Building Your Tribe.
For years I have listened to Jordan Harbinger talk about the idea that you will rise to the level of the five people closest to you. Though I certainly agree with the perspective, I have found it a difficult undertaking. Partially because I am a little introverted, partially because I’m not sure that I understood what this meant, until recently.
Below are a few things I have learned after reflecting on this idea, and a few tips to help you build your tribe.
What does it mean to Rise?
When people first hear the talking point from Jordan and others, many typically think of money. It is true that if you want to change your financial position you should learn from people who have achieved what you hope to. Though, I challenge that there is much more to it.
Financial success is the result of having done many other things correctly in terms of behavior, human interaction, investing in others, and making a community impact. Money should be the result of having achieved goals, not the goal.
Before you can build your tribe, it is best to start with understanding who you want to be. A tool that I have found useful, and a big thanks to Scott Jeffrey for helping, is to build a personal vision statement.
Here is my personal vision: I will leave everyone and everything better than I found it.
And, my professional vision: Partnering with organizational leadership, drive sustained growth by reinventing the way brands approach product, technology, operations, people, and customers.
How Others See You
Now that you understand who you want to be, you now seek to understand how others see you. In 2015 I ran an experiment that changed my life. On Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles I approached 25 strangers and asked for three words that described their first impression of me. As an introvert, to say that this exercise was difficult would be an understatement, though it proved to be incredibly valuable.
Here is what this people said: Courageous, Confident, Well-Dressed
I ran this experiment again in early 2019 within my network to understand how the people who knew me best perceived me.
Here are the results: Positive, Authentic, Courageous
What are your gaps? With these data points, I was able to begin identifying the gaps between how others perceived me, and who I wanted to be.
Where I was strong: Confidence, Presence, and Courage
Where I was weak: Helpfulness, Empathy, Approachability
For me to rise, to become who I desire to be, I had to surround myself with people who exhibited these skills. I needed to learn from them, and I wanted to be more like them; additionally, I wanted to be a trusted advisor for these people.
How can you start? Passively.
Social media is your friend. Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, MeetUp (not so much Facebook) all make it reasonably easy to find people who exhibit the values that you want to develop.
Here are some people who passively helped me develop:
Shoptini on Instagram - Kristi Stevens is a superstar. It is also fair to point out that I have known Kristi personally for about ten years, but it is how she has evolved over the last few years that I have found particularly inspiring. Kristi is a meticulous planner. Over the last few years I have watched her build her family, establish a foundation of security, and then go after the things that matter most to her, all while helping others.
CoffeeStainedLace on Instagram - Unlike Kristi, I have never met Sydney (though I did come across her through Kristi.) What is inspiring about Sydney is her authenticity and ability to own her “full self” in pursuit of her goals. For me, this has been a struggle. The last 20 years, though fruitful, have not been pretty. Sydney reminds me that you can never reach your full potential until you love your whole self.
Melissa Stockwell - Melissa and I have known each other for many years, but have not spent any time together in maybe a decade. Even still, watching her journey via Instagram has propelled me to push the boundaries of life in many ways. Aside from inspiring my triathlon addition, she has taught me that you can be all things. Melissa is a driven athlete, a giving spouse, a loving mother, and still finds time to help inspire others. Does being all things to all people take work and planning? Of course, but it can certainly be done. Melissa is proof of that.
Filtering Out the Wrong People
Now that you have started to bring the right influence into your life, it is time to consider who may be moving you further away from the person you want to be. The activity of filtering out the wrong people is hard, and sometimes cold, but completely necessary.
That friend from college who still acts like a 22-year-old frat brother is doing you no favors.
The friend from childhood who is negative about everything.
The family member who still sees you as an awkward teenager, and won't let you forget it.
I believe that people act with positive intent and that everyone is doing their best. With that said, we are all on different journeys in this world, and not all of our paths align. Though that is certainly ok, it does not mean we should force relationships that are not healthy. In fact, some of these relationships can prove to be outright toxic.
Mutually Beneficial Relationships If you remember nothing else from this post, please remember this: relationships are not about you, they are always about the other person. Always strive to give more than you get.
As you venture into the wild in search of your new tribe, do so with curiosity. Seek to learn something from everyone you meet, seek to learn their story, seek to understand what they value, seek to understand how you may be able to help them.
As you begin investing in your new relationships, seek to also learn from the new amazing humans in your orbit. If their values are aligned with yours, or the values you hope to develop, your investment in helping people achieve their goals will help you to reach yours.
Iron sharpens iron.
Building Your Tribe
One of the most powerful things we can do for others is to create connections (my friend Jenna is amazing at this.) As you bring together the amazing people in your world, you are well on your way to creating a strong tribe, capable of anything.
Here are 12 tips to consider when bringing your tribe together for the first time.
Have you had success building a tribe? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below.