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Creating Authentic Community

ABeginnersGuide

CompiledbySaraNess

www.authrev.com

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Contents

Preparation
PreFraming
FindingYourCommunity
PreparingYourself

Making It Happen
PlanningYourFirstEvent
BuildingtheEvent
FacilitatingtheEvent
CompletingtheEvent

The Afterglow
CreatingaCrew
CoheringaCrew
DealingwithBurnout
PersonalGrowth

Preparation

Preframing

Forminganewcommunityislikesimultaneouslytryingtostartanewbusinessandbeginamarriage
andiseverybitasseriousasdoingeither.Itrequiresmanyofthesameplanningandfinancialskills
aslaunchingasuccessfulbusinessenterprise,andthesamecapacitiesfortrust,goodwill,andhonest,
kindinterpersonalcommunicationasmarryingyoursweetheart.

DianeLeafeChristian

MeditateorjournalonWHYyouwanttobuildAuthenticcommunity.Whatdrivesyou?
Whatdoyouwantoutofit?Whatdoyouwanttoofferotherpeople?Beopentoyour
intentionchanging,butnoticewhatelementsaremostimportanttoyou.Yourdeeper
valuesarethecompassbywhichyouknowwhattohangontoandwhattoletgoof.
Thesewillhelpdeterminetheformofthecommunitythatyoucreate.Theycanalsoact
asacheckinwhenyoufeeloffcourse.
Find15otherpeoplewhoyougenuinelywanttobegincommunitywith.Youcanfind
thesepeoplelaterdowntheroad,butitismuchmoredifficulttoremaincommittedto
communityifyourenotdirectlyexperiencingthebenefitsyourself.
Haveaconversationwitheachotherabout:
Yourintentions
Whoyouaretoeachother
Whatuniquegiftsandshadowsyoueachbring(yoursuperpowersand
kryptonitesoftendifferentsidesofthesamecoin!)
Whatrolesyouwouldfeelmostfulfilledbyand/orcompetentinaround
creatingandleadingAuthenticcommunity
See
thispage
(courtesyofAuthenticWorld)forcommunity
archetypes,andtheCoheringaCrewsectionformore
groundlevelfunctions
Howmuchtimeyouareeachwillingtocommit(minandmax)

FindingYourCommunity

Identifythegroupsyoumostwanttoserveand/orinclude.Forexample,Authentic
HoustonbeganfromadesiretoofferdepthtothelocalEcstaticDancecommunity.The
AustinLoveJuggernautbeganfromadesiretocoheretheresidentsofcollegehousing
cooperatives.Youcanchooseonecommunityormultiples,andcanalwaysexpand
yourbaselateronbutrecognizethatpeopletendtogetinvolvedinthingsthattheir
friendsaredoing,soitsmucheasiertobeginofferingyourworkwithinan
alreadyestablishedgroupthatdesiresdeeperconnection.

GroupsthattendtobeinterestedinAuthenticwork:
EcstaticDance
NonviolentCommunicationcommunities
IntentionalLivingCommunities(Cohousing,Cooperatives,Communes,etc.)
Acroyogacommunities
OneTaste(OM)
Yogastudios
Improvgroups
Tantrapractitioners
Personalgrowthgroups
Zencentersandmeditationcommunities
Burners

Getinvolvedinthatgroupsevents.Meetpeople,connectwiththem,gettoknowand
careaboutwhotheyare,andfindoutwhattheyrewantingmoreof.Ifthegrouphasa
communityforumorspaceforannouncements,letthemknowaboutAuthenticRelating
offerings.Socialmediaisapowerfultool,butyouyourselfshowingupauthenticallyto
otherpeopleisgoingtobethebiggestmotivatorforthemtoattendyourevents.
Bespecificaboutwhenandwhereyoureventsareheld,andhavebusinesscardsor
flyerswithcontactinformation.Makeitaseasyaspossibleforpeopletogetinvolved!

PreparingYourself

Testoutthegames!
Inviteafewpeopleovertoplay(especiallypeopleyouplantoincludeas
facilitatorsorlogisticninjasinyourcommunity).Pickyourfavoritegamesand
practiceintroducingthemtoeachother,playingtogether,andsharingyour
experience.Asyoustepintotheroleofholdingspaceforothers,youshouldalso
putasideintentionaltimetoplay.Thiswillbecrucialforyouinavoidingburnout
andstayingconnectedtowhyyoureofferingARinthefirstplace.

OPTIONAL
:Playwiththeformatofthegamesthemselves.Inventnewtwistson
existinggames,trydifferenttiming,playwithyoureyesclosed,varythenumber
ofpeopleincludedineachexercise,oreveninventanentirelynewgame.Stay
truetotheintentionofAuthenticRelatingcreatingexperiential,loving
connectionwithyourselfandothersbutwithinthosebounds,havefunandlet
yourimaginationrunfree!
Alwaysplaytestnewgamesamongyourcoregroupbeforeintroducing
theminapublicevent.

GetTrained
Youdonothavetobetrainedtobuildorleadanauthenticcommunity.However,
onebenefitofgettingtrained,oratleastconnectingwithmentorsfrom
alreadyexistingcommunities,isthatyoudonothavetomuddlethroughevery
possiblesituationofdistressalone.Whetherornotyougettrained,youshould
bereadytoconfrontthefollowingsituations(andbyconfrontImeanthatyou
aretotallywelcometohavenoideawhattodowhenthesituationscomeup,but
knowwhetherornotyoureokaywithnotknowingwhattodo!)
Participantsgettingtriggered(upset,sad,angry,orafraid)orblownout
(overwhelmedandshutdown)
Facilitatorsgettingtriggeredand/orblownoutbefore,during,orafteran
event
Participantsopenlyjudgingtheprocess
ParticipantsbreakingtheAgreements
Facilitatorsand/orParticipantsshowingupwithanundisclosedfeelingor
motivationthatisdeeplyaffectingtheirexperience(theelephantinthe
room)
Facilitatorsand/orParticipantsarrivingwithapsychologicalconditionthat
disruptsgroupcohesion
Facilitatorsfeelingunacknowledged,undervalued,oroverstressed
Whattodoifyourplanforthenightisincongruouswithwhatthegroup
seemstobewanting(ex.ifyouplannedanightondeeppresenceand
peopleshowupreadytoparty),ifyourunoutoftimeforallthegames
youplanned,orothertimesensitivelogisticalsnafus
ExplainingwhatAuthenticRelatingisandwhatitmeanstoyou/whywe
practiceit
Openfacilitationtrainingsareledby
AuthenticRevolution
.Contact
sara@authrev.com
formoreinformation.

MakingItHappen

PlanningYourFirstEvent

Findalocation.YoumaywanttoofferGamestoagroupthatalreadyhasaspace(like
housingcooperatives,yogastudios,dancecommunities,orsocialclubs),orfindyour
ownplace(peopleshousesorcommunitycenters).Makesurethatyouhaveprivacyso
thatyourgroupcanfullyexpress,withoutfearofdisturbance.

GoodLocations
:
YogaStudios
CoworkingSpaces(withroomsforrent)
CommunityCenters
Houseswithbiglivingrooms
Campingareas
Retreatcenters

Decidehowlongyouwantyoureventtobe(usually23hoursforaGamesNight,plusat
least30minforhangouttimeafterwards)
Reserveandprepayforthespace
Draftaneventpage.Include:
Date
Time(whenpeopleshouldarrive,whenthedoorsclose,whenthingsstart)
WhatAuthenticRelatingGamesare
Thethemeforthatevent(ifyouhaveone),withanexplanationofwhatitmeans
andwhyyouchoseit
APaypallinkorpaymentinstructions(ifyourecharging)
Whatpeopleshouldbring(waterandsnacksifnotprovided)
CreateaFacebookgrouporpageforyournewcommunityandinvitepeople,and/or
createaMeetupgroup
AnnouncetheeventonyourFacebookpage,inyourchosencommunities,on
Meetup.com,Eventbrite,inlocaleventlistings,Reddit,etc.
Gathersnacks(typicallychips,carrots,hummus,popcorn,fruit,chocolate),and
materials(napkins,cups,waterjug,businesscards,donationjar,welcomesign,timer,
bell,chairsorcushions)
Meetupwithyourcrewatleast12hoursbeforetheeventbeginstofinalizeand
integrateyoureventplan,connectwitheachother,andassignroles(moreonthisbelow)

BuildingtheEvent

Decidewhowillplanoutthenight.
Onepersoncandothisalone,oronedraftsandtheothersgivecomments,or
youallcreateittogether.
AUSTINSTYLE:
Decideononeheadfacilitatorandonetotwo
cofacilitatorsatafacilitatormeeting,oranonlinescheduling
spreadsheet,ideallyatleastaweekpriortotheevent.Headfacilitators
musthavegonethroughourtraining/practiceprocessandbeenconfirmed
bySara(currently,headfacilitatorsincludeSaraNess,ChadPhillips,
PeteMichaud,KayPierce,HeatherMcClellan,MichaelBlas,Jesse
French,andBraveLegendPietri).Headscandefinehowtheywant
planningtogo,whatthethemeis,andwhatrolestheydlikecostoplay
duringthenight.

