The Community Strategy Podcast: The nexus where online community strategy meets intentionality

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Episode 86: Leading a Global Mindfulness Community with Elisha Goldstein

by Deb Schell
September 18th 2022

The world has experienced a mental health crisis in the past few years. One resource that offers a place for everyone to come and find a bit of calm is the

He is the founder of the mindful living collective. It's a muddy network and he has over 7000 members in there. He has built this amazing program called the uncovered the Power within And in that program he details out all of these amazing structures and strategies around how to find calm, how to release stress, how to deal with challenges in everyday life. And this episode we break down what it looks like for him as somebody who has tried lots of things he had did a membership. He actually launched right before the pandemic and then decided to offer this community as a free place during the pandemic. He tried to do donation model, there was a lot of different things he tried and I think what he's learning is that it's just constant iterations of like learning new things and being where meeting the members where they're at, we talk about, you know, what it looks like to be a leader in an online community. Uh how do you manage this day to day?

What are the members participating in? How are they showing up as well as what does it mean to be a leader? And maybe is this is this something if you're considering an online community and maybe thinking about a program, maybe already do a program, you know, what is the time investment and what is, is this, could this be your life's work? Could this be something that you share with others? We talked a lot about um structures and how he has structured out his program over time and especially just really taking it slow and and just listening to members as they go. We had missy join our session, she asked some questions around the structure as well. And one of the things he mentioned that I'll tell you as a big take away from me was that it's really important, he said for leaders to respond to members with meaningful and intentional responses and and members really notice when you take time to reach out as a leader on a community, um community platform?

And so being really intentional about that, he said it's really important and the biggest other takeaway I'll say is that he mentioned that having a well structured program provides a bedrock for a fan foundation and that helps you support. So he said he talked a lot about how if you're doing a monthly membership, it's a lot more challenging because if you know to keep people going and he said one of the biggest things he really learned in the last two years was his year long uncomfortable. The Power Within program was really helpful for people that if it had been a monthly option to like, you know, continue each month that they might have been, you know, they might have fallen off because what happens is when hard things come up, we bail and and that was what he was talking about is is when we get through, if you're sticking through something through a hard thing and you have a mentor to lean on in those hard times. It is the difference, it is that is the reason that people go from bailing and still struggling to succeeding and and feeling like they can move forward and not be stuck in this place.

Uh so great episode, please check it out and excited. So let's go, hi all and welcome back to the community strategy podcast. My name is Deb Schell. I'm the host and we are so lucky today to have an amazing community leader and host Elijah Goldstein, he's gonna talk to us about his program uncovering the power within which is within his mighty network which is called the Mindful Living Collective. He's gonna talk to us about some of the program that I've been a part of over the last year. Uh as we have been dealing with all the challenges of an online community space as a host as well as talking about how we deal with mental health as as leaders and as community members. Um so that's kind of what we're gonna chat about. So welcome Elijah to the community strategy podcast. Happy to be here. Thanks for making it happen. Oh yeah I'm super excited that we got to make this happen. We planted a couple of months back. So glad it came to fruition.

Hi Alice, welcome. So yeah we've got a couple of people here in our live studio audience joining us today. We've got some other fine called, remember Missy is here. She's always gonna ask really great questions just to prepare you Elijah. And then we've got a couple of U. P. W. People here in the house, Irene Louise and Alice and so thank you for joining us and hopefully we'll have some others drop in and join us in a few minutes. But uh get started. We're just gonna talk Elijah about what brought you to building an online community because I know you have um had an in person events and I know you started I'm pretty sure you started the Mindful Living Collective before the pandemic, but I was curious of how that originated. Well, I would say, you know, over the course of my career as a psychologist and a mindfulness teacher and and training different therapists and teachers. I've I've I've come across people from all over the world and um wanted to create a space where everyone could come together and the the avenue to do that would be online, since it would be quite hard for people on a daily basis to travel to one place together.

So I kind of wanted to create something that was like almost like a virtual retreat center or virtual community space. Let's put it put it more that way. Whereas if when you walked out your door, you know, you could walk to the right and you could come visit visit with other people that you you taking courses with, visit with other people that you've done work workshops with, visit with other people, even dropping meditations with and that's just right there at your fingertips. And so that's really the was the impetus for creating something like the mindful living collective so that it could be a gathering space for people interested in this type of work. And when exactly did you launch that? Um probably about a about maybe about, I don't know, a little less than a year, probably before the pandemic began, I think maybe a year, I don't know, something like that. And once the pandemic happened, uh we realized the most important thing was for everyone just have access to that space. So while there was, I think we kind of flirted with donation based models and kind of charging for that community space that could help keep it running.

We just opened it for free to the entire world and um and it's sort of remained that way. Yeah. What's, so how long was your launch or prep period prelaunch planning your strategy planning all of that before you actually open the doors, What did that look like? Um That's a good question. Um for the Mindful living Collective. So we, so we always had kind of a facebook community prior to this and we we also have like a mindful living facebook community that we, you know, it's just kind of, we weren't that hands on with. Um but it was a gathering space for people uh for the mindful living collective, you know, I I think it was only really a matter of a few months. Um we just started kind of, we just started kind of getting in there and just putting things in there and just putting different content in there. And and and there's been actually an evolution to the space, like we've tried many things in in this space. We we tried creating kind of affinity groups in this space where there was groups for therapist groups, for teachers groups, for, because in in the field of mindfulness there's lots of different interests.

