I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to write about this. It’s one of the most important sources of energy for me. Period. Hands down. It is constant. It is plentiful. It is powerful. It’s called my forum.
My particular forum was formed through our mutual membership in a the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO). Most of us in my forum joined EO at the same time and were placed in a forum together. A forum, in EO terms is a peer-to-peer group of usually 8 to 10 individuals with a lot in common: they all run businesses of a certain size. An EO forum cannot include members who do business together or compete.
I’m sharing this because my forum is the most important group of people in my life behind my family. I will be friends with them until I die. I would do anything to help any one of them, and they would do the same for me. Having this group behind you is something that everyone should have, in any phase of life, in any career, any age, any industry, based on any reason.
Some of the top reasons why forum can be so valuable to anyone.
This is the number one reason why forums are so successful. The number one core value of any forum is extremely strict confidentiality. It’s a lock box that has no key. It’s a black hole. Nothing comes out of forum discussions. EO Forums have very specific protocol and tactics for managing this confidentiality.
Trust & Openness.
In order for forum to work, you have to fully trust that the rest of the forum will uphold the value of confidentiality. Once you put this trust in those other members, you can be fully open. You have to be in order for it to work. We talk about forum being the place where you can share the 5% worst and 5% best of your life… those are the parts that you probably don’t share with anyone else, ever.
Everyone has to make sacrifices for forum to work. Scheduling a gaggle of busy people is impossible. Getting people to show up on time during busy work weeks is hard. Asking people to spend time away from their families to go on forum retreats, is a big sacrifice. You have to be willing to commit to making these sacrifices. If you do, your forum will repay you tenfold.
This is my term for servant leadership. The idea is that forum is an amazing place to give your energy to those who can use it. What’s also amazing is that when you get to know your forum mates’ businesses and personal lives, you can apply yourself in ways that make more of a difference to them than anyone else could ever hope to give to them. Again, the more you give to your forum, the more you will be rewarded.
I love that EO forums come with an impressive predefined structure for meetings. There are structured monthly updates, structured presentations, even structure for conflict resolution in the group. One of the best principals is that, when in forum you only speak from experience. You don’t give advice. Don’t insult your forum mates by thinking that you know what is best for him. You don’t. All you know is what you’ve experienced and speaking from experience means removing the language in your discussion that sounds like advice. Just share your experiences. Those are plenty valuable!
I believe in forum so much, that I am working hard to build it into my new company, Quench Network as a fundamental key to success for early careerists. I want to help them find much sooner what I wish I would have had coming right out of college.
What other areas do you find forum like energy and value?