Who is in your inner circle? Who supports you? Who elevates your thoughts, beliefs, and actions? Who is in your tribe? Whose tribe are you in?
For non-argument sake, here is my definition of a tribe. A group of people with a similar objective in mind, who create a sense of community, and are bound together by kinship and responsibility. The tribe is led by one chief.
Obviously, we do not become adults with an I Dream of Genie twitch of the nose. It is a process. Many say we are launched into our tween years vastly by learned behavior. Our trusted potters-of-life are family members, friends, and mentors. As we pounce into adulthood, we have sprinkled a bit of our own magic dust, and there we are…prepped for the world. Ready, set, go.
Our thoughts, beliefs, and actions are the blueprint of how we crawl, walk, and run through life. Who is crawling, walking, and running with you?
Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for every single influence who shaped the powerhouse I am today. However, I am also that same powerhouse because I stood up for myself, and I became my own tribe leader. I have tackled perfectionism, stamped out a desperate need to please others, and shed the literal skin of many around me. They are no longer members of my tribe. I wear the headdress.
I want you to wear your own headdress!
I suspect if we were having coffee and carrot cake together, two of my favorites, you would be surprised to witness my chatting a dance between love-thy-neighbor and ruthlessness. Hopefully, you will warm up to me by the time I am done.
There are four basic necessities of life” food in our mouth, clothes on our back, protective shelter over our head, and feeling a sense of belonging and love. If we are initially shaped by learned behavior, that would mean our four basic necessities affect our entire existence. What are our thoughts, beliefs, and actions around food, clothes, shelter, and the sense of belonging and love?
The last necessity, we need a deeper dive. As adults, we need to revisit our philosophies for a sense of belonging and love. It is subjective. What do you consider safe, positive, and aligned with your personal well-being and purpose? You have the authority.
Here is where you might consider me a bit more callous.
If you are in my life right now, it is because you fill a block in my organization chart. You are a co-worker, associate, assistant, or supporter. Even if you are a family member or friend, you either have a position or you do not. You are not part of the board because of default. You are not unconditionally accepted. You have been accepted for a job. There is no nepotism in my black book. My Rolodex is filled only with resources that fill my needs and wants. And, I have selected you for the requirements of your position. You should hold me to these same criteria.
Don’t leave me now. Bear with me. I am not a narcissist! This is about you, too.
Again, I ask who is in your tribe? If you think about it, every single person in your life has a job description. You just don’t think of it that way. They have resumes with your name on it and vice versus. They have brought their own experiences, expertise, and influences to your table. Unfortunately, we are not taught to look at it this way.
If you were creating your own company or tribe, you would determine your organization chart. What is your mission, vision, and values? What are the levels of responsibility needed? Will there be different security levels?
As the leader of your own existence, it is your responsibility to be very clear of your needs, determine who is a part of your mission, and identify vacancies. Over a lifetime, we unconsciously post empty positions, interview, and extend offers to fill positions in our organization chart. We also keep toxic members on staff.
What do your peeps’ job descriptions entail? What do the members offer you? Will they help you level up or slide down the slope? Do members of your current tribe need an emotional resiliency or ethics class? Do you need to write them up for breach of trust or loyalty?
A few simple interview questions would change the game when you are “filling vacancies” in your tribe of life. An interview might go like this,
“Mom, tell me why you applied for this position?”
“Dad, do you feel you are a good fit for this job and why?”
“Son, how will you handle conflict if I tell you I will not lend you money?”
“Husband, in your eyes what are your greatest strengths and areas of improvement?” “Friend, where do you see us in five or ten years?”
Of course, adding into each interview a few fun questions. “What is your favorite book, movie, and quote?”
I believe in giving many chances. I have received them myself. However, I do not believe in full-blown “unconditional” love. Even those in my family tree have conditions. Will I always love them, yes! Unconditionally – that is often up for debate. Strapped-together DNA does not authorize you to treat others with disrespect, expose them to harm, or allow total disregard for the law.
Being put on notice, on a leave of absence, or fired are all risks for every member of my tribe. I am not here to imply my tribe walks on eggshells. They do not. And I do not formally operate under the above protocol.
I am also not a hypocrite. I hold myself to these same standards. I know I have responsibilities when I am in someone’s tribe. I have been written up. I have been dismissed. But I have learned, and now if I am confused, I will ask for my “job description.”
Over the years, I have determined I want my life associates to practice gratitude and respect. I want to hear all opinions with an agree-to-disagree clause. They must be problem solvers, victors not victims, and have the ability to put on the other person’s shoes. I want to be respected, loved, and constructively criticized. And since I am a continual learner, I have my own coaches, mentors, and leaders.
You may still feel I am a bit mechanical. A bit cold. I just hope your coffee isn’t.