And so there's, um, there's the teachers have particular interest, therapists have particular interest. Mindful parenting parents have particular interests. Um, mindful aging, people are aging have particular interests in that. So we created different groups for that. And we made it, we made it a volunteer based model because of course the, it's a free community. So, um, and what I found was with the volunteer based model is that people get really excited about, um, about leading. And then after a while they say, well, you know, I'm not, you know, this is feeding me in some way, but I have more pressing matters to get to. And so the volunteers, it becomes hard to manage a full volunteer, um, experience, you know, who does it well, as alcoholics anonymous, they really do a great job with. And all the anonymous groups. They do a great job with all their volunteer type things. But that has that, that organization has a great depth. They have incredible funding, you know, at the top. There's a lot of donations that that flow in that direction. And so, you know, creating a volunteer based model is what I found is is kind of challenging.

So we we decided that those groups we we kind of put aside for now because it was too hard to manage the volunteers that happened in there. And instead we started just focusing on, um, uh, just just the people in the collective and changing it to maybe what we identified as the needs were, which was to gather around meditation. And so we started creating Droppin meditations and we were able to do that because we have a professional training program where um, that also graduates people who can then become our then become Mindfulness teachers and can then go on to lead their own programs. And it was a great opportunity for them to also practice. And after graduation to practice and have an immediate groups of people that they could begin to teach too. And so we started kind of doing that. And uh and that that's that's remained, it's so funny. That's when we started working together back last fall when I was helping you with kind of doing some restructuring and the mindful living collective and really trying to get some engagement and excitement around what you and we validated with a survey just so that everybody is aware.

We did do some strategy uh Before we launched some of these initiatives. And part of that strategy was let's ask people is this something? And like what are the right times? So we did a lot of questions. Um, and we got, I think it was almost 75 or 85 responses or something like that. We got some really great feedback because you had sent that out to your list. And uh, so we got that feedback. I analyzed that data. I put some metrics together and we decided on where the focus is going to go like what's important to the members and how to identify the times. And then we coordinated with the, the meditation teachers. So the people who had just graduated from the most recent program that he was just mentioning, we got them involved in, okay, who's doing a meditation when and how is that all kind of going to work? And we did it kind of like a beta right in the, in the fall and at least this year. And she's one of the teachers. Yeah. Yeah. So there was some back end stuff that we were working on as a team to try to encourage and create this interest around um, connection with the overall because at that point you had gotten over, um, that was last fall.

So you had gotten about over 7000 people there, 7500, something like that in the membership from when you open. And then when you opened it, like, I think at first you're saying you had some kind of a paid version or donation version in the beginning maybe. And then when the pandemic hit, you're like, you're saying we just opened so that everybody joined so they could all practice and then the iteration of that again was like, we looked at donation again in the fall and then changes happen again and we're like, you know what, let's just let's you just, you know, I think if you're gonna do donation. Um, a donation model, the technology has to be really simple. It almost has to be like a 5, 10, 20 and all they have to do is click it and it's done. Like almost like the credit card is already given and you just need to push a button and it, and it's done. I don't have that back end technology. And so inevitably what happens with donations, it gets kind of clunky. I think for some people, they maybe want to give a donation, but, but to have to put their credit card in every time, there's enough friction there that it's just like, well we'll do it later or maybe I'll, maybe I'll not, maybe I'll do it, you know, that kind of thing.

So it doesn't really happen. So there's not a lot of benefit to the teachers and it doesn't bring a lot of, um, doesn't bring any meaningful revenue for the organization really to run the, the community. So I think there, I think the donation based model can work. It's just, um, it just needs, it just needs to have less friction at the, the payment. And I think if, if whoever is running a community can figure that out, then I think it's a great model and it's, and it's its value. If it's aligned with your values, then that's even better. You know, that's, that's the, that was the key. That's why we did it because we thought, you know what, let's just let's not make any, let's let's make it easy for everybody. You know, if you want to great, if you don't, you don't have to donate. And but you know, that's a, that's a that's a model that is aligned with the lineage of these, of this tradition of mindfulness for thousands of years and really any spiritual tradition for the most part. And but when it's online, if there's there's friction, you're not passing a hat around the pews, you know, you're, you're, you're saying like, hey, click on this thing and then you got to take out your thing and you got to put a bunch of information and it just takes a little bit of time.

And I think that's hard for a lot of people or it's easy to just kind of go into the next exactly. The easier you make it for people, the better success you're going to have it, whatever it is. And especially around technology. And that was the challenge that we had talked about with money networks, which is why you had, um, decided it had a sales page created and so that they could, these donations were actually offered not on using the money networks platform because that was one of our technical back end challenges with that platform. And I did mention this to Gina and I did mention it to Tony because I had two calls Tony recently for money Networks and was mentioning this this exact thing because there's several organizations that I worked with that once they had something that you could just press a button that would be and you see a circle running and it says complete right? That would be really Cool. It's technical stuff and there's like 1000 community platforms. That's how apple Tv works. You want to rent a movie, you just press rent and it just circles and it's like done, you know, you don't have to do anything else.

