I am blessed with great company of all kinds in my life.
I belong to so many tribes.
In some, like my business, I’m the chief, in others I’m a tribeswoman.
Some are not hierarchical at all.
It’s fun to perceive life this way… ultimately as human beings, we all belong to the same tribe, of course.
But for the purposes of managing our participation in life, and in order to mitigate isolation, it is useful to identify with whom we belong, depending on the circumstances.
Here’s a fun exercise: write down all the tribes, or clubs you belong to. Name them if you like.
For instance, here are mine:
There’s a group of friends my family spends Labor Day and New Year’s day with. Let’s call them “Camp Eric.” The “chief,” our friend Eric, has a place up in Northampton where we all converge into a freewheeling, unconditionally accepting commune of adults, kids, and teenagers. It’s a great hang, the perfect antidote to Chanumas with the extended bio-tribe, which is necessary and pleasurable in its own way, but also slightly loaded. And sometimes fraught.
So it’s nice to decompress at Camp Eric’s after that.
The Birthing Room Ladies are a handful of professionally creative moms I pulled together through a local listserv years ago when Harper was born. We met regularly for five years, and still have each others’ backs, personally and professionally. (Come to think of it, that garden needs a little watering. Up for a reunion, girls?)
Then there’s what I call our “Mirror Family,” a couple who adopted around when we did. Our sons have become brothers to each other, complete with sibling rivalry… so there’s just enough distance between us; two city blocks. Meanwhile, we celebrate the holidays of our shared Jewish heritage together, among many other things.
Other professional tribes include: NYU Grad Acting, The Soloist Collective, the tribe I belong to called Revenue Breakthrough headed by my business coach Monica Shah.
I belong to two spiritual tribes as well.
The current administration has inspired many of us to join or start political groups for the purpose staying involved civically. I’m part of a letter writing tribe called Write to Resist, the purpose of which is to protect our safety net programs, so at least there’s a place where I can show up regularly and do something.
Now it’s your turn.
Start with an accounting of the tribes you already belong to. Which ones are you taking for granted, or do you owe a little energy to? Where can you contribute?
Which tribes have outlived their usefulness? Its okay to move on or take a break.
Then ask yourself: What are my needs this year? Do I have a group I can turn to in this area for support? Or do I need to find or create one?
There’s a reason belonging is central to success. Think about it: Whether its a creative home like a theater company, or a professional networking group, or a church…
When you’re part of a tribe, you not only have access to its resources-
You become a resource for others.
That’s how it works.