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Why Everyone Should Have A Tribe

It is hard-wired into our human biology to function and thrive best in close-knit tribes. As hunter-gatherers back in the day, each individual had their own unique gifts and talents which could be used for the betterment, protection, and advancement of the group and its survival. It is completely natural and necessary for us, as people, to band together in a support system of growth-minded people and live life together. We learn from one another, we benefit each other, and we protect and lift each other up through the mountains and valleys of life.

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A few years ago, I worked completely from home, did not have a core group of friends, and really had no other areas of life to invest my time in other than work. Thank goodness I had a wonderful family, both on my side and my husband’s side, to come alongside us; but most of our time was spent relatively secluded nonetheless. At the very least, this isolation caused staleness and a lack of character improvement. At it’s worst, it caused some anxiety and depression.

It wasn’t until my husband got a job at a local church we were occasionally attending that things started to change. He was forming great relationships while at work and little by little, I began to get involved. I volunteered in the cafe a couple times a month. That led to helping out with a couple special events. Those led to meeting some great friends and getting invited to their bible study.

Every step along the way, I grew. I grew in my own character, I grew in my marriage, I grew in my friendships, and most importantly, I grew spiritually. Should I be ashamed that I was not growing in these ways on my own? Absolutely not! We need other people because as iron sharpens iron, so one friend sharpens another. This is how we are wired. It’s how God created us. This leads to a really good question:

How do we go about choosing our tribe?

Here are 3 great qualities to look for in choosing people to surround yourself with:

1. Strong core beliefs

Finding people with similar core beliefs requires you to define what your values are. This takes some real soul searching. For me, the church and bible study were obvious because I was choosing my tribe based on my faith. I also have other people I have chosen to be part of my tribe based on my perception of their loyalty, how much I feel I can trust them with my ugliest vulnerabilities, and of course, common interests. These are values I have established are important to me in the people that I surround myself with.

2. Surround yourself with people who possess qualities that you would like to have

If you want to get better at something, hang out with people who are more experienced than you. This can be very difficult for a lot of us. As leaders, we like to be superior in the group. But if you always find yourself in the superior position, how can you expect to learn anything? You may be chosen to belong in someone else’s tribe who can learn from your wisdom; but you still need to find your own teachers who can take you under their wing and share their experience with you.

3. Chemistry

Don’t underestimate the importance of chemistry and friendship when selecting people for your support system. These should be people you can trust to share your deepest insecurities with, confident that they will have your back. They should be people you can laugh with, providing each other with all those “feel good” hormones. They should be people you trust to push you to spread your wings and fly, not push you into oncoming traffic. There’s a difference. And sometimes they can look similar. How can you tell the difference? Look at the values you have established. Are you growing, stagnating, or regressing in those values? The answer to that question will tell you what (or who) you need to adjust.