HoldaPlanningMeeting
Meetuptogetheratleast5daysbeforetheevent(onorbeforeWednesday,if
youreplanningaSundaynight).Pickathemetogether(seebelow)andcreatea
flowthathaspeopleexperiencingthatthemethroughempathicconnection.
IfyoucannotmeetupuntilafterWednesday,decideonathemetogether
throughremotecommunication(orallowtheheadfacilitatortopickthe
theme),announcetheeventonFacebookbeforeThursday,andmeet
BEFORESunday.MeetingonSundaytoplanwillleaveyoufeeling
rushedandungrounded.
Atthemeeting,dropintogether(minis,groupcheckin,circling,agame,etc.)
beforeplanning.Thewholeprocesswillgomoresmoothlyifyourefeeling
connectedratherthanchallenging.Iftensionsariseatanypointintheplanning
process,checkbackinonemotions,practiceactivelisteningandreflection,andif
youneedto,circleorproposeagamethathelpsyoucomebackintoconnection.
Or,takeabreak,getasnack,moveyourbody,andcomebackrefreshed!

Decideonyourtheme
Thiscanbeanythingyouhavebeenwantingtoexplore(likeEmpathy,Curiosity,
howtocreateauthenticconnectionsintheworkplace),orconnectedtosome
eventgoingoninyourcityorpeopleslives(ex.aroundHalloweenyoucouldrun
athemearoundFearandDeath,TheMasksWeWear,orPlayaroundAustins
citywidemusicfestivalSouthbySouthwest,wemightrunthemesonstaying

connectedtoselfduringoutsideinsanity,orhowtocreatebrief,intentional
connectionswithstrangers).
ExamplesandSamplePlans

Decidewhichagreementsyouwillusetosetthecontainer(ifany)
Ihighlyrecommendusingagreementstheycreateasharedlanguageandsetof
understandingstoworkfrom.Evenifyoudont,makesuretostatethatpeople
areenteringasafespace,wherevulnerability,selfawareness,andchecking
assumptionsareallhighlyencouraged.Givepeoplethecontextthattheyre
enteringadifferentcontainerfromtheoutsideworld.
Onceyouvedecidedonagreements,Isuggestalwaysusingthesamesetinall
eventsofthatkind.Peoplewillstarttousethatframeworkintheirthinkingas
theystepintoeachevent,andevenintheirdailylives.
Examples

Createtheflow
Introducethefacilitators
IntroduceAuthenticRelatingandwhywedoit
Statethethemeforthenight(ifany),andwhatinspiredthattheme
SettheAgreements
Havesomesortofcheckinwithself(ameditation,wanderingpresencegame,
etc.)
Havesomesortofcheckinwithother(asentencestem,eyegazingetc.)

CreatetheprogressionofGames
AGamesNightcanbelikenedtoskydiving.Thereneedstobeaninitialdrawand
excitement(promotingtheevent,welcomingpeopleintothespace)andsafety
established(introductionoffacilitatorsandAR,agreements).Then,therideup
(initialconnectionandnamegames),thejumpoutandecstaticfall(gamesto
buildintimacyanddepth)andanintegrationontheground(sharesandTruths).
Afterwards,therestimetohangoutandshareyourexperience!
OneGamehelpssetcontextandsupportthenextGame,whichhelpssupport
thenextgameandsoon.Theidealistomakesuchseamlesstransitionsthat
everyoneis100%engagedandenrolledtheentireevening.EveryGameserves
aconsciouspurpose(evenifthatpurposeisjusttolightenupandhavefun).
Mybarometer,inchoosingwhichGamestoplay,when,andhowtoplaythem,is
howdoIwanttheroomtofeel
?Iclosemyeyesandimaginehowpeoplewill
feelafteraparticularGamewilltheybelitup,playful,contemplative,havinga
rangeofdifferentexperiences?Mygoalistocreateasmoothexperiencefor
participantsaswemovefromintroductiontointimacy.
Forexample,ifwevejustplayedahighenergyimprovgamelike
WhatchaDoin?,Iwillprobablynotwanttodroptheroominstantlyinto
AngelWalkorCirclingunlessmythemeforthenightissomethinglike

DealingwithChange!Alwayscheckinwithyourintentionfirstwhen
choosinggames.
Seeifyoucantakeparticipantsonajourney,onewheretheyfeelcaredabout
andheldateveryturn.Thecareyouputintocraftingtheexperiencewillbe
reflectedintheroom.
And,neverbeafraidtochangeupyourprojectedflowifthegroupdoesnt
feelcohesive,oryoufeeluncomfortable,oryoujustdontlikewhatis
happening.Facilitationwouldbeboringifeverythinghappenedtheway
youwroteitonpaper!
ListofGames

CreatetheplayofGames
EveryGamecanbeplayedamyriadofdifferentways.Tome,thisiswherethe
realartoffacilitationcomesin.Payattentiontothebalancebetweensingle,pair,
smallgroup,andfullgroupgamesstrictlyinstructedgamesandmore
openendedonesgamesthatwarmpeopleupandgamesthatbringintensity
(playvs.depth).Asageneralguide:
PickingtheGroupSize
SingleGames
(onesplayedinsideonesownexperience,suchas
meditation)helpparticipantsdropintothemselveswithoutworryingabout
howtheyareperceived.Theseareusefulasatouchstonetogetpeople
reconnectedwiththeirauthentictruth,andtodropusbackintopresence.
Iliketopeppermeditationsinthroughoutthenight,especiallywhenthe
roomisstartingtogetchaotic.
PairGames
(playedindyads)allowforindividualized,customized
interactions.Pairgameswillproduceawiderrangeofexperiences,and
willhelppeoplegettoknoweachotheronadeeperleveloften,these
interactionsarewhatpeoplewillremembermost.However,theydont
allowforasmanypeopletoconnectduringthecourseofthenight,andit
willbemoredifficulttotellwhetherornotparticipantsareactuallyplaying
orfallingintoconversationinstead(whichisfine,butnotauthentic
relating).Pairgamesareimportanttodemonstrate.Ialsoalwayshaveat
leastonenonparticipatingfacilitatorwatchingtheroomduringpairand
smallgroupgames,abletostepinandredirectaninteractionthatis
goingofftherules,orinwhichsomebodysboundariesseemtobeatrisk
ofviolation.
SmallgroupGames
(playedingroupsof3?people,usuallynotmore
than8)offeragoodbalanceofcommunityandindividualdepth.They
workwellforgivingparticipantsachancetoexperiencedifferent
perspectives,toalloweverybodytimetoexpress,andtovarythefeeling
ofagame(forinstance,wesometimesmovepairnoticingintogroupsof3
or4afteracouplerounds).SomeGamesarespecificallyconstructedto
beplayedinsmallgroups,andmostcanbemodifiedtoworkwith

