Engaging With Your Tribe... My Story
The saying goes, behind every great man is a strong woman. Well, behind every successful woman is a tribe. Her ‘person’ or, since it takes a village, her ‘people’. What does that mean?
I am not the most open book person when it comes to the V word. Being VULNERABLE that is — PS I can’t even spell it, thanks autocorrect. About a year and a half ago life was getting heavy. I was leaving my full time job to work on my agency full-time, my 9 year relationship and engagement was ending, my sister was moving away, and I found myself feeling very alone in Hawaii.
I had a reputation for being kind, blunt, and not too emotional, but in secret I was crying in my car every other day because I couldn’t deal with the pressure and the overwhelming loneliness. I had grown my business as far as I could without help and the thought of having to ask for help made me uncomfortable. I didn’t want to need help. I didn’t want to need anyone, but I made a decision one day…driving in my car, listening to Nicki Minaj “Fly” (I love any dramatic music) and decided to start letting people in.
It started with a couple of close business friends, women who were in my life on the regular, and they always saw me in super woman mode, but I needed to be honest. I was unhappy, frustrated, and depressed. Would it get better? I cried in front of them. I laid out business plans, got some constructive criticism, and all of a sudden, I knew I had found my tribe.
Here are some thoughts, processes, and rules I operate under:
My ‘person’ is the person that will love me and accept me regardless of if at that moment I’m broken.
I have to trust them not to put my business out there. Let’s not lie, Hawaii is small, and gossip comes back around faster than you can say Aloha. Time has shown these people to be trustworthy, also they never gossiped about other people which made me instantly feel safer.
Some people are only in your life for a season. When operating in any realm people grow and change at different paces. As a teenager we ride or die by the “Best Friend” principles — but as an adult it’s important to recognize that there are ride or die friends, but there are also people in our lives that may not be in it forever, so maybe they move away, get married, move to a different career, and suddenly the relationship seems less compatible. Appreciate what the friendship brought into your life, and let things flow in and out as they should.
Lack of constant being ‘in touch’ doesn’t dictate the love we have for each other. Months and months can go by without talking, and then when you get on the phone or meet up it is like nothing has changed at all.
Love isn’t a word to be feared, and love isn’t just for some of us. I used to think it was because I was wildly insecure and couldn’t imagine myself being worthy of love from anyone, but I realized that I love people passionately — and if I am capable of that, other people could be too.
2 Strikes — if someone screws you over, walk away. Don’t hold on or compromise your values to keep toxic relationships.
Stay away from negativity — if people are negative constantly, and not just for a while but month after month, year after year, that attitude can’t become contagious. Misery loves company, so let them find it elsewhere.
Like attracts like. Spend time with people who inspire you, tell you the truth, and motivate you. You are truly the sum of the people you spend the most time with. Some relationships you carry, other you are carried, but when when there is the right mix most often you carry each other.
Don’t spend all your time with one gender — I have a couple of guy friends who I wouldn’t trade for the world. They give fresh perspective that I couldn’t have done without.
Be Open. Be You. Stop being someone else…
Letting go of being ‘conservative’ and constantly worried about every aspect of what I say, how I dress, what I do, so I don’t offend people is exhausting. Allowing myself to be free from those constraints is the most freeing thing I have ever done.
All that being said honor your true self and shine. I am forever thankful for the myriad group of women and men who continue to walk alongside me as we grow together—as a tribe of people each striving to build our own empires, as individuals, and as rock’n’ entrepreneurs that get things done. Join us by opting in and let’s continue this journey together!