Why Tribes?

Have you ever found yourself sitting among a group of people, scratching your head and wondering how you ended up there with such strange people, why do you have difficulty relating to? Or maybe it’s the opposite; you think back to some people that whenever you were with them, it just felt ‘right,’ like being at home. Chances are, in the former you weren’t with one of your tribes, and in the latter you were.

What Are Tribes?

Since the earliest days of humanity, people have sought out and created tribes. For the most part humans are social creatures, and seek out others to create communities with. Merriam-Webster defines a tribe as:

“A group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest”

What stands out for me is the common interest. As I began to think more and more about the concept of tribes, I began to take a look at my own life. Previously I had thought about one or two tribes in my life that I believed I belonged to, and I’m now recognizing that I have many more than that.

I also wondered what it was that distinguished the tribes in my life. It might be a shared language, or experience, or even a shared desire to create change in the world. Some of you know that I’m participating in an experiential 10-month long Leadership program created by the Coaches Training Institute. In that journey, I’m a part of the Wild Turkey tribe which consists of 21 individuals from around the world who are on a quest to do some Epic Sh*t and create meaningful change around them. There will be more to come in future blogs about that adventure.

Here are a few of the other tribes I now realize I belong to:

  • My family
  • My friends
  • My male friends
  • Fathers (and friends who are fathers)
  • Coaches (and in particular, a separate tribe of Co-Active Coaches)
  • United States Marine Corps
  • Veteran

I could go on, and I’m sure you get the point. There is also some overlap in some of these tribes; some people may exist in several tribes with me. While some of these tribes overlap, each provides something slightly different for me. And that is where the really amazing part lives.

Improving Your Tribes

Whether you’re conscious of it or not, you are a part of some tribes. In this TED talk by David Logan, he talks about Tribal Leadership and the five kinds of tribes that we naturally form in our lives. I think it’s a great reminder to check in and evaluate those tribes you’re in, and understand how they influence our lives and our experiences.

I encourage you to take some time and think about the tribes you’re in. Think about the value you get and give from being in them. Are they helping to build you up, or do they hold you back from achieving your potential? If it’s the former, celebrate them. If it’s the latter, maybe it’s time to find a new tribe. This can be a challenge for some people, as letting go of a tribe that is no longer serving them can be hard to do. And I believe the longer we remain in tribes that hold us back, we limit our ability to grow and thrive.

I encourage you to take the time and find your tribes. You’ll know them when you found them, because it’ll feel like coming ‘home.’ I know I’ll be expanding and discovering a new tribe very soon when I attend the Dad 2.0 Summit in Washington, DC, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Simply thinking about connecting with a bunch of people who are passionate about changing how fatherhood is viewed puts a smile on my face.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Go out and find your tribes. If you’ve already found them, then connect and engage more deeply with them. Consider how you might move your tribe up a step through the five stages that David Logan spoke of.

Remember that ‘we’ can always achieve more than ‘I’ ever could, so lean in and leverage the strength and support of your tribes. I think you’ll be glad you did.