Creating Safe Circles

How to create safe circle?

We all need a safe circle. It is not non-discretionary.

Focus on this in the coming year! You deserve to.

A safe circle is a place of care, protection, holding, and support for us. Building this for ourselves is an act of self-love and leadership.

As a psychologist and therapist: I am privy to plenty of disintegrations. I am seeing increased social fragmentation. Families feel challenged to take care of each other. People are running at a frenetic pace in their careers. Youngsters with mental health diagnoses struggle. Families are breaking up with divorce and intergenerational clashes.

As a coach: I am privy to leaders’ health challenges and performance stresses. Employees are burnt out. Leaders have lost their mojo and look for purpose. Employees are looking to ignite their passion and purpose too. Entrepreneurs worry to take a leap. Investors put unimaginable pressures on results and impact. Hence it is very important and impactful to create our own safe circles.

Why a safe circle?

A safe circle is essential for our sanity, connection, growth, and ease.

Not having a safe circle puts our health at risk. It causes mental breakdowns, and our nervous system is in a constant state of agitation.

We deserve better.

Here are seven ideas for creating your safe circle.

Check how many of these ways are thriving in your life today.

1. Know who your friends are

There are friends for a reason and friends for all seasons. We need more of the latter. Friends are the web of support, care, and presence in challenging times. It is reciprocal and you need to take care of the balance of giving and receiving in these relationships. Friends are our new family.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Make time for meaningful conversations
  • Be present at important events of joy and sorrow. Thoughtfully contribute to this circle.
  • Be discerning of who is in our friends’ circle. Save yourself from lip service
  • Save yourself from those who only take from you and those with toxic styles and habits.

2. Build a second circle of support

These include acquaintances, neighbors, and those who are not in your private circle. This circle supports us in emergencies, and they extend their networks to assist us. Those of us who are introverts need to invest here and grow this muscle.

Dos and Don’ts

  • Consciously do small acts of kindness.
  • Neighborhood events and socializing serve as glue in these relationships.
  • Keeping in touch through visits and messages
  • Do not only take favors, give enough too.

3. Invest in family life

Technology, the busyness of life, and social media overuse have wedged a gap in the way families connect. Screens rule. Careers rule. Flashy events rule.

Good family life is made up of other simpler elements which we ignore.

Dos and Don’ts

  • Do together- playing, eating meals, planning holidays
  • Do long conversations.
  • Choose quiet holidays over busy touristy ones.
  • Daily calls, and thoughtful gifts that matter.
  • Listening to each other’s mundane news is as significant as flashy events.
  • The caveat here is to be a giver and not only a taker or a user of family time and resources.

4. Create a web @ work

A support web holds a spider as it falls. The same is true at work. Our teams can be this web. If your team is not a healthy place, create this web outside your team.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Informally Connect with peers regularly.
  • Strike a rapport with managers or leaders. This support feeds you updates, offers solutions, and provides know-how.
  • Don’t have only agenda-based conversations at work or go to others only when you need something.
  • Maintain constant touchpoints and be of use to this web.
  • A victim mindset is unhelpful. Approach this web in a spirit of sharing and solution-orientedness.

5. Develop at least 3 mentors

These may be senior professionals who you look up to. Individuals who belong to your organization or outside of it. They may be leaders from your industry. You will need to make an explicit request for a mentoring relationship. You will need to nurture it and set up a process for it to help you. It is an intentional relationship. Mentors provide us with their networks, perspectives, and guidance. They are a supportive resource when we are stuck in professional challenges.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Requests them specifically to open doors for you.
  • Make introductions that can help them and serve them.
  • Don’t take only your problems to them. Also, take options and solutions that you can discuss with them.
  • Mentors need to see your agency and drive to support you.

6. Belong in a tribe

You must have heard the phrase ‘Your tribe decides your vibe’. Deep inside of us, we know what it is like to belong to a group that has norms, beliefs, and a philosophy. We know this because our family is also one such group. Belonging to a tribe provides structure, predictability, and safety. These are basic human needs. Today tribes are networks of like-minded people. Or individuals with shared values. They may be committed to certain passions, projects, and a way of life.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Become part of a few meaningful tribes which bring energy into your life. These could be national, international, or city-based networks.
  • Contribute to the activities of the tribe, be relevant with what you offer, and do not just be a bystander.
  • Tribes are places where you take away as much as you put in.

7. Invest in therapy and coaching

Mental health challenges are at an all-time high. I recently facilitated a session on Resilience Mastery. 90% of Q&A time was spent on emotional challenges people have. Therapists are competent to help here.

Leaders need coaches to form a support structure as they expand and grow. Coaching provides that safe space to bring in your work challenges, be provoked, and be supported at the same time.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Invest time in finding a mental health professional who you find good. Be discerning who you work with and try a few sessions before you decide to go ahead.
  • Do not continue to work with professionals when you are not seeing a tangible shift in your emotional comfort.
  • Ask around and do an exploratory conversation with a coach. There are many kinds of coaches- Life, relationship, business, transition, executive to name a few.
  • Have some conversations in your personal and professional network to ascertain what you need.
  • Do your homework and put down goals for your coaching journey. Ask enough questions before you begin.
  • Reflect on what is working for you and what is not.

You may find more about my#Leadership coaching services

In the times to come these ‘helping professionals may be one of the most significant resources you may have gotten for yourself. Find them!

Are there other ideas you have that have helped you set up your safe circle? Would love to know what you might add here about your circles.

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