And so if they could like if there could be an integration of that, that could be that could work really well. That would be great for everyone. It's good for platform creators and designers and those people that do all those things that that they get that feedback. And sometimes it's part of the road map. And right now it's not on the everybody says like it's part of the road map. Right? Ask a product, ask a product manager about the product and she'll be like, oh it's on the road, it's on the road man. Yeah, amazon amazon started that with just like the swipe or what, you know the one swipe type thing and you know, it was done. And then Apple Tv has done it too with their rent or maybe all those rental online rental streaming companies where you just press the button and it's done. But I'm sure that's yeah, in the space of volunteers. I wanted to mention, I'm reading David, I just finished David Siegel his book deciding conquer, which is the ceo of meet up. Sorry, I'm trying to hold it up for you to see. Um, it's, it's an amazing book. I read it in less than a week and it talks from a Ceo perspective about how they handled a lot of challenges around financial decisions that he had to make in the first year of his, um, term as a Ceo.

And a lot of the, what we just talked about with the challenges around they had the model of the host, You know, the person hosting has to pay a certain amount of money for the privilege of being able to host online in person meetups. And they flip, the whole idea was to flip it to say, all right, well members, you know, participants, people who want to come to an event. The host is taking on so much responsibility of like lining up a venue and getting dates and organized and there's so much about like event, you know, because you're doing an event coming up. Event production is like a whole full time job in some cases. So I feel like that model that they're trying to move to, um, that sounds like what they're, they're shifting to has been, is gonna be really successful and and bring light to the fact that people that volunteer need support. They need tools, they need resources. Like you're saying like some people are just if you're facilitating for a long time and it's a passion for you, you still need breaks of where maybe you get, you know, something, something whether it's payment or whether it's just a thanks Deb you know that even that sometimes it's just really helpful.

So I love how David Siegel wrote that in his book. But anyway, okay, focusing back on your community, what is the future of the Mindful Living Collective? And let's talk about the program uncovering the power within uh tell me how that fits into the community strategy that you've been uh developing over the last year. So the future of the Mindful Living Collective is is at the moment. Um we're going to revisit it uh in the next month or so about where the what the possibilities of that collective really are. Um and right now it's going to maintain as a practice community. So people who are interested and drop in um meditations and groups, uh those are, you know, those are available there if they want extra learning and courses those are available. They're different evergreen courses like this last um once in a while we do other things like we do these workshops where we do these, I'd have 21 day to relieve anxiety naturally. Program that I'm bringing people through right now, just a 21 day program.

So there's these little learning experiences that happen in the collective and um and opportunities for people to learn a lot of content for people just to get for free. Um, as far as learning how to integrate more mindfulness into their lives, there's there's free tutorials in there, there's free programs in there. Um, you know, so it will maintain that for now, um, until there's a a different type of strategy for the collective. I don't, I don't think the collective isn't meant at the moment to be like a revenue generating up place. It's meant to be a gathering space for people interested in deepening their connections in practice and you know, and that kind of thing. That's kind of just what it is right now and it's sort of in some ways part partially funded by, by the uncover the power within program and um, so they uncover the power of them program. The reason I created that was as a psychologist and and a mindfulness teacher for the past couple of decades.

What I've realized the hole is for, you know, my myself for a lot of people out there is to have access to not not only access to a really comprehensive program that teaches all of the, or a lot of the um, teachings and science and practices of a comprehensive um, sense of really, um building the strength we need towards greater resiliency in our lives and, but, but the community piece a really committed and dedicated community is hard to come by. And so I realized that I wanted people to commit and and have access to more regular mentorship in my private practice which is a small private practice as a psychologist. I was I I saw people for years once a week and with a small group of people I experimented with giving them access to me on a daily basis and what I saw was that they were making progress faster than the people I was saying once a week.

So that's when I realized access to mentorship, like daily access to mentorship can help people accelerate the changes because on, you know if you're oftentimes say if you're trying to learn something or apply something in your life on monday and then you have to wait till next monday again to discuss it when something happens on Tuesday then it's gonna you know just gonna take a while and so you know if you can access that mentor on the Tuesday and get the shift that you need or get the insight or get the information or get the application or get the interaction that you need, you can apply it on Tuesday and have a different experience on Wednesday, you know and then so on and so on and then if you can access other people at the same time with that same level of frequency as you need as you need who kind of get it to some degree or at least some of them really get it, They get the anxiety you're experiencing, they get the negative really the hook of the negative thinking that keeps us stuck.

