We live in an age of both under- and over- connectedness. Many of us, especially entrepreneurs or solopreneurs, spend a lot of time in front of our computers. While we are often talking to other people via email, Facebook, or other outlets, we are not spending as much time face to face. Humans are social creatures that are wired to connect.
We all need each other to be our sounding board, our shoulders to help us carry the load, to show us where center is when a storm comes through, and more. The saying “it takes a village” does not apply to just children — we all need a village or tribe to help us find our way through this world. The overly strong among us will try to do it alone, and you are welcome to try to be the exception, but life is more fun with friends, so why fight it?
A recent read stated that you are the average of the five people that are closest to you — you are as happy as they are, as wealthy as they are, etc., and it resonated with me. I want to live an incredible life and that requires surrounding myself with other incredible people that are on that same frequency.
Where to Find Your Tribe
There are a few ways to find your people. The most organic way is to live your best life and let the people come to you. What are you passionate about? Find things to do that feed that passion. If you love books, go to author talks or signing or discussions. If you love art, go to museums, art walks, and talks. If you love food, go on a food tour or to a wine dinner or a tasting. Find the place where people gather to do the things you love and go there and join in. If you are not sure where are how to find those places, check the local paper or local blogs to find out more.
How to Vet Your Tribe
My father used to say something growing up: “Trust, but verify,” and that has stayed with me. I LOVE meeting new people, but I’ve also learned that not everyone is rooting for you to win. I’ve learned to only let cheerleaders in, and I do not mean that as some mean girls metaphor, I’m talking about surrounding yourself with people that say you can do it whenever you announce a new idea and always root for you to win. Also pay attention to how they treat the people closest to them. If you meet someone who never has good things to say or is always tearing someone else down, get away quickly, because it is only a matter of time before they do the same to you. I do not really believe in bad people, although evil does exist, but I do know that hurt people, hurt people so sometimes people need space to heal.
How to Nurture Your Tribe
Like any good relationship, a tribe both gives and takes, so you have to find the right balance in your tribe. Your tribe should be able to rely on you and vice versa. Make sure that you are checking on and in with your tribe on the regular to keep the relationship thriving and make sure to have fun doing it. Dinners, walks in the park, yoga class, tea party, dancing, spa day, the list could on and on, so just do what feels right for you. The point is to have fun, reconnect, and motivate each other forward in life. Friends should make you better by loving you, teaching you, encouraging you, telling you when you are wrong, cheering when you are right, celebrating your wins, mourning your losses and generally being a witness to the good, the bad, and the ugly in your life. Just remember two things: you have to show up for those around you and speak up when you need others to show up for you.
How to Get Real With Your Tribe
Part of being a good tribe member is that you have to keep it real. I do not want any yes-men in my tribe and try to surround myself with people who are going to tell me the truth even when it’s difficult. In order to grow, sometimes we have to get uncomfortable. The truth is that none of us are perfect. We are going to let things fall through the cracks and fail or disappoint sometimes. Sometimes you have to call your tribe out and tell the hard truth. You do not have to be mean, or kick them while they are down, but once the dust has settled, pull them aside and let them know with love that they need to do better.
How to Let Your Tribe Nurture You
Remember that one of the benefits of having a tribe is that you do not always have to be strong. Having a tribe allows you to have other people in your life that want to love and nurture you, but you have to allow them to do so. We all have that strong friend that is always ready to help but is the last to ask for help (if you can not think of anyone, it’s probably you). You have to ask for help and lean on others when you need it, too, because that is the beauty and importance of having a tribe. It allows us to not have to do everything and to never have to be alone.
We all need each other, often more than we are willing to admit, and we are all deserving of love. So go forth and build your tribe, because we all need each other.