By Gina Ellen, Lean In La Jolla Circle Leader and Circle Development Advisor
I joined the Lean In San Diego Network a couple years ago in order to connect with other women who share my drive for professional progress for two reasons: to help myself succeed in my career and to build my network to better assist my clients.When I first joined, I joined only the Network, not a circle, and attempted to make the meetings several times, to no avail. For months I would put a particular meeting in my calendar, but inevitably end up skipping it, as they were usually Saturday mornings and I’d prioritize something else over it time and again, simply because it was easy to do so and because I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know what to expect and whether attending would be worth it or not (if I felt like sleeping in after a long week of early mornings or going to the gym instead, for example).
Months later, the stars finally aligned just right and I gave it a try. I loved the vision of the organization and the flexibility, since I was never penalized for my lack of follow through in my involvement up to that point. Ultimately though, I saw that I was only cheating myself. During that very first meeting I attended, I met our president, Jennifer Cheung, and her passion and enthusiasm was difficult to ignore. I immediately got more involved by agreeing to attend the next meeting which was a happy hour, where Jennifer expressed to me the need for more circles to be established, and what they were all about. Needless to say Jennifer’s excitement was contagious and here we are. I run the Lean In La Jolla Circle and I absolutely love it. Here are some highlights:
- I made a group of new friends that I adore
- I get to practice my leadership skills in a pretty informal way, which is not something I have not been able to find anywhere else, especially not for free—this was perfect since I wasn’t sure if I wanted to commit to this, but the barrier to entry is so low I had nothing to lose!
- I get to share my expertise with those that really benefit from it which makes my heart happy
- I LEARN A TON from my members—Probably more than I teach!
- I stay in the present- It’s easy to get overwhelmed with work or busy with family and want to basically be a shut in at the end of the work day. We all feel this way at times. My circle meetings ALWAYS fire me up again and remind me of my drive, reviving my ambition when I need it most. I hope the same is true for all of my circle members (they keep showing up, so I’d say it’s going well!)
I’m still in the beginning phases of my business and I have a huge family, so I have 0 free time; so trust me when I say that anyone can start a circle if I can. It’s so flexible and so rewarding, I urge you to simply consider it, and I’m happy to help in any way that I can, both in starting the circle and guidance along the way. I think you’ll find that it’s more than worth the effort.
If you want to learn more about how to start a circle, you can contact Gina by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 818 309 6536.