So you’re an artist, a thinker, a doer, a business man (or woman), a dreamer, advocate or maybe you just want to dabble in something you like. Any way you want to describe yourself, you’re capable of being more than a bystander. Did you know that?
In this blog post I want to share four tips about how you can start collecting the pieces of who you aspire to be; and meet others along the way who can share in this dream of identity.
Let’s begin with the basics.
1. Is it a hobby or a calling?
When it comes to setting out on this journey of tribe building it’s important to figure out the basic rule. What are you trying to accomplish?
If you want a few more people to buy what ever you’re selling, how serious are the stakes? Is this a hobby you do for fun and don’t want to put much time into? If so, maybe you should leave it at that and not worry about expanding your tribe.
However, if you’re serious about what you’re doing and want to see growth in how many people you’re reaching or you need to find some like minded individuals who can share in your triumphs, then you’ll want to keep reading.
When you’re serious about what you’re doing, you’ll automatically gravitate toward successful people whom you see living out your aspirations. These are the people you want to know better. Always remember that you will emulate who you spend time with.
I’m not telling you to drop all of your friends who aren’t quite as successful as you. But please don’t lower your standards to anything but the best of what you believe you can achieve. Once you have figured out what your standard is, move on to step two.
2. Sharing is caring
Now that you have an idea of where this passion of yours is going, you need to remember one of the first rules you ever learned. That’s right, sharing is caring. What do I mean by this statement?
Well, say you’re wanting to start your own yarn business (haha, yes, it’s a dream). You already know you want to specialize in high quality organic fibers, but you have no one to turn to for support or reassurance. Let’s say at a farmers market you stumble across a woman who invites you to a Facebook page specifically for other yarn shops around your state. The last thing you should do is throw advertisements about yourself all over this welcoming page.
Instead, you need to promote the businesses that mean something to you. You should share as much encouragement and enthusiasm as you wish to receive. In doing this, you will make other people want to boost you up and show your talents to their friends. This isn’t the game of Life that you played as a kid where the stakes were high and life choices were cut throat. (As much as it may feel that way at times).
This kind of tribe building actually works a lot like the successful shield bearers of old who did not use their own shield to protect their body, but instead fought protecting the person next to them. In being an advocate for the person next to you, you encourage a system of advocacy where other people see your actions and become inspired. Isn’t that the kind of support you’ve been looking for?
3. Get out there
Once you’ve taken good measures to secure friendships and establish yourself, there is only one thing you can do to lose it all faster than a toupee in a hurricane. That one thing: staying at home and cutting off all ties.
You need to get out there and meet people. Now, in my case as a writer, that means attended at least one conference a year.
Getting to know other people who aspire to the same level of greatness as you is a must. If you’re working hard and making connections someone is bound to notice. And where does that get you?
The better question is: Where doesn’t that get you? There is always someone out there looking for a hard worker who has connections and knows their stuff (or craft). So don’t twiddle your thumbs, get out there and network!
4. Don’t be plastic
If there is one thing I know and appreciate about my generation known as the “dreaded millennials,” it’s that we can smell a fake smile and cheap advertising from a mile away. Gone are the days of parlor tricks and wishy-washy relationships. No one wants to buy into that anymore.
Now I’m not saying there isn’t some level of “fake it till you make it” — if we all had such incredible confidence from the get-go it would be a little concerning — but more often than not, when it comes to selling yourself or your idea it’s about building meaningful relationships.
So the next time you tell someone you’ll call them back, do it. And say what you mean, not what you think the person wants to hear. Remaining honest and standing strong in your convictions might take you a little longer than the schmoozer you’re comparing yourself to, but in the end you’ll be surrounded by a tribe that is stronger because you decided not to be a sell out. At the end of the day all you really need is to know you worked hard and remained honest, everything else will smooth itself out in time.