All-In for Family Feasts

No matter where you live, or what you celebrate, the holiday feast season is coming up.

While traditional gatherings can be filled with fun food and good times, they can also bring up: 

  • Complex emotional situations
  • Touchy subjects
  • Past trauma, and
  • Toxic interpersonal dynamics

Since we began to use the All-In Method for planning travel, arranging family gatherings, and strategizing visits, we’ve been able to honor our personal values, protect our well-being, and avoid replays of toxic situations.

How to use the All-In Method for your Next Holiday Event 

With yourself: 

If you’re going to a gathering alone, and aren’t sure how people are going to handle:

    1. Following safe COVID guidelines
    2. Talking about politics or race
    3. Being kind and respectful in their relationship with you

Go through the All-In Method by yourself to get clear about your intentions, concerns, boundaries, and dreams for this specific event or trip.

Spend 10 minutes journaling all your thoughts and use them to help you plan accordingly:

  1. Intentions: 
    1. Why are you going? 
    2. What values does it help you live into? 
    3. Do you feel obligated and that’s the only reason you’re going?
  2. Concerns: 
    1. What fears, worries, or concerns do you have about specific people, traveling?
    2. Do you have any generalized, non-specific fears?
  3. Boundaries: 
    1. What do you need to feel safe at this event? (Don’t be alone with Aunt Sharon. Ask Stella to stick by my side as my “emotional support cousin”)
    2. What do you need to be your best? (ex: 1 cocktail only, leave by 9pm)
  4. Dreams: 
    1. If this event were to go beautifully, what would you feel at the end of it?
    2. If this event turned out for the very best, what would the other people feel at the end?

With Your Partner: 

If you’re going to a gathering with your partner, or trying to decide whether to go or stay home, use the All-In method together.

Spend 10 minutes writing out your thoughts separately before sharing them together. 

As always, agree to not talk over each other, or argue about points either person shares.

Then you’ll each take turns sharing your intentions thusly:

  • Person A: My intentions are…
  • Person B: My intentions are…

 

  • Person A: My concerns are…
  • Person B: My concerns are…

And so on.

Intentions: 

    1. Why are we going? 
    2. What values does it help us live into? 
    3. Do we feel obligated and that’s the only reason we’re going?

Concerns: 

    1. What fears, worries, or concerns do you have about specific people, traveling?
    2. Do you have any generalized, non-specific fears?

Boundaries: 

    1. What do you need to feel safe at this event or with these people?
    2. What do you need to be your best? 

Dreams: 

    1. If this event were to go beautifully, what would you feel at the end of it?
    2. If this event turned out for the very best, what would the other people feel at the end?

EXTRA CREDIT: 

You can also have the All-In Method conversation with friends or family before you arrive, or to help you come up with shared agreements before a party begins.

Use the same Intentions, Concerns, Boundaries, and Dreams format as above, and consider adjusting like so:

  1. Share this blog post or the Cheat Sheet from our book with friends or family before you all meet on a video chat, so you all have time to think in advance.
  2. Ask your hosts to schedule a time with you at least a few days before your gathering to share your thoughts.
  3. Begin the conversation with appreciation. Example: “Thanks for getting on the phone with me so we could prepare and make this an easy, fun gathering.”
  4. Agree at the start that you don’t have to figure out all the answers to your concerns or boundaries at this time. This conversation can be the first step, and you can talk again or email details to each other to finalize shared agreements.

Want to master the All-In Method? Listen to the Audible book here, and Bob and I will walk you through the psychology, tactics, and scripts to help you show up and be a great leader of tough topics!

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