differentnumbersseewhathappenswhenyoutryaddingorsubtracting
thenumbersinyourplan!Smallgroupgamescanbecomedrainingif
theylasttoolong,whichisaneasytrapsincegivingeachparticipanta
turntakeslongerthanitwouldindyads.Payattentiontowhere
participantsattentionseemstoflag,andasktheroomhowengagedthey
areifyoureworriedthatagamehasgoneontoolong(Iwillrarelyplan
anyonethingtolastmorethan45minutes).
FullgroupGames
(playedeitherinafullcircle,orminglingamongall
participants)canhelpcreateanatmosphereofsafetyandcommunity,
becausetheygiveeverybodyachancetointeract.Theyarealsohelpful
asfacilitatorselfcare,sinceyouwillgetachancetoplaywiththegroup!
TheseGamesareoftenthesimplesttofacilitate,sinceyoucaninstantly
trackanythinghappeningintheroom,andcanmorereliablyalteror
checkinontheemotionaltoneofthegroupasawhole.Caveat:ina
largegroup,bewareofplayingtoomanyfullgroupgameswhere
everybodygetsachancetotalk(forinstance,SentenceStemsor
roundrobinTruths),especiallyifyouchooseamoreinvolvedprompt.If
eachpersontakesaminutetoanswer,inagroupof30people,other
participantsmaybecomedisengagedbeforethecircleiscomplete.
Fullgroupgamesoftenrequiremoredirectivenessonthepartofthe
facilitatorlearntolovinglybutfirmlyrepresencethekindofansweryou
want,andhowshortyouwantittobe.
ChoosingandIntroducingtheGames
Ordervs.Chaos:
Ifyougiveclearanddirectinstructionsforagame,
includingexamplesanddemos,peoplearemorelikelytohavethekindof
experienceyouintend.However,givingtoomuchinstructioncanlimitthe
parameterswithinwhichparticipantsfeelfreetoplay,andgivethema
lessindividualizedexperience.Playwithsettingdifferentamountsof
contextanddemonstratingGamesindifferentways.PRACTICEsetting
contextbeforeyourunanewgame!!Oneofthebestwaystothreatena
beautifullydroppedin,safespaceistogiveunclearinstructionsandnot
knowhowtoclarify.
Playvs.Depth
:Ilikecreatingabalancebetweenplayanddepthinmy
nights,bothintheGamesIchooseandhowIleadtheroommakinga
jokecansometimesdroptheroomindeeper,byofferinganotherlayerof
comfortbeforedivinginwhilereallyexploringandhonoringa
participantsshareafterasillygamecanbringajoyfulroomcloser
together.IntermsofchoosingGamesonascalefromplaytodepth,
decidewhatsortofexperienceyouwanttocreate.Neitherendofthe
spectrumisbetterthantheother.YOUgettodecidewhichyouwould
prefer,atanygiventime,andyoucanasktheroomthroughoutthenightif
theyarewantingeithermoredepthorlevity.However,ifyouplantooffer
anespeciallydeepdive,itshelpfultonotethisintheeventdescription

preevent.Participantswhocomein(andbringtheirfriends)expectinga
lightsocialexperience,andgetdroppedintoFlyontheWall(where
otherstalkaboutyou,inyourpresence,asifyouwerentintheroom)
maybe...lessthanhappy.
Leavetimeforsharesafterintensegames(oraftereverygameifyouprefer
sharescanbeagreatwaytoestablishgroupconnection,especiallyifyoucircle
thesharersalittle)
EndthenightwithTruths,Intimacies,orAppreciations,andannouncements

Roles
ThelastpieceinplanningaGamesNightflowistodecidewhatrolesfacilitatorswillplay
duringthenight.Allofthefollowing,exceptHeadFacilitator,areoptional.
Checkinperson
Collectsmoneyorconfirmsprepays,gathersemails
Greeter(s)
Makeattendeesfeelwelcomefromthemomenttheywalkin(onceyou
haveacommunityestablished,youcanaskregularstotakeonthisroleif
youwant)
HeadFacilitator(s)
Introduceandclosetheevening,haveexecutivepowertochangeupthe
planduringthenight.
CoFacilitator(s)
Rundifferentgames,onhandfortriage
(supportingparticipantswhohave
anintenseemotionalexperienceandneedtositoutofthegroupfora
time)
ortogiveagreementstolatecomers.
NinjaFacilitator(s)
Playinthegames,butcanstepoutonbreakstogivetheheadand
cofacilitatorsinformationonhowtheroomfeels(thetemperatureofthe
room)sothatthefacilitatorscanchangeuptheplanorapproachif
needed.Ninjascanalsomarkparticipantswhoseemtobehavingahard
time,foranybodyintheleadershipteamtocheckinwithonbreaks,or
partnerwithinpairgames.
NewFacilitators
IfyoureventincludesfacilitatorswhohavelittleornoexperienceleadingGames,
theHeadFacilitatorshoulddecidewhichrolethesefacilitatorsshouldplay,
incorporatingtheirdesiresasmuchaspossible.Possiblerolesincludehelpingto
demonstrategames,leadingagame,oractingasNinjaFacilitator.New
facilitatorsshouldalwaystakepartintheposteventdebrief.
Ifyouareanewfacilitator,andyouwanttoleadagame,practiceintroducingitto
andplayingitwithfriendsorotherfacilitatorsBEFOREleadingitduringaGames
Night.Duringthenight,remainopentoguidancefromtheheadfacilitatorheor
shemayaddtoorclarifyyourdescription,ormayofferyouasuggestion,andthis
isnotmeantasanyjudgmentagainstyou!PleasedonotleadaGameyouhave

inventedonyourfirstfullgroupfacilitation,andpleasedonotleadaGamethat
youdonotfeelfullycomfortableandabletointroduceandtakequestionson.

FacilitatingtheEvent

Therealpaydirtoffacilitationisholdingthespaceforagroup.Oneononerelatingcan
beauthentic,buttherealpowerandenergycomefromagroupinteractingwithwhats
realforallofthemcollectively.YoucansetthisspacebyA)Sharingyourauthentic
truth,B)Engagingthegroupasfullyaspossible,andC)Gettingparticipantsworlds.
Howdoyoudothis?Hereareafewguidelines:

BeAuthentic
Shareyourself.Themorevulnerableyouare,andthemoreyoupracticewhat
youpreach,themoreinterestedpeoplewillbeintryingwhateveryoureon!
Particularly,shareyourWHYforeverythingwhydidyouchooseaparticular
theme,oragame,ortostartanauthenticcommunityinthefirstplace?The
moreopenyoucanbeaboutyourowncontext,themoreclearotherscangeton
theirown.
Noteovertime,thiswillbegindefiningthewayyouinteractinallareas
oflife.Authenticity,foracommunityleader,shouldneverstopatthe
door.Themoreyoumodelyourdeepestcommitments,themoreothers
willtrustyou,andfeelinspiredtodothesame.
Demothegames.Thedepthofanygivengame,andthewayparticipantswill
playit,willbesetbythecontextyougiveforthatgameandhowyoudemoit.
Useexpressionsthataretrueforyouinthemoment,andexperimentonpushing
yourownedgeinauthenticity!

BeOpen
Gowiththeflow.AGamesNightwillrarelyplayoutthewayitlookslikeitwillon
paper.Yourskillasafacilitatordependsonhowwellyoucanrollwithwhats
actuallytrueinaroom,ratherthanwhatyouexpecttohappen.Youmaywantto
havesomegamesonthebackburnerincaseadeepnighttakesaturnforthe
fun,oryourunoutoftime,oryouhavemore/fewerpeoplethanexpected.
Decidewhatsmostimportanttoyoutocommunicate,andbeflexibleonhowthat
communicationisexpressed.
Staywithshares,whethertheyrepositiveornegative.Oftentimes,somebody
havinganuncomfortableexperiencewithagameandexpressingitisagood
thing(althoughitcanbescary,asafacilitator,toreceive!).Welcomeandinvite

allexperiences,inserviceofindividualsfeelingsafetohavealltheirexperience
welcome.

UseNonverbalCommunication
Youcanaffectaroomnotjustbytheflowofgames,groupsize,andtimingthat
youuse,butalsobyyourtoneandbodylanguage.
Ifyouspeakquickly,uselotsofbodymovement,andsmile,peoplewillfeelmore
playfulifyouspeakslowlyandmoveslowly,peoplewillslowtheirprocessdown
tomatchyours.Ifyouwanttodroparoomintopresence,keepyourhandsopen
andheadup,leavespacebetweenyourwords,andlowerthevolumeofyour
voiceabitsopeoplehavetotrytolisten(oncetheroomisquiet).
Yourparticularpresenceisyoursuperpowerandyourkryptonite.Ifyoutendto
speaksoftly,peoplemaybemoreattentivebutgettingtheirattentionwillbe
moredifficult.Ifyourmovementsarejerkyandwithdrawnandyouhavetrouble
makingeyecontact(awkwardness/introversion),peoplemaynottrustyouas
muchbuttheymayalsofeelrespectforyouandadesiretosupportbecauseof
theefforttheyseeyouputtingouttolead.Ratherthanchangingwhatyou
naturallydo,firstseeifyoucanmakeittheuniquegiftyoubringtoleadership.If
youresoftspoken,asksomebodyelsetohelptheroomwrapupafteragameor
useabell,andthenyourvoicewillcreatedeeperpresenceinthesilence.Ifyou
feelawkwardinfrontofgroups,behonestabouttheeffortittakesyoutobe
there,andyourauthenticitywillinspireothers.
Protip:Haveyourinnercommunity,orfriends,helpyoutoidentifythe
superpowersandkryptonitesthatyoubring.

