Find Your Tribe: Make Meaningful Connections
Let’s talk about your tribe. This is something I’ve been thinking about more and more, because I know it’s a commonality between the longest living, healthiest and happiest cultures. But having at tribe is about more than cultivating health. Tribes impart belonging. It’s about knowing that you’re not alone. That you’re not crazy. That other people care about the things you care about. That your accountable to someone or something and as a side effect, it’s about a network that can be lucrative to building a fruitful and meaningful life. Think you have a quirk that makes you unloveable? Think again. Are you an introvert that hates parties and drinking and you just want to read and drink tea? Yep. There's a tribe for you, too. This world is for everyone and the sooner you embrace what makes you YOU, the sooner we can get down to business in finding our peeps.
What is a tribe?
A tribe is a social circle that supports the behaviors you want to reflect back in the world. According to Seth Godin “a tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
Why is having a tribe so important?
Most of us can’t do this life thing alone -- and you shouldn’t have to. You should be able to lean on your tribe in your time of need. You should be able to receive accountability, advice and support from your tribe. The other side of the equation is that YOU are accountable to offering that support, accountability and advice in return. There’s mutual benefit and companionship in shared interests. This isn’t to say that everyone in a tribe needs to be exactly the same. NOT AT ALL. Let me give you an example:
I was a musical theatre major in college. If you know ANYTHING about what it’s like to be a part of a musical theatre tribe, then you know it’s extreme. We spent every waking moment together — in class, in rehearsal, at parties, in the hallway waiting for this and that. The only time I had alone was in the practice room and when I slept at night, which wasn’t much. We were with each other for so many vulnerable moments, terrifying moments like getting on stage in front of a bunch of peers and hearing/giving feedback. Looking back, I see that we were all so different. We fought sometimes, but always loved each other like family. When I was a hot mess because my boyfriend and I broke up, they were there rubbing my back until I fell asleep with a comfy couch and a glass of wine. When I got a call for a big gig, they celebrated with me and surrounded me in hugs and kisses. It was a family and even though we were so very different as human beings, we all had a common goal and it made us like kin.
I miss is that familial network of friends who are on fire for a common goal. Over the past few years I’ve started to ally with people who care about achieving their health goals the way I do, but simultaneously embrace the ever-changing and imperfect essence of life. I’ve started to find a family of authentic people who encourage behaviors that I want to exemplify in my own life. And I’ve also been challenged to lead by example.I still have further to go with this which is why I’m writing this article, but I’ve adopted some useful strategies to help expand the tribe and I figured you’d find it useful, too!
Strategies to find your own tribe.
Be intentional about your time and who you spend it with. How do the people in your life make you feel? Do they encourage positive behaviors and feelings or negative ones? Be honest and make choices based on that. Your time is valuable! When you find the people that produce GOOD feelings and choices, then invest in them and give to them freely. Be there for them!
Ask to intern with someone who is doing what you want to be doing. Go out of your way to put yourself around these people, whether it pays or not.
Attend events in the flesh and get out among other people who care about what you care about.
Find a coach in the area you want to be inspired through or improve in.
Intentionally host or lead events and outings that will draw like-minded souls.
Join a meetup or community club. Don't be afraid to try new things. You never know where it will lead. If you’re trying to get healthier, join a fitness class that you LOOK FORWARD TO and network with other people doing the same.
When you’re on social media, use it produce and consume things that light you up and give you positive reinforcement. Interact with other people’s work for which you admire. Unfollow anything that makes you feel otherwise. LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR NEGATIVITY AND UNHEALTHY COMPARISON SO DITCH THAT IMMEDIATELY.
Now let’s get even more specific about how this can be productive for your health and wellness journey.
If you’re trying to get healthy, lose weight, adopt a more positive mindset, implement more self care into your life, or achieve some level of career success that you haven’t yet reached: take a look around you. Who are your friends? Are they encouraging good behaviors and productive energy? Do they help reinforce your health goals or do they encourage you back into old, bad habits? It can feel harsh to evaluate things this way, but it’s very true that you are the sum of the top 5 people you hang out with. So I’m not saying completely bail on friends that don’t foster healthy habits, but consider making more time for the people who encourage positive change and cut back on time with people who encourage negative habits. Reach for the good-feeling activities, people, places and activities and I guarantee you’ll see positive results. This is not easy and takes intentionality, but it’s a lucrative and brave step to achieve the life you want.
A little note: Friends, I just want to say that I know it’s hard to put yourself out there and to prioritize your needs over other people’s. However, I’ll say it again: life is too short. Investing in yourself is the best decision you'll ever make. Work to treat yourself the way you would want others to be treated. This is a hard one for me, too, but we give our best when we give out of the overflow. Be kind to your heart, value your time.
We give our best when we give out of the overflow.
Be kind to your heart. Value your time.
How do you foster meaningful relationships?