Photo: Roy Savoy via Flickr
Finding your “tribe,” your people, your peeps, the folks with whom you connect, is doable, but not always a simple task. Sometimes it starts as a collection of friendships from decades past. Other times you may find set or subset groups with which you resonate right away.
Most times, and only after a series of trial and error, do you discover what clicks, what connects and what works. Tweaks are continual in order to stay relevant and synergistic with the folks you are trying to serve.
Whatever the case, it is important to surround yourself with powerful and supportive people who encourage you to be your best self because when you finally find your tribe, it can foster tremendous growth, both personally and professionally.
Some people seem to naturally attract others to them, but for others, it’s more challenging. In any case, there are some simple rules to remember when it comes to finding your tribe.
First, know who you are
Before you find your crew, you must know yourself. You don’t know with whom you resonate if you don’t know what your core message is. Become comfortable with yourself and from there you will attract people that best match your ideals and are interested in your ideas. Don’t change yourself to fit a model; be yourself and become your own model. You will feel valued and most successful with a tribe that best matches the qualities you imbibe.
Know what you need
While you should certainly be considerate to everyone who crosses your path, that doesn’t mean everyone you meet is going to be a good fit for your tribe. What qualities are you looking for in a friend, supporter or mentor? Are you looking for a good listener? Do you want someone who can provide emotional support? Are you seeking knowledge to move your career or hobby or other ambition to the next level? Know what you are really looking for and feel fully confident about seeking out ideal “partnerships.”
Different tribes for different needs
Do you need strong friendships that hold you accountable to a higher goal or standard? Or are you looking for friends with whom to share common interests or just have fun? Maybe you need help sticking to resolutions you have made for the New Year five month ago? It’s okay to have one tribe for more personal matters and a different tribe that aligns more with your professional life. Some of those folks may even intersect. The point is, there is a tribe of like-minded people no matter what your need. And that’s a good thing.
Be open to formal and informal relationships
Perhaps you consider your office pal just a work friend, but if given the chance, could a deeper friendship blossom into a lifelong bond? Inversely, could a great “fun night out” friend be the most innovative future business partner ever? It can certainly be precarious territory to intersect at seemingly optimal crossroads, but stretching the borders of professional and personal can be successful. Of course, it requires proper boundary setting, clear and open communication, and absolute respect from all parties, but the potential payoff is certainly worth exploring.
Introduce friends from different groups
Invite different friend groups to various functions. Intermingling of relationships is a great way for your tribe to expand and meet new people. Your new best friend is might be just one backyard barbecue away! Mutual friends are a great way to make diverse connections across friend groups. Remember, even though friendships are usually built on similar values, many times opposites attract.
Frequent places you enjoy
Spend time indulging in your favorite activities and places. People who enjoy your favorite pastimes are candidates for great relationships. There are always variable shades or levels of interests, but mere commonality is a good explorative step to discover your tribe. Fight any apprehension or fears and be open to new adventures.
Align your energy with others like you
You should never need to change who you are in order to fit in. Natural friendship chemistry is just that…natural. Treasure your connection with individuals whose friendships develop easily and don’t require a great deal of editing on your part. Stay the course and you will discover friendships that feel comfortable, naturally click, and grow easily because they are aligned and meant to be.
Explore online groups
Your tribe may be congregating in digital groups via the internet. The web is a great resource, not only for information, but for communities as well. Don’t hesitate to reach out to individuals that inspire you online. These online friendships can cross over into the physical sphere, too. Obviously, be careful about sharing too much personal information too soon, but social media platforms can house a plethora of healthy, safe connections.
Try new things that interest you
Networking groups provide great opportunities to make connections and even friends. Going places that aren’t on your normal itinerary can allow for introduction to new people and experiences. Get out there and “play!” You might discover an activity you enjoy that you never would have guessed would be on your radar.
Be open to global serendipity
Your tribe may be on the other side of the world. You might meet someone on a train, plane or boat to a faraway destination. The point is, you never know what corners friendship is hiding behind. So be open to different kinds of friendships. Sometimes long-distance or work connections are great tribe members who, albeit you may see or visit less frequently, are no less valuable than the ones you make at home.
Having a supportive group of friends is excellent for your wellbeing and growth. Your powerhouse group of friends might be carefully curated through years, serendipitously stumbled upon or on the spectrum anywhere in between. The importance of each remains the same. You must surround yourself with a strong support team to be your best professionally and personally. Your most authentic tribe will be an asset to the person you really are. So, stay true to yourself and go find your tribe!
Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour is America’s first African American female combat pilot. She is a professional leadership speaker, author, consultant and coach to Fortune 500 executives, entrepreneurs and other super achievers. www.vernicearmour.com.