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  • Writer's pictureAmy Boyle

Is There a Joiners’ Anonymous? – Meet Barbara 51 of 52 Phenomenal Women

Updated: Feb 26, 2020

©Amy Boyle Photography 2019

Meet Barbara:

In her own words…

“Is There a Joiners’ Anonymous?

My uncontrollable joining was surely pre-ordained. I am the middle daughter in a family of 5 girls, raised in the 50’s and 60’s. That “middle-ness” is a part of who I am. Comfort and stability are there – in the middle of a group; preferably a group of women.

The occasional snags notwithstanding, I love being in the middle. And Joining is what gets me there.

My early Joining efforts were an extension of my life focus at the time; the Nursery School board, the PTA, Scouts. Then I gradually moved forward with community and civic organizations, local politics, and so many book groups – in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Ohio and New York in my 44 years of married life.

©Amy Boyle Photography 2019

Each group I Joined brought me the middle-ness I love… to be part of a diverse group of people, united by a common interest or purpose. Friendships flourish in such settings, and I appreciate the opportunities to learn from the shared foundation of each group. I imagine that at some level I am ever re-creating the spot that was uniquely mine during my early years.

Some amateur Joiners might take time to contemplate the act of Joining, do they want to commit to this group? Does the group add something to their full and busy life? What would they get, and what would they need to give? Not me… I sign up! Join now, evaluate later! (The sign of a Professional Joiner.)

And there are so many invitations to Join! With free e-newsletters, YouTube video subscriptions, private Facebook groups, gurus and “influencers” building their brand by increasing their followers and likes are more than happy to add my digital identity to their roster.

With my Inbox overflowing I am gradually pruning the results of all my Joining. Each group is a tribe. Which ones matter most? Which ones offer me that middle-ness I seek? The online book group hosted by the podcaster; the decluttering organizers; the minimalists; the people who use Bullet Journals; the favorite authors who have created inner circles… all are competing for my attention. It’s time for me to conduct an Attention Audit to determine which groups are in synch with me now.

©Amy Boyle Photography 2019

Of all the Joining I have done since my retirement five years ago, there is one tribe that sets the gold standard. One group of women that is extraordinary. Do you have a Tribe like that? Women on Fire ( is the magic that matters to me. And we will welcome you… if you Join! To be in the middle-ness of this group has inspired me to set goals and reach for what’s next; given me strategies for improving the quality of my life; and offered support along the way. I’ve learned so much; experienced so much and benefitted beyond what I can articulate.”

*** Please follow along on instagram as well and learn more about Barbara. This year for my birthday, I am embarking on a weekly photo essay project highlighting 52 Phenomenal Women. This is week 51 of 52. Participants in this project will be supporting the efforts of Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. We are all stronger together and it is my sincere hope that we will be inspired by each other’s stories. Now is the time to celebrate as well as encourage one another. Tell your story!**

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