The Brilliant Tribe
The body’s sophisticated response to stress is nothing short of a miracle. The reality, however, is that we overachiever-superpeople-stress-junkies spend quite a bit of time being plugged in and in fight-or-flight mode, maneuvering strategically between one highly pressurized situation to the next. It’s like a time bomb. While our bodies are meant to react to perceived stress occasionally, they are clearly not capable of withstanding longer periods of flight or fight without some sort of breakdown.
This elaborate stress response, with multiple internal alarms going off, typically occurs regularly throughout the day for most women. This constant state of activation and overstimulation requires continuous effort to preserve and restore your adrenal glands. This is incredibly taxing on them, and causes your entire system to become sluggish.
Most people have heard of the fight or flight response. To put it clinically, fight or flight is the way your brain perceives, your nervous system activates and your adrenal stress system prepares your body to react to incoming danger or threats. However, this multi-system response to grave danger is also the same group of reactions that manage your day-to-day encounters with high stress.
Here is where the tribe comes in to save the day!
Tribes are essential for success and for personal sanity when you are busy changing the world. However, this support system doesn’t just magically appear and can take quite a while to construct. To be clear, your tribe’s role is much deeper than just helping you get work done. The fact that your tribe “sees you” is, in my opinion, the reason why you need them in your life. Do you have people close to you in your life who “see you?” Do you have a few people who will call you out and set you straight, will love you no matter what, and will be there for you when you can’t go one more step? Those who have your back when you can’t pull your load, will provide for you when you can’t, will prop you up, will defend you, go to bat for you, or cry with you when you need it? Do you have someone you can call at the last moment to go out with and just laugh? You should! You need a tribe that sees you exactly as you are so that when you can’t see yourself, they can help you find your way.
Rewards from your efforts of building a tribe:
- Support when you feel like giving up.
- More energy and strength than you could ever generate alone.
- Enrichment through many life-long relationships.
- An encouraging community that allows you to make your passion your livelihood.
- Feeling like the luckiest person in the world in being surrounded by those who care about you and have your back.
- And perhaps the greatest — and most unexpected — gift is that leading a community will serve as a catalyst for you to become a better human being.
- Start with a clear intention and a desire to have the group you want. Consider listening to women or men talk and see how you feel in their presence. For example, do you feel up, supported, enlightened, or engaged? Can you see this person standing strong for you?
- Start small and stay focused. Pace yourself and don’t feel obligated to bring a member into your tribe that you know will be more work than you the have time or energy for. Think of the qualities you want your tribe to have. For instance, start with things such as: doesn’t judge, has a sense of humor, is an artist, lives with wide-open passion, and/or is loyal.
- Take an inventory of your current friends, family, etc. This will help you determine if there is already the start of a tribe right in front of you. Stay true to what you want in your inner circle.
- Listen to your inner voice and instincts. Listen to that gut feeling about a person. Your body will tell you. Do you feel drawn to them right away, as if you’ve known them for years? Or do they make you put up your guard?
- Pay attention to their social media posts. This is a great way to root out the crazies.
- Consider doing something you are passionate about (besides working): go to a class, join a club, or learn something new that you have always wanted to learn. Doing this you might be able to meet others with similar interests.
- Begin spending time with these people and make it a priority to do so. Find a common interest between you and your potential tribe members and invite them over. Keep it purposeful.
Best to you on your Tribal Journey!
Originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of Southern Oregon Magazine.