They get the um they also get the moments that that, that there's insights and shifts and and we get to celebrate them. Like that's what I wanted to create. I wanted to create something that had that comprehensive experience access to me on a daily basis and access to a really dedicated community. And so that's why in here I made, I made it so that everyone has to commit to being in this program for a year because the real the reality is what we typically have. And I'm I was trained initially in mindfulness based stress reduction as a mindfulness based stress reduction teacher. So some people here might be familiar with that, some people might not. And that's an eight week program, has great science behind it. And the issue with it has always been that after the eight weeks, everyone says now what now, eight weeks is over now, what do I do? And so I created a six month program and then people, because I thought that would solve that. People create relationships with each other over time. And it was and there's still people who have relationships from that when I led that 767 years ago, there's still people who have a WhatsApp group that are connected with each other, you know, from, from that time.

But for most people they said that was incredible. I got so much out of that now. What? And I'm like, oh, I didn't, I didn't solve anything here. And um, so that's why I changed it into something that's ongoing. I'm involved every single day in there. Um, to work with people with their challenges and obstacles to work with their celebrations and insights to be able to fan that flame to um, answer questions and then there's other people in there from the community who are really dedicated that are also in there on a daily basis and it's a really beautiful experience. There's strong connections that are built between people. Um, there's uh responses that are needed in particular moments and along the change journey, which I give um an example of that over time when we're trying to make habit change, our lifestyle, lifestyle change or changes with our anxiety or issues with our moods, we have ups and downs and we want to be able to catch you during all those different moments. And that's, that's why it's not a monthly program.

If this was a monthly program, this is good. I know there's people on the other end of this who are listening there either to the recording or two or life that create programs and if this was a monthly program, I might have lost some people in the program um early on who are so thankful right now that they didn't have that option or they came to me and said I think I wanna, you know, I think because when things get hard we bail and that's just our default for a lot of us. And if you don't have that option and you can work with the mentor to move through those difficult moments, there's so much benefit on the other end for that because that's what like that's where our growth lies. Our growth lies in, you know as this 13th century Sufi poet Rumi said don't turn your gaze look towards the bandaged place. That's where the light enters. So if something if we get a wound and we say I'm out of here this hurts too much. Well we're not gonna, we're not going to be able to um get the growth. It's going to be harder to get growth we're looking for.

And that's not like no pain, no gain kind of idea. It's more like let's, here it is. Here's the tough moment. Let's find out what the application is. Let's process that. Let's move through that and that's where the growth lies. Beautiful. Yeah. I've been a part of that program uh joined in june of 2021 was was through it through a year and led. We actually got to me, we did an account of buddy program that you had recommended that maybe some people wanted to get together and meditate on a weekly basis. And so we had the monday accountability group which was amazing. Um I can tell you those, those people, it's still happening and I helped sue some other people. Um but but still happening. Um and it's so great because that group, I can tell you, it was great to be able to have access to all of the education that you're talking about, that. We went through each month, there was there was theme, so he's talking about structured for people listening, there was structured content that was in the courses area that you would go through.

Uh and I think you had a two week timeframe for people kind of digest suggested timeframe, but people are kind of weaving through that and then maybe going back through certain areas when they're like, oh, I need this right now in my life or maybe later they come back to certain areas. So a lot of the conversations in our group, we're talking about how we all of a sudden we're like, we need to go back to that one. And and so, um I got through the whole the whole 12 double 12, but it took quite a while and a lot of intentionality around that setting. I literally had time blocked in my calendar every morning that said, you know, you p w that I had that, that I was doing it so that I was getting through the program and then somebody that struggle with depression and anxiety and last year I had major, major challenges with a personal situation. That group was the single reason why I left a destructive, emotionally challenging and triggering situation.

I moved to a new location and those are the people who gave me the confidence to do that when I was at a place in my life where I wasn't confident. So I will tell you that this group majorly impacted my life literally from like being able to like have the confidence to recognize that I was in a situation that was no longer safe and that I needed to remove myself because that person was refusing to remove himself. So just to just to put that on, I see misty's hand up so I want to definitely get over to questions. But before we do Elijah, did you have any other comments or things that you wanted us to know about that program? Um it's a it's a rolling program. So that means that I I interview every single person who comes into the program just to make sure it's a good fit for them. You know, like you know, I have a certain promise that I make to people in the program which is that you know, I'm I'm gonna be able to support you and making certain shifts in your life and you know, it may look like this because that's how life works and if I feel like the person is not that's not this isn't the right program for them.

Which has happened for a number of people, I'll refer them out, but I need to have that interview with them to make sure it's a good fit for them and a good fit for me. And if it is, then I'll invite them into the program and because the community and this program is a very special community, and and I I want to make sure that, you know, the person coming in, that this the community's gonna be great for them, they're gonna be great for the community is not just, it's not just what will the program give you? I mean, that's a lot of it, but ultimately, the person that if you go through uncover the power within you realize that some of the later modules we start to understand, which is also the same, it's the same curriculum for the course of Mindful Living Teacher Training program. And and you start to realize that part of this program is also about um connection purpose, understanding our values. It's also about compassion, and it's because from a mental health perspective that's integral to feeling well and balanced in life.