EngagetheGroup
Includeandvalidate
Whenonepersonshares,youcanask,whoelseexperiencedthat?
Raiseyourhandand/orwhohadtheoppositeexperience?Raiseyour
handand/orWhohadatotallydifferentexperience?(togetalaughand
includeallperspectives).Thishastheindividualfeelingwelcomedandthe
groupfeelinginvolved.
Playwithphysicalspace
Standfurtherawayfromthesharersotheyhavetotalklouder
Movearoundasyoufacilitatealargegroup
Playwithdifferentsizedgroupsanddifferentpeopleplacements
Playwithattention
Speakslowlytoholdagroupsattention
Beokwithsilence
Shutpeopleupwhenyouneedtheirfocus
Protip:TrythephraseIfyoucanhearmyvoicesayshh.You
canalsouseagong,oraskpeopletoclaptheirhandsiftheycan
hearyou.

Youmayhavetoaskpeopletobequietmorethanoncethisis
finegivethemenoughtimetocompletetheinteraction
comfortably(around1020seconds).Then,askagainmore
loudly,ormakeajoketobreakuptheenergy.
Playwithorder
Changeupwhogoesfirstinanygivengame.IfAhasbegunlasttime,
haveBstartthistimeorthrowawrenchinthingsandmakeAstartagain!
Note:dothisonlywhenitfeelscalledforifyouchangethingstoomuch
outofafearofgettingboringoradesiretoexercisepower,peoplewill
begintofeeldistractedfromtheirexperience,andlosetrustinyouasa
facilitator.
Youcandecidewhogoesfirstbychoosingthepersonwiththe
longest/shortesthair/nose/fingers,biggest/smallestears/feet/name,
askingpartnerstoreachoutandtapeachotherontheknee(theonewho
madecontactfirstgoesfirst,butmakethisclearaftertheytap),ormaking
awayofdecidingupinthemoment!
Calloutimplicitcontexts
Speaktheelephantintheroom.Ifpeopleseemonedge,sayweseem
agitated.Doesanybodyelsefeelthat?Or,Whatisntbeingsaidhere?
Or,Wereallsharingpositiveemotions.Didanybodyhaveadifferent
experienceinthatgame?
Playwithdemographicsandenergy.Bewillingtocalloutgender
balance,aggression,power,sexuality,race,age,etc.inserviceofhaving
moreroomtoplay.Imostlyusethispracticeinnightswithaspecific
themetowardsoneofthesecontexts,orinalongertraininglotsof
energycanbereleasedwhendemographicsaremadeexplicit,because
itsusuallyconsideredpoliticallyincorrecttospeakthem.

EngageIndividuals
Whensomebodyshares,try:
Lettingthemknow,byeyecontactandbodylanguage(anodorahand
overyourheart)thatyouheardthem
Repeating(ascloselyaspossible)exactlywhatthatpersonsaid,tohave
themfeelheard,tocheckthattheycommunicatedwhattheywantedto,
andtomakesurethegroupunderstood
Summarizingtheshare.What,toyou,wastheheartofwhatthatperson
said?Summarizethatandcheckintomakesureyougotitcorrect.
Expressingwhatyoufelthearingtheirsharethepersonalimpactithad
onyou
Projecting.Imaginewhatthatexperiencewaslikeforthatperson,orwhat
theyrefeelingastheyshareaboutit,orwhattheirsharesaysaboutwho
theyare,andshareyourimagination.Thencheckinaboutwhatyousaid.

Beingcurious.Askmoreaboutwhattheysaid,howthatexperiencefelt
emotionally/physically,andwhatitmeanttothem.

ManagingIntensity
Sometimes,aparticipantmaysharesomethingwithyou,orwiththegroup,that
feelsextreme.Examplesmightbeapasttraumasuchasrape,abuse,or
suicidalitycurrentmentalorphysicaldisordersorworriesaboutfutureharmor
instability.TherearedifferentwaysIhandlethisand,caveathere,IamNOTa
trainedtherapist(althoughIoftenconsultwithcounselorsandpsychiatristson
howtoaddressissuessuchasthis).
Inagroup
:
Oneresponseistopausethegame,orwhateverinteractionis
occurring,andasktheparticipantwhosharedhowitfelttoshare
that.Youmaywanttocirclethemforafewminutesontheir
experience.Ifthegroupseemsaffected,checkin,howarewe
feelingrightnow?Or,Whatsyourexperienceof(participant)
rightnow?Theintenthereistohavethepersonwhosharedfeel
liketheirexperienceiswelcomeandtheyarevalidatedasa
person,andasamemberofthegroup.Whenyoufeelthat
intentionhasbeenaccomplished,youcanthankthesharerfor
theirhonesty,andmoveonwiththegame.
Anotherresponseistomakeeyecontact,thanktheparticipantfor
his/herhonestyandacknowledgethecourageittooktoshare,and
thenmoveon.Whilewearenaturallyinclinedtobringattentionto
themostintenseexperiences,thecoreofAuthenticRelatingis
validatingallformsofhumanity.Atraumadoesnotnecessarily
requiremoretimeorattentionthananexpressionofjoyinfact,
overfocusingonintenseexperiencescanhavepeoplefeel
singledoutoridentifiedasvictims.
Yourbarometerforhowtoaddresssituationslikethiscanbeyour
feltsense,thesharersexperience,and/orthegroupsresponse.
Ifyoufeeladistinctshiftinyouremotionalorphysicalexperience
whensomebodyshares,thatcanbeasigntocheckinontheir
experienceperhapswhattheyjustsharedwasveryvulnerable,
andcouldbenefitfromvalidationoraconfirmationofacceptance
inthegroup.However,ifyoudontfeelmuchevenwithanintense
share,itmaynotbesomethingtheparticipantwantstoexplore
(theymaybefeelingguarded),orastorytheyhavetoldmany
timesbefore.Youcanstillcheckinonthis,justdontassumethat
youalways
haveto
ifyoudont
wantto
.Yourdesireisoftenyour
besttoolinfacilitation.However,youmaystillwanttocheckin
withtheroomifpeopleseemuncomfortableafteranintenseshare

Thatwasavulnerableshare.Howarewefeelingrightnow?
Wouldanythinghelpyouallfeelcompletewiththatinteraction?
Regardlessofhowyoudealwiththesituation,itisalwaysagood
ideatocheckin(oraskanotherfacilitatororcommunitymember
tocheckin)withtheparticipantwhoshared,oneonone,afterthe
event.Thiskindofcareissimpleandwillhelpbuildsafetyinthe
community.
Oneonone
:
Asafacilitator,youcansometimes(withorwithoutdesiringit)
becomeaconfidantforyourcommunity.Ifamembershares
somethingintensewithyouoneonone,thebestfirstresponseis
tocheckinwithyourself.Ifyourefeelingsupportiveand
available,youcanaskthesharerhowtheyfeel,andofferthem
empathyfortheirsituation.However,ifyourefeelingfrightenedor
overwhelmed,youdonothavetocontinuetheinteraction.If
youreoverwhelmedbutwanttheparticipanttogetimmediate
support,connectthemwithanotherfacilitatortooffertriage
(circlingand/orempathiclistening).Ifyouareafraidfortheir
immediatewellbeing,connectthemwithsomebodytooffertriage
(ordoityourself),butalsobehonestaboutyourfearfortheir
safety,andaskifyoucanhelpconnectthemwithatrained
therapist.Itsgoodtohavealistoftherapistswhoknowyour
communityandwillbeonhandforreferrals.
Authenticcommunitycansometimesblurinboundariesbetween
socialgroupandhealingspace.Whenweinvitetruth,wereceive
allvariantsandintensities.Gaugeyourownabilitytohandle
thesekindsofshares.Often,empathyisexactlywhatsomebody
needstofeelcomfortableintheirexperience.Intwoyearsof
runningacommunity,Ihavereferredmemberstotherapistsonly
twice,andofferedtriagecountlesstimes.However,youareNOT
responsibleforbeingaconfidantinsituationsthatyoudontfeel
confidenthandling,ORformakingsurethateverypersonissafe,
sound,andhappyafterthenightends.Donotconfusebeinga
communityleaderwithbeingacommunityparent.Ioftensupport
participantsoutsideofanight,butImakesurethatthisisachoice
ratherthananobligation,andwillchoosetoofferformalcoaching
orsetaboundaryifIbeginfeelingdrainedbyasupportrole.

