I was recently asked to give a workshop on FINDING YOUR TRIBE for the Inspiring Women Conference in Portland, OR. Prior to the event, I asked several women AND men for their definition of a tribe. I learned that the concept of a tribe has a visceral effect for many people. I heard words and phrases such as belonging, common purpose, even survival. In my research I found that Abraham Maslow and his Hierarchy of Needs explained allot about why belonging to a tribe is so important.
Wikipedia explains that “The most fundamental and basic four layers of the pyramid contain what Maslow called "deficiency needs"; If these "deficiency needs" are not met, the individual will feel anxious and tense. Brené Brown (an author, public speaker and research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work who has been involved in research on a range of topics including vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame) explains it another way
“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.
Therefore, belonging to tribes is an imperative to our health and well being. Notice I said tribe(s). Professionals often have several tribes and in my work I suggest the need for at least 2.
1. Personal: Friends and or family
2. Professional: A network of peers, mentors, sponsors and experts(the elders!).
#2 is often not fully formed, conceived or utilized by professional women. And at different times in our lives, we need and want different tribes.
So how do we find the tribes we need right now?
Step 1 is knowing yourself and figuring out
1. Who do you WANT to be?
2. What is your VISION for your life today and in the future?
3. What tribes do you need right now to accomplish this vision?
Answering these questions are critical to the process and is often the hard part as you need to take the time to think about it. Sometimes you need a coach to help with this process.
Brené Brown also explains that
“The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you're enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.
Step 2 Find a Successful tribe.
What makes a successful tribe for you? The tribe needs A Leader, a Common Purpose and Your Commitment to Engage. Let’s look at each of these components.
A Leader: The definition of a leader that I use is “A PERSON who leads PEOPLE to a PURPOSE”
A Common Purpose: Based on your answer to “What is your VISION for your life today and in the future?” does this group consistently support this vision?
Commitment to Engage: Until you’re really comfortable, you may have to take a deep breath and force yourself to stay or even engage with the group. Apparently, 50% of all Americans are introverts.
**A note to leaders: make an effort to help these people feel welcome.
What tribes work well for you?