Our Family Summit Guide
Recently, we’ve been asked several questions about our Family Summit after posting about it on social media. So, here are all the details. This is probably not the most polished blog post ever, but it is highly practical. My hope here is that you would take whatever best serves your family and just ignore the rest. This isn’t a magical formula. It’s just what we did at the end of this year. I’m sure we’ll change some things up for next year, but overall it was actually really awesome and I believe it will be very impactful for our upcoming year. So, let’s get started…
What you’ll need:
Calendar/Planner (for review)
Pictures from last year (photo app on your phone?)
Post-It Notes or Index Cards
Your family Vision, Mission, Values (etc) if you have those. (If not, check this out.)
Here are the steps to our Family Summit:
Below, I’ll go through each one in detail. Remember, this is not a hard and fast methodology for your family. If it works for you, great. If you can improve it, awesome. If you need to do fewer things in your Family Summit, do fewer things. Personally, this year it took us about five different sittings over three days to complete (1.1 Personal Reflection, 1.2 Dinner and Share, 2.1 Take Stock, 2.2 Upgrade and Establish, 3.1 Reorder and Commit). Do whatever makes the most sense for your family! But first, let’s talk about the why behind the Family Summit.
Why Family Summit?
The idea here is that we want our family to exist with intentionality. We are not content with listlessly drifting through each day and/or being passively driven by our culture and world. Businesses get this, but families usually do not. To achieve their desired results, businesses do things like having annual planning retreats, setting expectations for the coming year, having a clearly defined mission statement and set of core values. With so much attention and energy placed on creating healthy, sustainable, and impactful businesses, why would we put any less effort into creating healthy, sustainable, and impactful families?
More info: We’ve learned a ton about building a multi-generational family on mission. Much of this has come from Family Teams, Jeff & Alyssa Bethke, and Jeremy & April Pryor. We are super grateful for their influence on us. Check them out for more info.
Now, let’s get started…
This first step is all about looking backward and reflecting on your previous year. Find a cozy coffee shop, sip on a nice drink, and take time to pray and think over these questions for reflection. Don’t feel like you have to answer every single question; they are just there as a guide. Each spouse can write down their thoughts in their journals.
Over dinner, take turns sharing what you journaled about! Feel free to write down more reflections as they come.
Spend time writing down every weekly, monthly, and annual rhythm you can think of on post-it notes or notecards. Also write down goals/dreams, commitments, and anything else you think might need to be planned into your year ahead. Try to place the post-it notes/notecards in order of importance. Then ask yourself the question, “Should we eliminate an of the least important ones?” If the answer is no, that’s fine. But if the end of your list contains things that take a lot of your energy and joy, but give so little return, are they really worth doing?
Go through your post-it notes/notecards and rate each one on its effectiveness from 1–10. Discuss why and ways you might improve each one.
From your reflection time, is there anything you neglected or didn’t focus enough on this year that you want to make sure you give more attention to in the upcoming year? Write these on post-it notes/notecards as well and decide if you want to add them to your list. Do you need to adjust your Family Vision, Mission, Values, etc?
Looking at your current weekly rhythms and how you end each day, rate each day from favorite (1) to least favorite (7). How can you change things around so that you don’t have multiple low-rated days in a row? After you add your new rhythms and remove old ones, do you need to do more adjusting?
Do you both agree on your rhythms and plans for the upcoming year? If not, adjust until you do!
A Final Word
As I’ve said before, this isn’t a magical formula. Feel free to change and adapt this to your family and what makes the most sense for you. The Family Summit is a powerful tool that can help you be more proactive in building a healthy, sustainable, and impactful family. Don’t let it be a burden. If it’s not fun, you’re doing something wrong!
If you put this into practice, we’d love to hear how it went! Reach out on social media and let us know.