And so this giving aspect is generosity aspect is integral to our own well being. So, I want to make sure the person I'm interviewing, you know, that's gonna eventually part of part of their story that they're not just going to be a person that's their only to receive, which is wonderful, but but that that that there's gonna be some sense of of giving meaning, giving their attention. That's really what I mean by that, um because in that, in that that's that's part of their path towards their own resilience and health, and that's why in a lot of ways, all of these elements that are in here very carefully and the curriculum that you're speaking to are very carefully built out, coming from someone who's a psychologist for the last couple of decades, and also someone who is um who's been teaching mindfulness for the past couple of decades. And and so there's a lot of science behind this, there's there's certainly a lot of psychology behind it, and there's thousands of years of human experience behind it, and um and and in order to be a part of it, we just have to figure out in the interview, like if this is something that's going to move the needle for you, and if it is then welcome, and let's start.

And um yeah, we're we're happy to to layer that in a lot of what I what I mentioned is getting the right people in the room that have the same intentionality around something like they both want to give, but also like need to receive and give and hold space for each other and want to have that safe space that they want to create an offer for each other and I think that's really important, especially in in the context of your community. Is is talking all about mindfulness and and and challenges that we have around emotional intelligence and being able to step out into the world calmer and be able to not react but respond. I don't know if that's how you would term it, but sure, I always say like that's the that's the common model that's in the field of mindfulness. Like learn how to respond, not react, but the reality is coming from a person who's a psychologist and understanding the neuroscience of things. You know, we're always reacting and react, reactivity is a part of being human. What we're trying to do is train a healthier reactivity that's ultimately versus just being conscious all the time, which is impossible.

And so um we want to, we really what we want to do is is train the brain's ability to memorize certain procedures and that takes intention, practice and repetition. And in doing that, we start to realize that we can become more aware automatically that our body is tensing or that I'm about to shout at this person. But you know, because that's my habit instead, I noticed that happening I soften I take a deep breath, I step into that space and then I can respond. Or maybe I'm feeling really anxious and all of a sudden some words, some some friendly wishes or kind intentions begin to kind of fill my body towards myself. And that begins to soften my nervous system and that just begins to happen automatically. It's only because it's in our short term memory, it's we've done it with repetition and our our nervous system has now memorized the procedure of it. Yeah, very good. Thank you so much for explaining that and I appreciate it. Um Missy I saw you had your hand up earlier. Uh did you still have a question? Well I have about 14 questions. But so so the question I have is where you know, what are the most powerful ones I have?

Um first of all, your program sounds just tremendous what a gift and and I can't imagine who doesn't need to be in there. I love though that you interview people to get the people you know the right people and people who are really willing to be in community with each other and willing to make that contribution. So I think that's fabulous. But really, wow. Um so I some of my questions are more structural I guess. So um this year long program is that still housed within um your mighty network community. That's the free community is that sort of like an offshoot? So people are in that big community but then the people who are part of the year long program are over there. Um That's one question. And um and then with the with the year long program because you said people are coming in on a rolling basis and it sounds like there's a curriculum that they're encouraged to move through what's happening on a daily basis.

I know you said you're in there on a daily basis, but are there prompts or are there like how is that interaction happening on a daily basis in that community? Okay, so that's a good question. So the first to answer the first question, the, the, it's, it's a program within the Mindful within the Mindful living Collective is there with the mighty Networks. Then you have courses and groups and things like that. And so it's a course within mighty Networks. So that's how people enter into it. Um, so everyone who comes into the uncover the power within program automatically has access to the Mindful Living collective as well. Um, the to answer your second question um, there there's no, there's not really prompts because the entire curriculum is there. And uh, and we, so we have that and then what we do is we have a couple of calls a week and that are available to people. So we could connect as a community live and those are, those are options for people to come into.

And then I'm very vocal and encouraging for people to really reach out and because that's the part of the benefit of this is that, is that you have this, you can buy a course anywhere Like you can pick up a book, you can do anything. But the reason that doesn't work, 95% of the time for most people, otherwise we wouldn't need like I don't know, five million diet books a year. I'm sure there's, I'm sure, you know, some of those, most of those would probably work well if, if we could follow the regimen of it right? But for most people, that's just not how we work. We were, we never grew up on this planet as individuals, we're always in a tribe, were always in the community. If you look at, you know, the military, the reason they're so adherent to their practices is because everyone's doing it and there's a bigger purpose to it. And if you look at the world's wisdom traditions, people who are really aligned with those traditions, the reason they're so adherent to their practices because everyone in their community is doing it and there's a larger purpose behind it.

And so, um, the community piece in here and the, and the mentorship piece in here is absolutely some of the high value in this program. And so I'm always encouraging, like to make sure that if you have a challenge that you reach out, if you have, you know, something great happening, you know, shift for you reach out, you know, and and see the value of the community coming alive for you. And so I think it's, it's in the delivery and the spirit that the leader is bringing into the program and, and that's something we don't need, we don't need like a daily thing to be sent out to everyone, you know, that kind of thing in here. Um, because the, it's the community are those prompts. And did it start that way initially? So when you first decided to host this community this larger, um, did it start right off that way? Or did you have people from previous, um, previous programs that were in and they were already used to that sort of model of engaging on a regular basis?

