this course is really intended as a live experience because of all the interactivity and practice we’ll be doing together.
Moreover, the price for this course is higher than the launch prices for previous courses, which will further reduce the number of people willing to sign up for it. But I think the bigger commitment for most people is going to be the time factor.
That means we’re likely to have a smaller group for this course than for our previous ones.
Our previous courses all had 300+ people in them. Guild has 52 signed up so far. There’s always a surge of last-day sign-ups, so it’s hard to guess where that will land. It wouldn’t surprise me if we double it, but size-wise my expectations are modest.
Why This Format?
I choose this format because I genuinely feel that it’s the right choice for the types of changes and upgrades people want to make in this area of their lives. I knew that it would likely mean fewer people enrolling, but I want the experience to be a match for the people who are really ready for it.
In reviewing people’s feedback about what they wanted, it became clear that helping people improve their social lives is going to take some real investment of time, energy, and focus. This is one of the hardest areas of life to upgrade, and many people have some entrenched stuckness.
I recognize this pattern all too well because I had some entrenched stuckness when I was in my first marriage. My social circle reinforced that stuckness. Even when I could see the situation for what it was, moving beyond it was extremely difficult – with repeated failed attempts. My social circle acted like glue, holding me in a place I didn’t want to be. If I shared what I actually wanted to experience, people would respond as if I was threatening the status quo.
During those years I read some books on relationship transitions such as Uncoupling and Coming Apart, which helped me understand why social transitions are so difficult. I also learned how these transitions actually happen when they succeed.
This might sound strange to say, but the truth is that usually people don’t succeed in transforming their social lives, even when they consciously try to do so.
When a significant social transformation does occur, it may be more accurate to say that people are rescued.
I’m not saying that some outside hero swoops in to save them per se. What normally happens when people undergo social transitions is that they start engaging with a different group of people on the side. Basically they form a new reference group – a group that gets a chance to know them as someone other than their old self.
This new reference group helps people construct a new self-image, especially an image that cannot fit into the old reality. And eventually the old reality breaks.
Here’s another simple truth. In order for people to significantly improve their social lives, they usually have to change jobs or businesses. If they aren’t experiencing what they want socially, their work relationships are almost certain to be part of the problem. This can be very hard for people to accept. From the outside looking in, this observation tends to be obvious because your work has a major effect on your social life. From the inside looking out, hardly anyone wants to acknowledge this.
Creating a New Social Reality
People don’t just transition out of a stuck social situation. Almost always they need something to transition to. They don’t just run away from what isn’t working. They don’t leap off a cliff. They leap to a new ledge.
Was it a coincidence that the same year I started doing in-person workshops was the same year that my first wife and I separated? No, those events were surely linked. Before that workshop we had no plans to break up. Three weeks after the 2009 workshop, we were living in different homes.
The need and the desire for change had been present for a long time. What was needed was the catalyst. Engaging with the workshop community was enough to provide a clear view of a new social reality. Once that new reality was seen, it couldn’t be unseen, and it wasn’t consistent with the old social reality.
Future workshops had similar effects on some people. Multiple people quit their jobs or broke off misaligned relationships during or immediately after attending such events.
These are exceptional cases though. For most people it takes more time to wedge them out of their stuckness.
The saddest part of doing transformational work is watching people have peak experiences that they love and then backslide into their old world of stuckness. Why do people backslide? Usually it’s because they return to the same old social reality.
Whenever I’ve had a nice leap forward in business or lifestyle, I can see that it was strongly linked with a change in my social circle. The same year I got into blogging and speaking and went through a career change, I also moved to a new city at the start of that year. I also joined Toastmasters about 6 months before I started my blog and made lots of new local friends. I completely changed my social circle, both in-person and online.
It’s fair to say that if you want to change your life, you must also change your social circle. Otherwise your old social circle will cement you right where you are. That includes your social media friends.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to eject all the people you know and start fresh. Sometimes you just need to reconfigure what you already have. But even in those cases, it’s normally an outside catalyst that initiates the reconfiguration.
Guild as a Catalyst
So the Guild course is partly intended to serve as a catalyst for people who need it to play that role for them. It’s an opportunity to experience a different social circle for a month. In that new social reality, you don’t have to be the same old self that you’ve been for years. You can explore showing up as someone closer to the person you want to be. You can even show up as a different person each day if you want and see what it’s like to engage with growth-oriented people as a new version of you.
Other people in your life may hold you fixed in the world of all your past baggage. But a new community has no need to cement you where you’ve been. We can help you return to exploration mode, reminding you that more is possible.
In fact, divergent exploration will be a big part of the Guild experience. It’s an invitation to stretch who you think you are by releasing your grip on how others expect you to be.
In this setting you no longer have to stay rooted to your old social world of expectations.
Guild is a space where you have the permission and the invitation to explore aspects of yourself that haven’t been getting enough expression.
I can tell you from many years of experience that this community is very encouraging and supportive of change. People tend to talk each other into (rather than out of) growth experiences. We question the status quo and lean into the winds of change.
What is it like to have a social circle like that? You’re invited to see for yourself what it’s like by exploring with us together for a full month.
Just be aware that accepting this kind of invitation may very well crack open the weak parts of your old social world. That includes a misaligned job or a misaligned relationship. It surely takes some strength of character to deliberately welcome such experiences. I know how hard it can be to have to tell someone that you care about, “This isn’t working for me anymore.” If you may be facing something similar, I feel for you. But on the other side of the transition, everyone says, “It was really tough, but it was worth it.”
That said, Guild isn’t meant to be a rough or scary experience. We’re going to make it as gentle, caring, and mutually supportive as we can. There will be a lot of CGC members going through the course too, and I know they’ll help us create a truly beautiful heartspace inside.
I would say that one of the greatest catalysts for change is trust.
In order to make a big change, you have to trust that something better awaits you on the other side.
So the main reason for this intensive 30-day format is actually because of trust. For many people it takes time to build up enough trust – in themselves, in other people, in life, etc – to feel ready to shift into a new reality.
This is doubly true when it comes to our social lives. People can’t just leave old relationships behind, even if those relationships are severely misaligned. Some people will even stay in abusive relationships for years if they don’t trust that something better awaits them.
In order to transition, people need to see enough of a new reality that they can trust. They need to see the new ledge they’re stepping onto.
A new social circle helps to build this trust. You could say that it helps to restore trust that was lost. When people no longer trust that their old social circles will support them in the ways they want to be supported, a new reference group must play that role for them.
And that’s the role that Guild is intended to play. It’s an invitation to restore your trust in life – that this is indeed a reality in which you have the freedom to reinvent yourself. And when you do undergo such a transition, you will land in a space of support, not abandonment.
So I invite you to think of the Guild course (and the community you’ll find inside) as your launch pad and your landing pad for the next phase of your life. Our role is to help you build trust and clarity with that next phase, so you can fully welcome it in.
We begin at 9am on Friday, April 1st. Will you join us? ❤️