CompletingtheEvent

Offertriage/empathyattheendtoanyonewhoneedsit.Makeitclearthatthisisa
community,notasingleevent,andpeopledonothavetoprocesstheirfeelingsalone.
Makeyourselfavailableforsharesorquestions.Encouragetestimonials,tobewritten
downinthemomentorsharedontheFacebookgroupafterwards.
Collectmoney,payyourselfforsnacks,andhaveaplanforwhattodowithanyextra
(Nonprofitcoverscholarshipstofutureevents,payforfacilitatorbondingevents,have
betterfood,etc.Profitpayyourselfandyourfacilitators,andkeeptheexcess!)
Haveapostgameswrapupanddebriefwithfacilitators.Ask:
Howdidthenightgo?
Howwastheflowofgames?
Howdidnewgameswork,iftherewereany?
Whatfeedbackdoeseachpersonhaveforthefacilitators?Trytoshareboth
positiveandnegative.
Howdidthefacilitatorsthinktheydid?
Whatcouldbeworkedonfornexttime?
Leaveroomascleanasyoufoundit
OPTIONAL:postonyourFacebookgrouptoaskpeoplewhattheythoughtofthenight,
andshareyourownexperience.

TheAfterglow

CreatingaCrew

ItisntnecessarytocreateacrewforrunningGamesNights.Ifyoucapyournumbers
foreachnight,andstayawareofyourowncapacityaroundhowmanyeventstoleadper
week/month,aswellasthedegreeofsupportyouwanttoofferoutsideofnights,you
maynotneedhelp.However,ifyouwantyouroutercommunitytogrow,yourowninner
communitycanhelpsupportthatgrowth.Evenifyoudontthinkyouwillneedhelpin
leadingevents,itshardtogetthefullbenefitofAuthenticcommunityifyourenotlivingit
asyouleadit.

SizeandStructure
Eachcommunitydoesthisdifferently.Youmaychoosetoleadyourcommunity
alone(asinDCandSantaCruz),ortohaveasmall,closedfacilitatorgroup(as
inPortlandandNorway),ortoopenupfacilitationtoanybodywhowantstolearn
(asinAustinandToronto).Eachoptionbringsitsownchallengesand
opportunities.
A
singleleader
doesnthavetoworryasmuchaboutinterpersonal
drama,scheduling,pricesharing,ordifferenceofopinion.But,he/shewill
alsohavetobeavailabletoleadeveryeventandcanriskburnoutfrom
nevergettingtoplay.
A
closedcrew
canbecomedeeperinconnections,skills,andcoordinate
moreeasily.But,noteverybodymayhavetheabilitytocommitasmuch
timeasasmallcrewrequires(sincethosememberswillbeleadingallthe
events),andaclosedcrewdoesntgiveotherstheopportunitytoget
involvedinaleadershiprole(which,Ivefound,isahugewaytocatalyze
personalgrowth).
An
opencrew
canbenefitfromtheirdiversityofopinionandavailability,
andallowsmorepeopletofeelinvolvedintheorganization.Ontheother
hand,noonepersonfeelsasmuchresponsibilitytomakethingshappen,
socoordinationisnecessary.Itcanbecomedifficulttofigureout
schedulingandmakedecisions.Anopencrewwillrequireclearer
agreementsanddivisionofroles,whichcanbeimplicitinsinglepersonor

smallerorganizations.However,opencrewcommunitieshavethemost
massivepotentialforgrowth,astherecanbetensorevenhundredsof
leaderswhoeachfeelempoweredtobringAuthenticRelatingtotheirown
areasofinfluence,whichwillcrosspollinateyoureventsinturn.
Often,yourcommunitywillbeginwithonestructure,andchangetoanotherasit
grows.TheAustinandHoustoncommunitiesbothbeganwithafewfacilitators
leadingonequalfooting,andtransitionedintoopencrewswithasingle
leader/coordinator.AuthenticNewYorkbeganwithtwoleadersandtransitioned
toasinglelead,whileAuthenticPortlandquicklydevelopeda4personclosed
crewandstuckwiththat.Bereadyfortoreevaluatewhatyourgroupisneeding
andwhatyou,asaleader,areneedingthroughoutthelifecycleofyour
community.
Regardlessofwhatoptionyouchoose,makesuretoputtimeasideforfacilitator
meetingsandyourownopportunitiesforplay.

FindingYourCrew
Yourcrewcanbemadeupoffriends,acquaintances,orstrangersyouvejust
met.However,Ivefoundthatagreatwaytofindcollaboratorsistostartholding
events,andseewhooftheregularattendeesismosta)interestingtoyouto
collaboratewith,b)skilledintheareasyouwant,andc)interestedin
collaborating.Whenyouidentifysomebodyyoufeellitupabout,letthemknow
yourfeelings,andseeifyoucanachievereciprocality!
Makesuretopickyourteamcarefully,andbeclearwiththemaboutyour
expectations,hopes,anddesiresabouttheirparticularrole.Itseasiertoadd
peoplelateronthantoremovepeopleoncetheyreontheteam.Ontheother
hand,youneverknowwhatsomebodywillcontributetoyourorganizationuntil
theyregiventhechancetotry.InAustin,Iveleanedtowardsmakingthegreater
facilitatorcrewopentoanybodywhowantstojoin,butcarefullypickingthe
peopleIwanttoworkwithonmoreinvolvedprojectssuchasimmersionsand
facilitatortrainings.
Asyouaddpeopletoyourteam,figureoutawayofintroducingthemtothe
groupculture:whatrolesdoyouplaywitheachother(ex.whocaninvitenew
peoplein,whomakesdecisions),logistics(whenandwheredoyoumeet,how
oftendoyoucheckinwitheachother,whatcommunicationformatsdoyouuse),
andnorms(whatagreementsdoyouhavetogether,howareconflictsresolved,
howdoyoucosupporteachotheringrowth).Thiscanbeachievedthrough
shareddocumentsofrulesandnorms,assigningamentortoeachnewperson
entering,trainingdays,orsimplycheckinginwiththenewpersonovertimeto
seehowtheyreintegratingandiftheyhaveanyquestions.

CoheringaCrew

Creationistheeasypart.Nowthatyouretogether,howdoyouSTAYtogether?
Regularmeetings,divisionofroles,communicationstructures,practicingauthenticity,
andanacceptanceofchangewillhelpyourcommunityweatheralmostanystorm.

Facilitatormeetings
TheAustincommunityholdsameetingeverytwoweeks,onaverage,for34hourseach
time.Onemeetingamonthwillinvolvecommunitylogistics,andonewilljustbefor
facilitatorconnectionandplay.Weverecentlyopenedthecommunitymeetingupfor
anybodytojoin,facilitatorornot!Meetingscaninclude:
Personalconnection
Spacetocheckinandhearabouteachotherslives.Thiscouldtake
placethroughanopenformat,Games,orcircling.
Communityclearings
Haveanyissuescomeupinyourcommunitylately?Complaints,
concerns,suggestionsforimprovementbymembersorfacilitators?This
canbeanopportunitytodiscusspolicyaroundtheseissues,ordecideif
theyevenmeritattention(noteveryissuehastoberesolvedits
importanttostrikeabalancebetweencreatingasafecontainer,and
overprotectingthecommunity,whichcanstifletheagencyand
expressioncrucialtoAR)
Communitydevelopment
Whatopportunitieshavecomeupforyourcommunity?Whatcouldyou
usetofeelmoreconnectedasacrew(likecommunityretreats,facilitator
bondingevents,happyhours,dinners,etc.),toofferARinareaswhereit
currentlydoesntexist(likegenderwork,corporate,schools,different
areasofyourcity,etc.),andtomakeyourcommunityevenmorebadass?
Havepeoplepresentproposalsandideas.
Logistics
Whowillbefacilitatingeventsforthenextfewweeksormonths?Decide
whatsortsofeventsyouwanttorun,whowillrunthem,andwhatsupport
yourleadersneed.
Takingstock
Onametalevel,whatisworkingandwhatisnotinhowyoustructure
meetings,events,andyourcommunicationwitheachother?Tensions
(accordingto
Holacracy
)areoftencausedbytheabsenceofsomerole,
process,orstructureintheorganization.Seeingissuesasopportunities,
andtakingastepbacksothatwhatispersonalbecomesprocess,can
helpyouformastronger...everything.
Planningforgrowth

Communitymeetingsareagreattimetolooktowardsthefuture,and
decidewhatpiecesyoucanputinplacetoaccelerateyourgroupsouter
reachandinnerdepth.ShouldyoustartasecondGamesNight,or
circlinglab,orTgroup?Shouldyoubringinoutsidefacilitatorstolead
complementaryevents?Doyouwanttoacquireacommunitycenter?
Planningmeetingsareatimetoenvisionyourgroupsidealfutureand
exploredifferentpeoplesideasonhowtogetthere...whilekeepingin
mindthatvariablesarealwayssubjecttochange,andansystemthatcan
evolvebasedontheneedsofeachmomentisgoingtobethemost
durable.Holdyourintentionsstronglyandyourexpectationslightly.