I asked because we have a community that's um, significantly smaller. It's really, it's tiny, but um, people are very engaged on the calls, but it's the, it's the in between that we have more challenge keeping people engaged in between. I mean, here's the thing that I've come to understand and leading programs for a long time online too, because prior to this uncover the power of them program, I've led different online programs and some are like, let's all start together, let's all end together. Um, and particularly the longer program I found that doesn't work. I mean, even though that works great for, it's still just a ton of value in it. Um, A lot of people feel like they get behind because life happens. So to me, this type of program is best for me because I like the inbred mentorship that happens in here.

Some people are further along. That's okay when we get on the call, some people have gotten done this part of the curriculum, some people have done a little less and that's okay because we get to preview, you know, where other people are going or we get to revisit things that we may have forgotten from the past and um but it really isn't the skill of the leader to me to engage the community and to and to bring the spirit of engagement in, I think if you're a leader and you're really engaged and and you are and your heart is there, then um you're going to overtime create enough of a nucleus of engaged people in the community that it will um you know, that that begins to really come alive, not you can't expect everyone in the community, not everyone in the community is the same, some people, you know, we have as humans, some of us are introverted, some are extroverted, some are more extroverted online, but introverted in in their personal life and vice versa, some people like to just be a viewer and some people really wanna are ready to get the meat out of it.

And timing is a piece of that sometimes with anything and so we have to meet everyone where they're at and continue to encourage sometimes we can encourage too much, which is what I found, you could lose people by encouraging too much and so um you know, it's a fine line and um you know, but you have to give leeway at least I do have to give have to give leeway to allowing people to be where they are and um and and understanding and I know this is a psychologist and I know this as someone who has spoken to very large groups of people and run programs with with hundreds and hundreds of people in them that I'm not responsible and nor can I even know the value that everyone is getting out of of something I'm saying because sometimes and there's even people in this program who are really not that vocal, but once in a while they they lay out a vocally or through writing the the impact the incredible impact this has had in their life, which I wouldn't know about because they're not that vocal and kind of letting them be now.

I think it's wise to check in with people within a program and you know I know and here you know people have an opportunity to come in, they come in for a year, they have an opportunity to come in for you know to continue that afterwards. And I do another session with them to be able to kind of review where things have been and where they want to go. Um But I think it's wise to check in with people along the way to say how are things going that's a wise thing to do in a program. Um you might even be able to get some information out that might even refine the program like for example in one interview I recently had with somebody in the program, we're gonna try something new and no one even knows this who's here right now yet but well but we're gonna try something new. We're going to try to add in a peer based learning group um where where people are learning live in that moment, they're actually doing parts of the curriculum live in that moment and then they're kind of discussing it. And so so for people who have a hard time at here are finding space to do the learning piece of this program.

We're going to create an appointment for that that if for those people who want that you will find that supportive and we'll see how that goes. So we're going to experiment and um you know and we'll see so different different things. We're experimenting and learning and growing but but uh it's really enjoyable for me to lead this program because um I just get to be involved in many people's lives and I get to be there to support and connect and I get to see the interaction with everyone. It's a whole lot of fun misty. I will say that um as being somebody who went through the program, one of the things that Elijah does really well is allow people to be seen and valued and heard you talk a lot about when you're creating um space as a community manager or like leading as a community host of those are really important things and whether it's not strategically like maybe a post right that we would think of, it's things that he says during his coaching sessions.

It's things that he says during the walk and talks that he does on Thursdays that allow members to feel like they're connected to him as well as each other in the group and that allows them to then feel maybe that they want to show up and participate virtually with comments and posting and things like that. So that's what I'll say to is there there is opportunities within each module to comment specifically underneath those and he encourages that and there are prompts in each module to encourage the participants to literally down here under the com you know in the comments section, share, you know something um so there are specific prompts, it's just not in like the activity feed necessarily because the activity feed is um from my experience more focused on like flooding the members really just have that space and take ownership of that activity feed to share. Their that one thing that he says is um what's the ted talk ted talk sentence that he says um where things worth sharing, something like that ideas worth sharing or whatever.

Yeah, that's the ted Beilein. Yeah, yeah, yeah, so um I think that's how people share resources and and they tag those things and then um those comments happen and people who have challenges post up their challenges and then, you know, the members as well as Elijah will respond, you know, I think, and as a leader, if you're curious about this as a, as a, as a, as a leader, um it's really important to take the time to give meaningful responses and you know, and that because I think that that that encourages the um desire to engage as, as a community and when the community sees that there's meaningful responses in here, then they want to come back and and the program to me doesn't work if people doesn't work as well as it could anyway, you know, like for me the curriculum, people get a ton just, they just went through the curriculum and it has everything you need to live really well and, and and heal and do a lot and, but, but the, but the magic in here is having these three layers is the mentorship, the community and the curriculum and using them all together.

And um and when there's meaningful responses and which encourages the other people to say, hey, I want to come back and see what's here, then that's how you, you create more engagement, you know, so that, but I think a lot, unfortunately in a lot of communities, the responses from the leaders aren't that meaningful and they're just like, you know, trying to, you know, to have a community and they're not as meaningful e involved in and taking the time to respond with something that matters really. Um it's just kind of quick stuff then, you know, I don't know if you have a, you have 50,000 people in the community, you'll still get, you know, some kind of engagement going on, but if you're in a community that has less people than that, a smaller community, it's so necessary to give that meaningful engagement. And to me, it would be less, it would be less interesting to me if that wasn't the case, do you feel like there's an ideal size for this type of community, or at least a minimum viable number for a community like this to be productive, given that not everybody's going to be involved all the time.

