Who’s In Your Tribe?
Last weekend, women hailing from eleven countries – from Japan to Bulgaria, Israel to Argentina – joined me at my Live Brave Weekend.
Being my first Live Brave Weekend outside Australia, I wasn’t sure how it would differ from the others. It was on a warm tropical island clearly infused it with a balmier vibe (not to mention our private villa pools!). Yet despite the obvious differences, the weekend affirmed the universal magic that happens when brave hearted people come together to reconnect with themselves, reignite their passion and ‘play with possibilities’ for their future…. plus have a little fun!
We laughed (a lot), we bonded over bubbles (and a few tears) and we hit the dance floor like no one was watching! (Though of course no one can match my ABBA moves!)
One thing that struck me most was how some of the most powerful ‘ah ha’ moments and breakthroughs emerged from the conversations that occurred between each other.
Sure, my role was important. To create a safe space for people to step back from their lives, to get real with themselves and to reassess how they’re ‘doing life’. Yet, as occurs in life in general, the real magic happens through conversations – both the private ones we have in our own heads and the public ones we have with others.
Surrounding yourself with people with whom you can have very real, sometimes raw, but wholly courageous and totally authentic conversations with is life changing.
Conversations are powerful. They can fuel conflict, or pave a pathway to peace. They can nurture resilience and courage, or dial-up doubt and despair. They can build confidence, or drain it.
Of course, while not all conversations have the power to change the trajectory of your life, any single conversation can. It’s why it is crucially important to be intentional about the kind of conversations you’re having through the course of your day, week and life. This requires being very mindful with who you are spending time with and intentional about having more conversations with people who bring out your best, believe in your potential, and are committed to cheering you on when your fears rise up or life knocks you down (as it inevitably does at times).
Likewise, it’s also important to avoid (or at least minimize) time spent with people who drag you down you into negative conversations. The kind that fuel self-doubt, squash your enthusiasm, leave you dwelling on what’s wrong, what cannot be done, who’s to blame and why you should ‘just be realistic’ and stick with the status quo. While some may be well-intentioned, so too is the path to hell.
Of course, I’m not advocating that you delete every contact from your address book who has ever been pessimistic, complaining or critical. Sometimes we need people to point out the dangers and give us candid feedback. However, I am encouraging you to evaluate the quality of the conversations you’re having on a regular basis.
Emotions are contagious. It’s why every conversation you have with another person will trigger and amplify different emotions in you – for better or worse. Some will make you think bigger, feel braver and fuel your optimism. Others will make you think smaller, feel more anxious and reinforce disempowering stories that stoke self-pity or leave you feeling like a powerless victim of your circumstances.
You shape your tribe and your tribe shapes you. This isn’t just hype, it’s the truth. In fact, a longitudinal study called The Longevity Project, which studied more than 1000 people from youth to death found that the groups you socialize with determine the person who you become. For instance, hang out with people who are health conscious and you’re more likely to make healthy choices. Hang out with people who are ‘up to stuff’ and it will dial up your motivation to pursue more interesting challenges yourself.
On the flip side, hang out with people who celebrate getting drunk and you’ll be hard-pressed not to wake up with a regular hangover. Hang out with people who talk about superficial things and living lives of ‘immaculate mediocrity’ with many well-worn excuses why they cannot change what they don’t like about their lives, and you’ll find they just reinforce your own excuses and rationalizations.
In Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, J.K. Rowling wrote:
“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
I would argue it can take even more courage to stand up to our friends (or family), particularly those with whom we go way back. So if you have friends who often leave you feeling ‘less than’ in some way or who don’t cheer you on and won’t celebrate your wins (or make you disinclined to share them because you know how they’ll react… cynically) then it may be time to invest more time with people who will. Letting go old ‘habit relationships’ can be uncomfortable, but you’ve got to ask yourself, what do you put at risk if you don’t?
Life is too short not to spend it with people that enrich it.
Of course, while big-hearted people may serendipitously walk into your life you need to do your bit. If you’re not sure where to start, ask yourself where the kind of people you’d love to meet might be hanging out. For instance, networking groups, study programs, or conferences, community groups, advocacy associations… even at events like my own Live Brave Weekend! You may not strike gold every time, but over time, you will strike up relationships that will enrich your life in ways you cannot imagine. As I said, the universe will do its bit… but you have to do yours!
Hopefully, your life is overflowing with amazing people who regularly celebrate how fabulous you are, who love to cheer loudly when you do cool things, and who will call you out when they think you’re selling yourself short. But if not, then maybe it would serve you to go out and find more of them.
Just imagine how differently you’d feel, think and act if you only spent time with big thinking, big living, and brave hearted people. If you’re not sure where to start, I encourage you to write down right now the names of ten people who you’d either love to meet, get to know better or spend more time with that you currently do. Then dial up your own courage and reach out to them. Go on, be brave… not only might it change your own life, but you might also change theirs too!
After all, we are braver together than we can ever be alone!
If you’d like to register your interest for my next Live Brave Weekend outside Washington DC this October 25-27, click here.