Play!
IfyouregoingtobeleadingAuthenticevents,youhavetobepracticing
whatyouteach!PlayGameswithyourcrew,circle,andifyouwantto
inventnewgames,makesureyoutestthemoutwithyourcrewbefore
leadingtheminanopennight.Thisisalsoagreatwayforfacilitatorsto
getpracticeyoucanopenuptheopportunityforanybodytoleada
game,andtheneverybodycangivethemfeedbackonhowtheydid,what
wasawesome,andwhatcouldbeimproved.

DivisionofRoles
Inbetweenmeetings,yourteamwillneedaframeworkofresponsibilitytomakesure
thateverythingthatneedstobedone,getsdone.Divisionofrolesoperatesatbothan
immediateandametalevel.
Attheimmediatelevel,youshouldmakesurethatyouandyourcrewknowwhois
responsibleforcoveringnecessarytasks.Possibleroles(eachofwhichcanbefilledby
anindividualorateamofpeople,andcanstaythesameforeachoccasionorbe
delegatedanewforeachmonth/meeting/event)include:
TheScheduleCzar
Setsuptheevents,coordinatesyourteamsmeetings
TheCopywriter
Writeseventdescriptions,setsoutyourgroupsvisions,keepstrackof
whatyourgroupdoesmeetingminutes,pastGamesplans,newGames,
etc.
TheAccountabilityTracker
Checksinregularlywithindividualsandteamstomakesureeverybody
doeswhattheysaidtheyregoingtodo
TheMoneybags
Tracksyourgroupsfinances,opensabankaccount,setsupPaypal
and/orEventbrite,keepsalistofwhoisprepaidforeventsandsharesit
withthedoorperson,collectsanddepositscashafterevents
TheFacilitators
Peopletrainedand/ortrustedtoleadevents
TheCoFacilitators

Peopletrainedand/ortrustedtosupportevents.Shouldalsobeableto
offertriage.
TheHeartbeatMonitor
Keepsthepulseofyourcommunityandyourfacilitatorteam.Can
organizefunevents,deeperdives,orevenjustaskeverybodytostopand
meditateforamomentiftempersgethigh.Makessureeverybodyis
gettingtheirbasicneedsmet,ifnothavingatrulyfulfillingtime.

CommunicationStructures
WhetheritsatextmessagingservicelikeGroupMe,aFacebookgroup,oranemail
thread,haveadefinedwaytokeepincontactwitheachother.Youcanusethisforboth
formalneeds(likecoordinatingaGamesNight)andsocial/emotionalrequests(like
askingforthesupportofyourcommunityduringahardtime).
Askyourgrouptoseewhatformofcommunicationworksbestforthem,andrequestthat
theycheckthatforumatleastonceeverycoupleofdays.Youmaywanttousedifferent
mediumsfordifferentcommunicationsforexample,textmessagingmightworkfor
remindingpeopleofameeting,whileFacebookmightbebetterforsuggestingnew
events.

PracticingAuthenticity
EventhoughweleadAuthenticRelating,wecanoftenlettheseskillsandtoolsfallby
thewaysidewhentheshithitsthefan.Thisisespeciallylikelywhenemotionsare
involved(ironicallyenough).Examplesmightinclude:
Havingtoplanalastminuteevent(timecrunch)
Dealingwithinterpersonalconflict
Notlikinganotherfacilitator
Feelingoverwhelmedwithcommitments
Gettingboredoruninspiredbythedirectionthecommunityisheading
Forallofthese,thebestanswer(inmybook)isto.relateauthentically!And,have
rolesandstructuresinplacetohelpstreamlinetheprocess.Heressomepracticable
suggestionsforeachissue.
Havingtoplanalastminuteevent(timecrunch)
Decidewhoisthefinalarbitratorfordecisions,orwhowillputtogether
aspectsoftheeventplanifitdoesntgetdone(ideallythishasbeen
decidedpreevent,oryoutrusteachotherenoughthatanyonecantakeit
onattheend).
Spendafewminutescheckinginabouthowyourefeelingrightnowthis
willcalmthegroupdown.
Clarifywhyyouredoingthis,and/orhowyouwanttheroomtofeel
during/aftertheevent,and/orwhatinspiresyouaboutdoingthiswitheach
other(ifyourefeelingdisconnectedandnotparticularlyinspired)
Fromthatplaceofmutualappreciationandconnectiontoyourmotivation,
startthrowingoutcontentideas.TrytopracticeaYes,andmentality

aroundeachothersideas.Ifconflictemerges,comebacktoWHYyoure
doingthis,WHATyourefeeling,andWHYyoucareabout/wanttowork
witheachother.
Createtheflowtogetherfromyoursuggestions,orgiveoneperson
autonomytocreateit.Divideupwhowillleadwhatdependingonwho
wantstoleadwhat,andtrytocreatewin/winsituationsbycoleading
activities,adding/subtracting/changinggamesslightly,and/or
emphasizingthegroupsmotivationforcocreation.
Expressappreciationforeachotherattheendoftheprocess!Ifyoucan,
citespecificexampleswhereyouappreciatedhowsomebodyelse
conductedthemselvestothebenefitofthegroup.
Protip:JUSTCIRCLE.JordanAllenandIplanimmersions,labs,
andclassesbycirclingeachother,ourmotivations,ourfears,
hopes,desires,etc.for90%ofthetimebeforetheevent,and
planning(ifweplanatall)inthelast10%.Bythetimewearein
suchadeeprelationalspace,wetrusteachotherandareattuned
witheachotherenoughtoputaflowtogetherinminutes.
Dealingwithinterpersonalconflict
Thiscanbeatrickyone,asegosandemotionscomeintofullcrosseyed
antagonismwitheachother.Here,morethanever,authentic
communicationisrequired.Isuggestafewstrategies:
Sharetheimpactanothersactionshadonyou,andstayopentotheir
experience.
TryusingtheformatWhenyou...Ifelt,andthenasking,What
didyouhear?Aftertheyrepeatitback,clarifywhatyousaid,if
necessary,tomakesureitlanded.Thenaskthem,Hearingthat,
whatdoyoufeel?Youcangobackandforthsharingyour
feelingsaboutthatinteractionforawhile,ormovestraightinto
askingthemtosharetheirexperienceofthesituation.
Dontgetstuckonstory.Themostimportantaspectofconflict
resolutionistofocusonEMOTIONSandNEEDSover
whosaid/didwhat.Yourstoriesmaynevermatch.Thatsok.If
yourefocusedonbeingrightoverbeingconnected,Iguarantee
thatyouwillbothwalkawayangry,frustrated,andunresolved.
CommunicateINPERSON,notoveremailortext.
Ahugeamountofourcommunicationisnonverbal.Whenconflict
happensovertext,weonlygethalfoftheinputweneedinorder
toknowhowsomebodyelseishearingorreactingtoourtruth.
Ideally,dontcalleitherwhenyouhaveanactiveconflictwith
someonemeetovervideoorinperson.
Takeastepback
Connecttowhyyouevencareaboutresolvingthisissue.Where
doyouandyourcompatriotinconflicthavesharedreality,ora