With the exception of you, the leader. Oh, I don't, yeah, I don't know if there's a minimum viable, you know, um it depends what the leader wants and what your model is. Um it does help to have a certain amount of people to get the engaged in any group of people, you're going to, some people who are more engaged and people are less engaged, and so you want, you have, you wanna certainly have enough people where you have a handful of people who are engaged who are feel really engaged and um and but but in this type of program that I'm running, you can't have too many people because then the integrity of the mentorship dilutes, and so for me, I think we're in a we we have a sweet spot and I think we're in it and um and and it's it's it's good, you know, it's good, it's good as it is. And for us, our sweet spot is, you know, around 20-30 something people on a call.

And you know, that means there's more people in the community because not everyone is able to make every call. Um just and we allow for that because there's different lifestyles, some people come to every single call, some people come to one a week, some people miss that come to every other week, you know, that kind of thing. And and that's okay because everyone's on their own journey and you're gonna we have to kind of meet them where they're at and um and that and that works. Thank you, fascinating. I could probably go on all afternoon, but thank you. Those are some great questions missy. And like, yeah, there's there's it's the question I had around the we talked about those, you know, larger community members and if they're converting necessarily to that higher paid program, which is the uncover the power point with which we're talking about. There is a higher price point within that that gives a little bit more nudge for the person to participate, right? So there's a part of that that goes into selling a product, right, if you're selling a product or offer like this program um And I know lisa is, sorry Missy is a community manager for another one of my clients lisa.

And so lisa has a, I don't know not coaching exact program but they've been talking about different programs that they've been looking at. Right missy, I don't know. Um Yeah well lisa is um also a psychologist and she is an executive business coach, she does executive coaching um and so she has some similar um some similar things happening, not the same structure that you do, but again, you know regular calls with a group of people who are then interacting between calls. Um So yeah to me that the curriculum is really important too, it's not just the group and the calls like I'm constantly bringing people back to the curriculum um And and even on our calls pointing out where where they should be looking you know, in response to what they're bringing up and so that the quality integrity of the curriculum which is really the probably the most the most work the leader has to put in initially is really creating a very well put together um curriculum that has a lot of that has some good research and science behind behind it and a lot of experience behind it.

And um and that serves as the foundation of the program that's like the bedrock of the program, I mean the community, the community is the bedrock but the but it's these that's like the foundation of the learning aspect of the whole program. So even, yeah, what we bring up in the call, we bring up in the calls and weaving people back to the curriculum, you know, like, hey, here's we're going to find this, or I'm saying, hey, this is what we're talking, we're talking about this module over here and, you know, someone's bringing up something in their life that, you know, because some people will come to the calls and they don't really engage that they may not be engaged in the curriculum, So there's coming for the cause, but the value, even though there's value in that connection, mentorship, like there's a we want to continue to bring people back, at least in my experience, I've spent it's been this curriculum that's in this program, is there's probably 15 years in the making, and so there's there's a tremendous amount of experience and research in that in that particular program.

And um and that's the biggest up front investment and time for any leader is creating something really comprehensive and worthwhile, as far as the learning experience. Yeah, yeah, so it's really a three legged stool, you've got to have all the pieces or maybe not, I guess if the curriculum is the most significant than we've got to come up with a slightly different metaphor, but it doesn't work if they're not there, it's like, it's like a teepee with a foundation, right? One of the things, I've been talking to mary Elizabeth about my business coaches, she's, her community is working through some challenges and she's trying to see structure wise what she's gonna do next. And talking about life's work, this is Elijah's life's work, basically, I would, I would title this is his life's work. So all of the experienced up to this point and he, you know, adds things when there's new things to be added. But when you think about a community leader and what it looks like to have a something that you can say here, this is what I've done in my life.

Because a lot of people I talked with, they, they are like thinking on the end of the spectrum there, like what have I done and how can I like package this? Um and that's, that's what I would think that It's interesting to say that I have, I have someone I know who who's around 80 years old who was early 80', I think. who recently brought me into his house and I went to his house and he's like, here, I want to show you a room that I don't show, I almost don't show anybody. I'm like, wow, what do you, what's he going to show me? And so I walk in there and he opens this door to this, like it's a separate structure within his on his property, opens this door to basically like a museum and it's a museum of all the art he's created in his life and and this is like art that could be in galleries, like all over the place. Like I couldn't believe I had no idea. I was living near this person who had this. And so I look, I'm like, wow, this is incredible. So he has an artist can walk into a room and see all of his life's work that always has been like lent to people and things like that.

