Our gearhead family is there for us when we need them. No doubt about it. Here at GBXM|united, we believe gearhead clubs are a great way to build a little more stability and power into our gearhead family and we want to help you start a club in your area. Previously, we gave three reasons why we need gearhead clubs. This time, we’re going look into how to build your club.
Again, I have to point out that this series was inspired by a long post on Art of Manliness (AoM). I’ve adapted the ideas for our unique audience here at GBXM. There’s a link to the original at the end of this piece, if you’d like to check it out.
THE POWER OF METAPHOR
“A picture is worth 1,000 words, but a metaphor is worth 1,000 pictures.” A metaphor explains one thing in terms of another. If I tell you we’re here to help you optimize your life and accelerate your own personal development, that might sound like corporate bullshit. What if I put it in automotive terms?
You know engines and motors make the power, but transmissions put that power to the wheels. You are the engine. GBXM|united wants to be the gearbox. We want to help you accelerate off the line quicker, carve life’s corners with confidence, and cruise at Autobahn speeds with aplomb. See what I mean? The power of metaphor.
STEP 1: INTENT & PURPOSE
The first and most critical step is to define your intention and purpose. Start with WHY. Why are we starting this group? At the most basic level, we want to start a club to DO something. Maybe it’s to race a LeMons car or volunteer at all the rallies in the region. Maybe it’s something bigger, like helping each other build high performance machines & lives.
First thing we need to do is think about why we want to get together with other gearheads and what we want the group to do. This is huge. We don’t even have to be doing huge, epic stuff every time we get together. A great reason might be to seek out new ideas and help us practice skills we didn’t even know about.
STEP 2: FIND THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Once we know why we’re starting our gearhead club, we can get an idea how big it will ultimately be. From my own past experience – I co-launched az2gnt.net and helped grow it to over 60 members across Arizona – 6-10 people is probably ideal. Less than that, you’re right on the edge of momentum; more, it becomes difficult to get everyone in the same place at the same time.
Next we start thinking about how we’ll find people to join. Start with your personal network – forums, Facebook, co-workers, neighbors – anyone who can physically show up. Whatever our club’s focus, we want to find people with varied interests beyond it; gearheads interested in personal growth and pushing past personal limitations. Variety is the spice of life and will keep our group interesting.
You might even consider posting up on Craigslist, City-Data, or Meetup.com. I know this is something I’m personally considering for a new, local club I’d like to start one of these days. (I’ve got some loose ends to tie up before I’ll have the bandwidth for such a project, though GBXM|united kinda counts.)
It’s also important we find gearheads with whom we wouldn’t mind spending entire weekends. Feel free to interview people for the group. Be open and honest about what you’re trying to build. If someone disagrees, they probably won’t want to join anyway!
STEP 3: CREATE THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT
“Whattaya wanna do tonight, Brain?”
“The same thing we do everynight, Pinky…”
See also those vultures in the tree in that one old Disney movie.
“I dunno. Whatta YOU wanna do?”
“Now don’t start that again!”
Creating the right space and intention is the name of the game, here. Yeah, it’s easy to set up a simple get-together with the gang, but how many times do you want to stand around trying to figure out what to do in that time – or just plan on standing in a parking lot?
On the one hand, we want to keep things simple. Consider scheduling a standing meeting place and time. One of the longest consecutively-running free car shows in the United States – Pavilions, here in Scottsdale, Arizona – has been running more than 20 years. If it’s not raining (and this is Phoenix), and it’s Saturday night. there’s a car show at Pavilions. Every Saturday night. At Pavilions shopping center. For 20+ years. You can count on it.
If you’re ever in the Phoenix area on a Saturday afternoon and it’s not raining (sometimes even IF it’s raining), you are guaranteed to find anywhere from a dozen to 600 gearheads showing off their wheels at Pavilions. It was there before Cars and Coffee. It will be there after Cars and Coffee. Why? Because it’s simple. Place. Time. Everything else is flexible.
Weekly meets might be a bit much, though. My local DSM group has a similar idea. Second Thursday of every month, at the In-n-Out Burger in Chandler on Ray Road. I haven’t been in almost two years, but I bet I could go this month and run into an old friend in that parking lot around 8PM. If not an old friend, possibly a new friend.
That’s how it works. Start simple. Pick a single date/time and location everyone can agree to every month. Then stick to it. If your group’s size isn’t too big, there’s a good chance everyone will make every meet. (That’s kinda what you’re after.)
Sometimes, we’ll get together, grab a bite, and do little more than shoot the bull, but I see clubs as being foundations for so much more. Could we help each other come up with Bucket Lists? Could we then help each other cross items off those lists? We could try skydiving, or camping, or even get CPR certified together.
It’s your club. Maybe you could put something about learning new skills in the official rules.
STEP 4: THE RULES
First rule of Gearhead Club is you talk about gearhead club. Rather than another Fight Club reference, consider keeping your rules simple and broad. You want them to guide – not limit – your group. Here’s a couple ideas:
- If you miss more than two meets in a row, don’t worry about coming back. Yeah, shit happens, but this is important to us.
- Once a year, we will all go on an epic adventure together. We will plan this together and help each other make it a reality.
- Once a year, we will all do something good for our community. We’ll come up with ideas as a group and make it happen.
- Once our group reaches 10 members, we’ll split into teams of five to make sure we can accommodate everyone’s schedules.
- Whenever there’s any doubt, there is no doubt. If there’s a chance any of us will need help with an upcoming project, we’ll give everyone else a head’s up.
STEP 5: SHOW UP!
Showing up means more than going to the once-a-month meet. It means being present. A proper club should never feel like an obligation. Everyone should genuinely want to be there and be interested in what’s going on. If not, something’s wrong.
Here are some ways you can do that:
- Think beyond the machines. What do your fellow club members want out of life? How can the club support their goals? Take an active interest in your gearhead brothers and sisters lives.
- Communicate. Anything interesting coming up the group might want to know about in advance? Got any ideas you’d like to share? Remember that one time we all…? Yeah. That was awesome.
- Take turns. Encourage the quieter, more easy-going members of the group to take on a decision-making role once in a while. Maybe even rotate responsibilities. You pick the location next month.
- Lead by example. Show up excited and ready to get into whatever the group has planned. Attitudes are contagious.
- Make it awesome. Why would anyone want to miss getting together with first class gearhead friends once in a while? Make it an experience.
GEARHEAD FAMILY: YOUR STABILITY & POWER
Traditionally, family is something you’re born into, but it can also be something you build. We know why we want to organize gearhead clubs. Hopefully these notes will help you get a club started where you live. Get together with people who give a shit about you and who you can count on when the chips are down. Be there for them and they’ll be there for you.
Source of inspiration for this piece: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/06/18/how-to-create-a-lifelong-brotherhood/