pointofagreement?Maybeyoubothcareaboutthecommunity,
orAuthenticRelatingwork,orhavingconflictresolvedcleanly.
Betteryet,maybeyoucareaboutandrespecteachother.When
youcanfindsomepointofagreement,theissueathandwill
becomemucheasiertoapproachyoucanapproachit
sidebyside,ratherthanatcrossangles.
Getamediator
BringinginathirdpartyisoneofthemosteffectivewaysIve
foundtoresolveconflict.Amediatorcanbreakthecyclewhen
youstartgettingstuckinpatternsofblameorcollapse,cancall
outmomentsofsharedreality(orcreatethem),canhelpclarify
andreflectunderlyingemotions,andcanprovidecommunity
support.
Anunbiasedpartyisbest,butmoreimportantisthatthemediator
havestrongskillsinauthenticrelating,empathytraining,or
circling.Youmayalsowanttocheckifanybodyinyour
communityhasbeentrainedinmediationitsausefulcertification
andintegratesbeautifullywithauthentictools.
Taketimeoff
Sometimes,especiallywhenyouvetriedallelse,itcanbeuseful
totaketimeawayfromaconflictandlettheemotionssettle.Puta
timelimitontheseparation,anddecidewhowilltakeahiatusfrom
thecommunity.Ifyouhavesuggestedtheseparation,youshould
offertotakethehiatus,unlessyourconflictbuddyismuchless
involvedinthecommunitydoNOTtrytokicksomebodyelseout
justbecauseyoudontfeelcomfortablewiththem.(Thisrulecan
bebrokenifyouareafraidofphysicalharm,toyourselforothers.)
Notlikinganotherfacilitator
Ithappens.Sometimes,especiallyinanopencommunity,somebodywill
joinwhojustpushesyourbuttons.Ifthishappens,youcanfollowthe
guidelinesforconflictresolution,above.ButmostimportantlySTATE
YOURTRUTH!Tellthatpersonhowhe/sheimpactsyou,withaslittle
blameaspossible(trytoidentifyparticularsituationsandwhatyoufelt).
Often,thatsortofhonestfeedbackwillbeagift.
Donotassumethatyouoryouremotionsareunwelcome,orthatyou
needtoremoveyourselffromthecommunitybecauseofaconflictora
personaldislikethatyouhaventactuallytriedtoaddress.Mybiggestpet
peeve,asacommunityleader,iswhensomebodydropsoutofthegroup
becauseofanissuethattheyneveractuallyspoke,oronlytoldtopeople
otherthanthepersonwithwhomtheyhadaproblem.Conflictcanbea
hugegifttoagroup.Itmeansthatwerebeinghonestwitheachother.
Caveattotheselasttwosectionsifyouareleadingacommunity,and
somebodycomestoyouwithaconflictordislike,Irecommendthatyou

donotplaceyourselfinthemiddle.Encouragethemtospeakwiththe
persondirectly,andoffertomediateorfindamediator.Ifyouinvolve
yourselfintheconflict,youwillA)becomedrained,B)deprivefacilitators
ofagrowthopportunitythroughaddressingtheirownconflicts,andC)set
atoneofinauthenticity.Ifyouwanttocreateauthenticcommunity,the
membersofyourleadershipteamshouldbepracticingtheseskillswith
eachother!Acommunityevolvestogether.
Feelingoverwhelmedwithcommitments
Again,thebesttoolhereishonesty.Ifyouhavetoomuchonyourplate,
rememberthatincommunity,youarenotobligatedtoplayanyparticular
role.Explorewithyourgroupthewaysthatyoucanbothstayinvolved
withthecommunity(ifyouwanttodothat),feelsupported,andbring
yourselfinacapacitythatdoesntfeeloverwhelming.Maybeyouhosta
facilitatormeetingatyourhouseratherthanplanningandleadingafull
GamesNight.Maybeyouvolunteertocraftanacknowledgmentforeach
facilitatorwhileyouretraveling,andsendthembacktothecommunity.
Maybeyoujustattendeventsforawhileratherthanleading.Remember
thatauthenticcommunityisfoundedonyougettingtobeyourfull,
authenticselfwedontneedanythingfromyouthatdoesntfeeltrueto
bring.
Gettingboredoruninspiredbythedirectionthecommunityisheading
Youcanplaymelikeabrokenrecord,babyagain,
justtellthetruth.
The
morewereshowingwhatweactuallyfeel,want,andbelieve,themore
westartfindingsubtleorradicalplacesthatouropinionsdiffer.MaybeI
wanttochargeforevents,andyouthinkthatsunethical.Maybeyou
wanttoinvitefriendsintoacirclingnight,andIthinkitshouldbeclosedto
thecommunity.Maybeyouwanttoturnallofoureventsintosnuggle
parties,andIwell,letsnotbeinauthentichere.
Whateverthisdifferenceofopinionis,practiceA)stayinginconnectionto
yourselfandtheothersduringthediscussion,andB)Creatingawinwin
situation.GetatthemotivationsbehindWHYyouwantwhatyouwant.
Forexample,maybeIwanttochargeforeventsbecauseIthinkpeople
willvaluetheeventsmoreiftheyhavetopay,andIwantthemtoget
valueoutoftheevents.Youalsowantthemtogetvalue,andyouwant
themaximumnumberofpeopletogetit.Wedecidetobothchargeand
offerscholarshipsforworktrade.
Onceagain,dontassumethatadifferenceinopinionmeansthatyou(or
somebodyelse)hastogiveuptheirdesires.Asanexample,Jordanand
IleadcirclingeventstogetherinAustinandacrosstheUS,althoughwe
differfundamentallyonourcorecommitments.Ifocusongetting
empathictoolsandexperiencesintomainstreamsociety(emphasison
highvolume,yinheavyconnectionsthatanybodycanaccess),whilehe
focusesondepth,evolution,andselfandgrouptransformation

(emphasisondeeper,moredevelopedrelationships).However,were
bothcommittedtobringingloveandconnectionthroughrelationship,so
weleadeventstogetherfromthatplaceandfocusondifferentareas
(AuthenticRelatingGamesvs.circlingandIntegral)whenapart.

AcceptanceofChange
Eventhoughtherearemanywaystokeepacommunitytogether,committed,and
inspired,youshouldbepreparedforyourgrouptochangeovertime.Thebiggestthing
torememberisthatchangeisnotyourfault.Iffacilitatorsdecidetoleaveyour
community,yourGamesNightshrinksinsize,oraconflictcausesturnoverinthegroup
well,thesethingsdohappen.Yes,thereareprobablywaysyouhadanimpactonthat
situation.And,itsnotyourfault.Norhaveyoufailedasaleader.Changeisinevitable
inanygroup.Aslongasyourintentionisbasedinadesiretocreateloving,honest
community,youredoinggreat,andyouwilldoevenbetterasyoucontinuetoleadand
learn.Justrememberthatmanypeoplesliveshavebeenmadebetterbywhatyoudo.

DealingwithBurnout

Asyoubuildyourcommunity,itisalmostinevitablethatatsomepoint,youwillhitawall.
Maybeyournumbershavedropped,andyoudontknowwhy(note:thishappensto
almosteverygroupatsomepoint).Maybeyourenotgettingenoughpayoffforthe
amountoftimeyoureputtingintoserveothers,orfeelingoverwhelmedbyalways
leadingandnevergettingtoplay.Maybeyourcrewmembersareallpissedoffand
puttingbutterineachothersshoes.Whateveritis,burnoutcanactuallybeapositiveit
requiresyoutotakeastepbackandreevaluatewhereyouvebeenandwhereyoure
going.

