A few years ago, when Twitter was new and addicting, a tweet popped up that caught my eye. It asked, “If you were standing in front of your tribe, what would you say?” I immediately imagined myself standing in front of my Jewish ancestors. They stared at me blankly. Finally I said, “I am really, really sorry, but I don’t like Temple and I thoroughly enjoy pork.”
But the novel and intended meaning of the word tribe revealed itself quickly enough, and I understood that instead of “a group of people linked by social, economic, religious and familial ties,” it meant a group of people Linked In to your blog, Twitter account and Facebook page. Your tribe is made up of those who follow you online and learn from what you espouse. Your tribe wants to hear what you have to say, and you are its leader.
I thought about my virtual tribe, unsure if I could accurately coin those dear folks who follow me, and who have read, liked, commented on, or retweeted something I have posted as “my tribe.” I understand the leadership and economic advantages of having a tribe: but the concept of being at the helm of a movement unnerves me. What I enjoy having are different groups of people that I influence and gain strength from. Click To Tweet For example, I there is a tribe I would call my local community, a strong network of amazing people with whom I share concerns about the wellbeing of each other, our land, and the economic sustainability of the region. When a beloved local business recently went through a rough patch, we all chipped in to keep them going.
Then there is my online community; some of which I have met in person, and others I likely never will, but we support each other and share daily updates, successes and tragedies just the same. I love that social media allows for the connection of like minds across county lines and continents, beyond race and religion.
And then there is my heart community; a tight-knit circle of family and family-like friends, including the beloved man I live with and our dog. We show up for each other. We play hard. We love deeply. We occasionally fight. Some members of this tribe come and go. Modern life, locale, vocation and children are always factors bringing us closer or farther apart. We do our best to stay in touch through these passages.
And finally, there is my soul community; made up of my clients, students, and my dear, dear teachers, without whom I would not exist, and I say that without exaggeration. My soul community brings out the best of my being, the best I have to offer this world. It teaches me how to be, and demands that I become, a better teacher, trainer, writer. My clients especially evoke deep respect in me as I witness them flow from the lighthearted chitchat at the top of a session, into the deep work of self-discovery. Their level of commitment to transformation is awe-inspiring, and I marvel at watching their relationships, their workplaces and their very being, take new shape.
I cannot put into words my gratitude for each one of my communities, or tribes.
Big or small, online or off, business building or not at all, it does feels good to have some tribes. And I didn’t always have them.Connection is what makes this life meaningful. Click To Tweet What are the circles of connection in your world? Share, if you care to, below.
And if at first you don’t succeed, tribe, tribe again.
Feeling grateful that you’re a part of my tribe and I am a part of yours.
So very mutual, Alli.
That is exactly what it’s all about for me…connection. That’s also why I originally creates my blog. To connect and share thoughts, ideas, people.
I love the online connections I’ve made over the past few years, and the past year has ushered in a new season in my life where my focus is now leaning more heavily into connections in real life in my local community. I went back to work outside of the home and now take care of aging and disabled vulnerable adults while I also attend school to work towards my RN. Connections abound with those I care for in the community and now also include fellow students at college whose ages span from high school kids to people my age and even older.
I really do miss my cyber connections at times yet can’t always divide my time between the two right now. Yet no one is forgotten!
I’ve enjoyed my connections with both you and Alli very much and I hope we remain connected indefinitely.
Thanks for sharing Blair!
Thanks for sharing this. You bring up a very important point which is balance. Now that there are so many ways to connect, you can’t always keep up with all your communities equally . . . but in the end, I believe it all works out. It’s been a pleasure connecting with you and I always enjoy reading your responses here, Samantha, thank you!
A couple of years ago I was in a 10-month leadership program. After reading the book Tribes by Seth Godin, we had an exercise to share with each other the tribes we were a part of. Very interesting exercise for us to see the ways in which we are connected in this world.
Your blog was a reminder to repeat that exercise. There was something powerful in documenting my tribes and then expressing gratitude for the many connections and communities I have.
Sounds like a great program, and I am glad the post reminded you of that exercise. Yes, so powerful, and clarifying, to see how we are connected, and by what! And nice to connect with you. Thanks for stopping by and for your comment.
I love the title of your post,Blair! It is really something how forming these different communities provides us with such support and love. My tribes are not just fan clubs but also reality and honesty checks. I depend on them to guide me and tell me when I am really off.
Thanks Blair and it has been so wonderful having you in my tribe!
The feeling is mutual, Terri! “My tribes are not just fan clubs but also reality and honesty checks.” YES YES YES, thanks for sharing that.