But he's never like kind of put into, you never like kind of put it into like major galleries and things like that. And I was like, that's incredible. So when you said that, that was really cool because you're right, like for me, I walk into the uncover the power within program and this is a representation of of my personal and professional work in my life at the at the highest level. And um because the highest level includes the learning, everything I've put together as far as learning in the way that I see it and um and has thousands of years of history behind it. But the, but also in the way that I serve the live experience of that um that is that's all of that, that's come to this thing. So I think that thanks for saying that that's really cool. I'm gonna, I'm gonna think of it like that now. Oh yeah, totally. And this is how I talk with clients about it too. because really what you're doing is bringing, how do you differentiate yourself because it's all these business practices of looking if I'm going to build a community, Okay, what does that mean?

And who am I bringing together? Why, what's the purpose and what are we, who are we serving and how are we doing that inside? And it comes and a lot of people say oh I need all this content or I need to build courses, it may just be a matter of going through your life and saying all right, what are the most valuable things that I've learned and how can I put that in a package where I can, you know, sales, you know market and promote it, basically put a price tag on it and say I find this valuable, this is my life's learning and maybe that's not the term obviously to the people, but that's on the back end. I think it's a really powerful tool that that everyone has, they all, every each person, each one of us individually has amazing life experiences that nobody else has. And so I think one of the cool ideas around community building is how do we share that in a meaningful way with others? Um I think community could be part of the answer to that. So I'm glad that you liked that analogy thought so we're up against time here.

So I appreciate everybody coming and especially missy for some really great questions as always. So thank you for that Elijah. Tell everybody maybe where if they're listening to this recording, we're gonna have this on Youtube, it'll be on all the Spotify and Itunes and all that stuff for the recording and that's probably gonna be going live in later in september, probably late september. But tell everybody where they can find you, if they're interested to learn more about the program where you, you can just go to Elisha Goldstein dot com. Um that by the time this comes out that then then the updated version of that site will be up. But you can, you can go as you go down. You'll see what my programs are and you'll see when if you're on the lookout for the uncover the Power within program, you're welcome to be on the lookout for that one specifically. And um there should be on the news site, there should be a drop down under programs and it'll just drop down there to you do some really great, you do a weekly meditation.

Yeah, we do, you know, hey, I would say absolutely, you know, check out my, my Youtube Channel two. I put on a new video for that every week. That's like practical skills to really support us and getting to a better place or helping inspire certain strengths of mind that can support us in our lives. That's really great. We have, I have actually a quick anxiety relief skills, whole like section within there, if that's something that you're, you'd like to, you know, work with or find improvement on. Um, so that's a lot of fun and Oh yeah, we do, I do workshops every month and yeah, there's lots of great, great things will point out that Elijah has a team just so you know, that he's not the one doing all of these things, like he does a lot of things, but he does have some support for his tech things and for his, you know, absolutely, I would be lost without Valerie who's my assistant and you know, she, she does, she's she's incredible and have other people on my team too who are, who are really supportive and yeah, absolutely. I could never do all that on my own.

For sure. If anyone here is thinking like, wow, how does he do all that stuff? Yeah, that's not all, that was my first thought when you were talking about all these different things and like, but he doesn't do it alone everybody, which is, which is awesome and it's, it's helpful, but not everybody that's listening to this might be the place where they can bring people on. So when I tell those clients is let's how to figure out how to simplify and keep it easy for you so that it's enjoyable and it's something you want to do. So community building can still somehow be fun. Um, instead of being something that stresses you out, which is why my business is called fine calm here. So cool. All right, well thanks everybody for listening live and joining us today. And then also if you're listening to this, uh, there will be opportunities for you to check out his program. Like he said, if you all have any questions, please drop them in our Youtube channel, we're gonna start posting their more on the community strategy podcast Youtube as well as in our chats. If you've liked this episode, it'll be really awesome if you could rate and review our show working on growth and development around my podcast.

So thank you all for doing that. And until the next time, I hope you're finding calm in this day evening morning, afternoon Tuesday today is friday at one PM Eastern but I hope you're finding calm until the next time. Take care and see you later. Bye bye. Hey, this is Deb show and I am super so psyched to let you know I am writing a book, Big deal. I know maybe it's not for you, but for me it's a big deal and guess what I'm writing this book for you because honestly as a new community builder two years ago in 2020 I had no idea what I was doing and I really got really confused easily. So I'm going to simplify things for you. But what I need from you right now is to actually help me make this book possible and so you can support me with a crowdfunding campaign that I'm running through. I fund woman. I'm going to have a link in the show notes. Please support me this. This is running from September one through the end of october.

So I'm really hoping to reach my goal to be able to write this work style book. It's gonna have worksheets, it's going to have templates, it's going to be something that you can actually use today. It's not a course that you have to take for four weeks. It's not a big book that's not going to give you actionable steps, you're going to be able to take action the same day that you read the book. I'm super excited about this. I've had lots of feedback from clients that this is what they want, This is what they need. So I'm putting it together and I hope you can support me with it and I hope I hope it's going to help you So let me know please check out the show notes for that link to the I fund Woman crowdfunding campaign for the new book I'm writing, it's called creator to community builder. I'm so excited. Thanks for helping me if you've already donated

Episode 86: Leading a Global Mindfulness Community with Elisha Goldstein
Episode 86: Leading a Global Mindfulness Community with Elisha Goldstein
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