“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers & cities; but to know someone who thinks & feels with us, & who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Humans are tribal. Being a part of a tribe as not only a human trait, but one in which the richness and meaning of our life is intimately and richly connected. Beyond the safety of familial tribes, the one’s we develop throughout our lives have the ability to restore and heal, support, inform and inspire us. Tribe, in fact, is a vital, essential aspect of our health and our well being.
Reflect for a moment on your tribe. What are the qualities, characteristics, values of those who are in it? How does this connect with your values? How do they reflect who you are now as well as who you are becoming? Does it include people who no longer belong in your tribe? To be intentional about your tribe is to pay attention to who you are and how you feel when you are with others. Where do you feel safety, belonging and dignity as well as the aliveness that comes from a true connection with another?
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”― Brené Brown
A tribe is a community of our own making, forged through authentic connection with others who mutually support and inspire us. When the quality of one’s tribe is internalized through sharing, gratitude and investment it provides a foundation for risk taking, growth and achievement of what we care most about in our lives. The quality of our tribe is in direct relationship to how truly and authentically we show up. The more ‘real’ we are, the more capable we are of attracting who we want in our ‘village.’ As this capacity grows, we begin to shed light in the dark corners of ourselves and a growing self acceptance reflects itself externally in our relationships. In this way, vulnerability builds a capacity for resonant relationships and a tribe of our making.
Tribe is alive! The evolution of one’s tribe reflects one’s own evolution, and the changing, expanding nature of what matters most to us. I am moved by the individuals in my tribe who date back over 40 years, individuals with whom I now share a wealth of history and chapters, both difficult and celebratory. This last year, incoming tribal members reflected new commitments to entrepreneurship, professional coaching and leadership and a new ‘shape’ of things to come that is emerging for me. There is a true evolution that takes place if we are living our lives from a place of openness, learning and a commitment to our own fullest potential.
“Invisible threads are the strongest ties.” -Frederich Nietzche
The myth of ‘going it alone’ is a sad and self-fulfilling narrative which needs to be investigated and released. Often I work with individuals to support restoring the capacity to trust, extend and connect more effectively with others and have their needs met. An effective practice may be for them to create an invisible tribe comprised of individuals who (living or dead) can be imagined as “having their back.” For instance, one might envision Daniel Coleman (EQ), Maya Angelou, the Dalai Lama, their high school english teacher, or the grandmother who provided unconditional love, as standing close behind in support as they step into action as an empowered leader. Similarly, a client may envision and project their future tribe ‘out in front’ signifying representations of their aspirations for next phase and the abilities one wants to develop.
“Only connect!”― E.M. Forster, Howards End
The greatest and most needless vulnerability is depending on others approval for self worth. If we can stop expending our energy trying to please all of the people all of the time, we can grow the capacity to live our lives authentically, from the inside out and continue to create our tribe in the same way.
Go forth and grow your tribe in ways that ‘announce your place in the family of things’ in 2017! Make room for real connection with others, sharing yourself and providing others the opportunity to do the same!
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile, the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things.
-Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
For over 20 years Susan Penn, M.A., has dedicated her professional life to helping leaders achieve outcomes that matter to them, and that make a distinct difference in their life, their work and the world.
As the CEO and founder of Reinventure Coaching and Consulting, Susan’s background reflects a commitment to the understanding and drivers of human behavior. Certified in the disciplines of Somatic Coaching and Leadership Development, she integrates an extensive background in psychology, coaching, neuroscience, mindfulness and leadership development to serve individuals committed to removing obstacles in order to experience their fullest leadership potential. Connect with Susan on Twitter @Reinventure1.