Finding your tribe can feel like coming home. I love that feeling of finding like-minded people with whom I share values, hobbies and passion. I have been lucky enough to have found some fantastic and supportive tribes in my time. From the most recent: Drive the Network from whom I draw knowledge on building a successful business to my parenting tribe to whom I turn when motherhood seems too hard.
Using your tribe mindfully
Your tribe is there to support you (and you them) and it is at its most useful when you use it. By which I mean asking for support. One of the times most people use their tribe is to find a job. I have been a believer in ‘using’ your tribe i.e. your network to help you find a job ever since I was made redundant and discovered that 80% of people find jobs through people they know. It certainly works for me…though that’s a story for another day.
Please note that this isn’t about taking advantage of others or being duplicitous or manipulative. It’s about using the resources around you. Remember that most people are happy to help you if they know you need it. You can use them mindfully and respectfully by being honest and thanking them for their time and support.
Finding your tribe
On the whole, people find networking difficult. When I ask my clients if they have a network they often cast their eyes downwards to the floor and shuffle about looking embarrassed. We all know that we ‘should’ have a network. But what if you already have one?
When I choose a slightly different question: Who do you know who could help you? Most of my clients think for a moment and then furiously begin to scribble. For example:
I once was at a networking event and was having a conversation with a person there about their career. She told me she wanted to work in a events management role but she didn’t know anyone that could help.
I explained that career networking is just a word to describe thinking about who you know who works in a field you are interested in and then going to talk to them – not about giving you a job, instead asking them how they got to where they are, what tips would they give someone else (you) and what they enjoy (or don’t) about the role.
Her eyes lit up and I could see her mind whirring as she said ‘well, there is my partner’s aunt, she owns a wedding business’. I just smiled and wished her well. Sometimes all you need is the space and prompt to think about it.
- You might find your tribe professionally or personally. Through NCT groups, business meet-ups, volunteering or paid work. You might find them in running clubs, painting classes or online forums. Be open to finding your tribe.
When your tribe is important
It’s not just when you’re looking for a job that your tribe can help. Having a tribe is also beneficial to finding your passion, a good support network of people you can talk to in confidence, who can help you out if you need last minute childcare, who can ask advice from, who challenge you and push you out of your comfort zone or who can inspire you is essential.
I discovered two books which really helped me recently to see the value of my tribe. The first is the Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters and the second is Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg.
They are very different books, the Chimp Paradox helps you understand why you react emotionally to some things but also why surrounding yourself with like-minded people is beneficial. The Lean In book helps women see why they aren’t achieving as much as they could and how to ask for help at home to address the work-life balance.
I shall leave you with this thought:
Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself – Edmund Lee