Herearesomewaystodealwithburnout:
Askyourcrewforhelp
Burnoutisoneoftheprimaryreasonstohaveacrew!Whenyouget
tired,thereareotherpeoplealreadytrainedandreadytopickupthe
slack.Callafacilitatormeeting,andbeauthenticwithpeopleabouthow
yourefeeling.Havesomesuggestionsforthekindsofhelpthatyou
want,andletotherproposetheirownideas.Youmightcomeoutfeeling
evenmoreenergizedthanbeforehittingthewall.
Askyourcommunityforhelp
Youputalotofworkinforothersbenefit.Evenifyouarechargingfor
yourevents,youreofferingaserviceincreatingAuthenticcommunity,

andyoureprobablydoingalotofextrasupportoutsideoftheevents.Let
yourcommunityknowtheamountofworkyoureputtingin(mostpeople
wonthaverecognizedthebehindthescenes),andmakerequestsfor
howtheycanhelp.Inmycommunity,thiswasaskingformorepeopleto
becomefacilitatorsforinternstohelpwithpromotionalworkandsocial
mediaforhugsandgenuinefeedbackonhowIwasdoingandevenfor
partnerstostartabusinessthatcouldgrowourrangeofprograms.
HoldaContextmeeting
Meetingsareusuallyfocusedonthequestionofwhatarewedoing?
Holdameetingwithyourcommunity,crew,orboththatsfocusedon
howandwhyarewedoingthis?Letyourselfbesurprisedbythe
answers,intriguedbynewideas,andinspiredbypeopleswhy.
Thisisagoodwaytoaddressnotonlyyourownburnout,butadropin
enthusiasmamongyourcrewandcommunity.Ifpeoplesneedsarent
beingmetespeciallyifwhatyouthinktheirneedsaredoesntaccord
withwhattheythinktheirneedsaregivingachanceforreevaluation
canhelpbringouttensionsthatarentbeingspoken,whichmightbe
causingpeopletodropoutofyourcommunity.
Chargemoney
Ifyourenotgettingfedemotionallyorphysicallyfromtheworkyoure
doing,youmightneedtoincreaseyourownincentive.Askingfor
donationsataGamesNightcanhelpyoureffortsfeelmoremutual.Most
communityorganizerschargebetween$1020perpersonfora23hour
event,orbetween$1501,000foraweekend.Gaugewhatfeelsfairto
you,pollyourcommunityifyoureundecidedonhowmuchtocharge,and
(optionalbutrecommended)includeanassurancethatnobodywillbe
turnedawayforlackoffunds.
Contactothercommunityleaders
Weareluckyenough,atthispoint,tohaveawidenetworkofAuthentic
communitiesspreadacrosstheglobe.Manyofusfacetheexactsame
issuesandinspirations,andmostofuswillhappilymakethetimetotalk.
Postaquestiononthe
AuthenticRelatingEventFacilitators
or
Authentica
Facebookgroupsaskaremotecommunityleadertocommiserateforan
hourreadthesedocumentsorasktheoldguard(DeckerCunov,
MichaelPorcelli,KendraCunov,etc.)whathaskeptthemgoing.
Remember,youarenotalone.
Checkoutalistofcommunityandcommunityleadershere:
Community
Contact
Findamentor
TheAuthenticworldcontainsahugenumberofcoaches,consultants,
mentors,andleaderswhocansupportyouonyourjourney.Askif
somebodyiswillingtoworkwithyouonanongoingbasis.Youcaneven
askanotherbuddingleadertoactasatouchstoneonyourjourney,

somebodytokeepincommunicationwitharoundchallengesand
excitementsyoubothface.Or,joinConnectionCorpsmentorship
programandwecanhelpyoutocreatewhatyoudesire!(Email
sara@connectioncorps.com
ifyoureinterestedinthat.)
Connectbackintoyourinspiration
Ifyourefeelingburntout,maybeyouneedapurposereinfusion.Goon
ameditationretreatforaweekend.PlayGameswithyourfriends.Attend
an
Alethia
,a
FacilitationTraining
,an
AMP
or
AWE
,oranotherAuthentic
event.Rememberwhyyouredoingwhatyouredoing,andgiveyourself
achancetoplay!

PersonalGrowth

Inauthenticcommunity,thegroupbecomes,toagreaterorlesserextent,areflectionof
itsleader(s).Thedemographicsofyourcommunitythekindsofeventsyourunthe
genderbalancethebalancebetweenfunanddepthallwillbepartiallydetermined
bythetypeofpeopleyouattractandhowyoushowup.Bythesametoken,themore
awareyouareoftheseimplicitcontexts,themorechoiceyoucanhavearoundthem.
Onefactorthatwilldeterminetheformandfunctionofyourcommunityisyourown
degreeofdevelopment.Theplacesyoucantgoaretheplacesyourgroupwontbeable
toeither.Ifyourenotcomfortableinsituationsofconflict,yourgroupwontbe
comfortableinthemeitherifyouredisconnectedfromyourownsexuality,yourgroup
willhaveahardtimeopenlyexploringthatedge.Evenifsituationsariseinwhichthese
shadowplacesarerightatthesurface,yourdiscomfortwillhavethegroupfeelingthat
theirexperienceisinsomewaynotwelcome,orevenwrong.
Thisdoesntmeanthatyouhavetobecomfortableineverysituation.Ifyoure
notcomfortablewithsexuality,perhapsoneofyourcofacilitatorsis.Or,ifyou
noticeaplaceyoudontfeelabletogo,youcanopenuptheconversation
arounditbyspeakingthecontextyouseepresentandowningitasapersonal
edge.Regardless,youshouldknowwhereyourblindspotsare,soyoudont
comeuponthemsuddenlyinagroupsituationandshockyourselfoutof
presence!
Thebestwaystobothdealwithburnout,becomeawareofyourshadows,andcreatea
communitythatisauthenticbyexampleistohaveastrongpersonalpractice.My
favoritewaytostructurethisisreferringtoIntegralLifePractice.ILPcreatesbalance
betweenmind,body,spirit,andshadow.SomeexamplesforILPinclude:

Mind

Mindpracticeshelpyourbrainstayactiveandintegratedasyoudevelop.Study
theliteratureonplaceswhereyoudontfeelnaturallyconfident,suchas
leadership,groupmanagement,nonviolentcommunication,etc.Writearticleson
whatyouvediscoveredinyourfacilitation,ormanualssuchasthis!

Body
Keepactive,bothtomanageyourenergylevels,togiveyourselfanoutlet,tofeel
morehealthy,andthedealwithstress.Ifollowmyownfeltsenseonthisone
onanygivendayImightdance,bike,run,doacroyoga,orplayaroundinapark
withfriends.WhenIfeelburntoutmentallyoremotionally,itsoftenasignthatI
needphysicalstimulation.
Spirit
Iconceptualizespiritpracticeaseithersomethingthatkeepsyouconnectedto
yourself,toasenseofsomethinghighersuchasmeditationorprayeroras
selffulfillmentandselfcare.Myspiritpracticesincludemeditatingtakingat
leastonedayeverytwoweeksentirelyoffofworkhangingoutwithfriends
writingpoetryinfancydressatasteampunkbartakingabathwithaglassof
wineandafewsquaresofchocolatecreatingflashmobsetc.Whateverfeels
genuinelyfulfillingtomeandgivesmeenergybackcancountasmyspirit
practice.Inthesameline,anythingthatallowsmetogivebacktothewiderspirit
oftheworld,likeleadingAuthenticRelatingGames,isalsoapracticeinthis
area.
Shadow
Shadowpracticeshelpexploresubconsciousreality.Goodpracticesinclude
therapy,journaling,someformsofmeditation,andgettingcircled.

Thatsall,folks.Formingandleadingauthenticcommunityhasbeenoneofthegreatestjoysin
mylife,andIwishyouthebestinguidingyourown.Ifyouwantfurtherassistance,feelfreeto
contactmeat
sara@authrev.com
.Icantwaittoseewhatyoucreate!!

AMapofCommunity

BasicNeeds

SustainableCommunity
Thesocial,environmental,andeconomicnecessitiesforcreatingalivingcommunity.Includes
strategiesforphysiologicalneedfulfillment,waystotranslatepersonalenergyintotangibleresources,
developmentofacommonvision,andamembraneforinclusionorexclusionofpotentialmembers.

StructureandAgreements

IntentionalCommunity
Thescaffoldingonwhichacommunityiscreatedandgrows.Thisincludescommonagreements,
clearrolesandresponsibilities,separationofpersonalandprivatebusiness,memberaccountability,
meetingstructure,rulesarounddecisionmaking,andcommunityoutreach.

Interpersonal

AuthenticCommunity
Thegluethatholdsustogether.Interpersonalcommunicationincludesformatsforrelatingand
waystoresolveconflict,aswellasskillsofselfawareness,personalagency,curiosity,appreciationof
others,andtheabilitytospeakthetruth.

Interperspective

IntegralCommunity
Thepersonalandinterpersonaldevelopmentthatallowsustobecomegreatertogetherthanwe
areapart.Includesexplorationofpersonalpatternsandneeds,developmentofasenseofselfindependent
ofone'srolesorothers'opinions,awarenessofcontext,theabilitytotakeonotherperspectives,anda
lookatcommunityneedsfromdifferentlevelsofdevelopment.