During times of uncertainty — like the one we are in now — building a tribe may be one of the least pressing things on our minds. How does one accomplish that when we are locked indoors, glued to newsreels about a novel pandemic, or standing in line for an hour just to purchase a jumbo bag of toilet paper? Well, now more than ever is the greatest time to build a tribe or to stoke the embers of past friendships and networks that may have gone a bit unkempt over the years.
Everyone’s definition of a “tribe” differs, so here’s mine.
A tribe is simply a group of supporters that you can rely on to be there for you when you need them. They don’t just show up for you but they SHOW OUT for you. When you have a question or need someone to co-sign a decision, to serve as a reference, a partner in business, or just a cheerleader to support your moves, they can be counted on. They are a steady presence from conception to the birth of your life’s wins. This tribe is trusted family, friends, colleagues, or associates you know both physically and/or virtually.
Many of you may have seen posts about virtual supporters or virtual besties who you have yet to meet in person, but based on your body of work, they support you. Sometimes they support you more or before the people you know do. They are buying from your online store, reading your blog posts, liking your Facebook status, commenting on your Instagram pictures, genuinely showing love, without prod or request.
Having a tribe is so important during this period for a myriad of reasons but the most prominent at this generation’s current crossroads is showing genuine support when we are in forced isolation. Support can take the form of a phone call, an unexpected text, and an email to check-in. You see, your tribe is not just filled with the boisterous echoes of cheerleaders but the reassuring still voices to keep us going and to press through.
Leveraging technology has become paramount and since we are on our phones, tablets, and computers anyway, we should maximize our use and reach out not only for wellness checks but also for advisement during this time. Maybe you’ve been thinking about pivoting into another area or career path, or adding a solo business venture to your existing 9 to 5; now is the best time to switch lanes, sis. Don’t even let doubt make you look in the rearview mirror, seek professionals and support in whatever new or existing area you seek growth and skillfully seek to learn all you can as you make decisions you may have second-guessed in times past.
Beyond individual connections made to bolster your tribe, this is an opportune time to join new organizations and connect to online groups of interest. You never know where your next opportunity may come from and it could be from connections made in a group online thread, for example. Many professional organizations, whether it is in journalism, social work, entrepreneurship, to name a few— also have overlapping social networks that you can build new friendships or mentorships in while networking with potential clients or colleagues simultaneously. Until attending local in-person events and conferences can resume, building a virtual presence will be so important to stay connected to groups of interest, hobby, and profession. This is a MAJOR key: have contacts in your corner in each lane of the aforementioned area, many successful women have shared this to hold true for their tribe. Thank me later, sis!
Like with any new habit formed, it is important that you start small. Drastic measures beget short-term results. Building a tribe or reinforcing one should be a gradual addition to your other responsibilities. Start by joining one group or contacting one old friend or past colleague; seeking one new or additional mentor. Friendship and mentorship especially are a MUTUAL relationship so this definitely takes time to build.
A tribe does not consist of sporadic contacts in your inbox, but those who you get to know personally within your sphere of influence. Don’t rush these connections because those that become long-term are steady investments that enable crossover from simply a likeminded contact to a member of your BAUCE tribe.
Here’s to sanitized hands and trusted tribes!