If you’re an entrepreneur these days, you hear a lot about “building your tribe”. Your tribe can help you make connections, point to a different perspective, lift you up when you’re feeling low, and support your initiatives and vision. These are all critical success factors for entrepreneurs. We need these things to grow, to stay motivated and ultimately to succeed.
But the more I think about the impact my “tribe” has had on me, the more I realize that it is not a perspective that should be reserved for entrepreneurs alone.
We ALL need a tribe to grow, to stay motivated and to succeed. What you need and who you need may change over time, and that’s ok. But continually building and nurturing your tribe is important. It’s important because in a world where we are tethered to our devices and can do anything and everything online, making meaningful, soulful connections with one another is what keeps us deeply human. We created this world with our tribes (for better or for worse). And guess what, to keep creating in the right direction, we still need them.
So how do you know who belongs in your tribe?
I thought about the beautiful people in mine, and they all had this in common:
- They believe in you. This is the most important criteria of them all. So important that even if they don’t fulfill any of the others, that’s ok. This one is enough.
- They offer a different perspective. I use the word “different” loosely — it could be they are in a different field, are older and wiser, have had a completely different upbringing, are young and scrappy or just see the world from a completely different lens than yours.
- They are thoughtful in their advice and feedback to you. The valuable members of your tribe will give you their time. They will think about you when you’re not together. They will be thoughtful and purposeful while sharing their thoughts with you. And of course, you will do the same for them.
- Your relationship feels authentic. We’ve all heard that saying —you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. If we take this advice too literally we could be carefully crafting our “five” in an icky and completely inauthentic way. Rather, let your tribe grow organically. You’ll know them when you meet them.
- They’ve suffered in life and have become stronger because of it. It is unavoidable to suffer in life. There are absolutely scales of suffering and you may have friends who you see from the outside and think, they definitely haven’t suffered. But the truth is, either they have and you don’t know it, they have and have suppressed it, or they’ve escaped so far and their time will still come. I don’t mean this to sound fatalistic at all. It is just the reality of being human. We all suffer loss, feel pain, get hurt at some point. There is something about those that have come through the other side. Not full of ego but with humility…At the fragility of life, the delicate nature of the human condition and a wise empathy. You will recognize them by their open hearts.
I don’t see or speak with my tribe every day. Some are new members, some have been there since the day I was born (hi mom!) but everyday they prop me up, give me strength, wisdom and generally make life more energized and beautiful.
If you read my writing you know that I fully believe in self-reliance. In knowing oneself and having a deep-rooted belief that everything we need is within us. But part of that knowing is understanding that our tribe helps us to grow, thrive and shine.
How do you find the people who belong in your tribe?
They may already be around you. They could be a relative, a colleague, a neighbour, an old friend. These wonderful people are those that already know and understand you.
But there is also something magical about bringing new people into that circle. Maybe it is someone you have looked up to from afar, or someone you crossed paths with at some point who stuck in your mind, or someone who reached out to you. Sometimes, these people can see you in a fresh way and reflect that back to you. They don’t intimately know your entire history — but they do see where you are today and where you want to go.
Growing your tribe can feel daunting at first. Anything that involves going out of your comfort zone does. One of the wonderful things about social media is that there are so many ways to make that connection—a comment on someone’s post, a direct message, or an email are all ways to reach out to those you want to know. Or find someone who knows who you want to know. Approach with an open, personal note and more than likely you will get a response (I have met so many incredible people this way—both by sending and receiving a note like that!)
Know and love your tribe. Don’t be shy about inviting new people into your life. Let connection with others change you (and you, them). And together, whether it is immediately obvious or not, you will create positive change. Maybe at first only in each others lives, but then in the people around you and beyond.
Healthy tribe isn’t about sameness, it’s about resonance. -Danielle Laporte