I’m more than just a little excited because TOMORROW I’m meeting up in person, face to face, with my favorite Think Tankers! Julie, Kathryn and I are going to be in the same windy city at the same time and that means we’re going to be doing some serious collaboration!

With the three of us getting in person time, I started thinking about what it means to find your tribe. These women are so much more than friends. They are support, encouragement and empowerment. For me, they are two bad ass professional women who have collectively seen and done it all. And when I struggle with issues in my personal or professional life, I know asking them for advice means I’m getting thoughtful and compassionate advice.

So what? Everyone has friends, right? The difference for me is that I’m not going to them for friendship (or just friendship). I go to them for criticism, for improvement and for a road map through murky professional circumstances. Let’s dig into this tribe idea for a minute.

Finding your tribe is not a new concept. Seth Godin talks about it in  Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us  and if you google it, there is an amazing amount of information on finding your tribe. But I think it’s relevant as it’s own blog post because not everyone thinks about how to build their tribe.

For starters, a tribe definition:

Tribe: A social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.

According to How to Find Your Tribe it’s human nature to search for belonging. But more than just belonging, a tribe means that we are looking for people who share commonalities or possess the traits we aspire to adapt.

1 – Why tribes matter to women

Do you have a tribe? Not just your girl friends but do you have a group of professionals who will give you timely and relevant advice? Do you have a group that will help you grow and brainstorm? Do you have a tribe that will hold you accountable to the goals you’ve set for yourself?

If not, why not? Women are relational. And I know that’s a generalization but it’s a fair one. We tend to build relationships and nurture them. If we’re building them already, why not target women who can understand what your professional goals are and help you get there?!

Build your network out of ambitious and honest women. This tribe will feed you encouragement but also critical feedback that will help you grow.

2 – Why tribes matter to professionals

You might think you’ve got your “in group” and they’re all you need. Close friends who you can share wine with. Or close colleagues at work who can help you get the day to day work done. I’m here to tell you, that group ain’t enough.

Your tribe needs to be diverse. You need various levels of experience and purchasing power. Why? Because that’s how you’re going to get the best perspective.

I work at a law firm. I coach attorneys on how to build work with businesses. I need insights into who is making purchasing decisions in order to be providing real time value. If  you aren’t in contact with a representative of your target client/prospect, you are probably missing some key insights.

Your ability to connect others, network and gain insights is tied closely with your network and your tribe is part of that network. You don’t have to be best friends with your clients but your tribe should represent someone who understands your professional path and client needs.

3 – How tribes contribute to success

If we pretend that professional women relationships and your network don’t really matter, your tribe is still incredibly important. It helps you to find your value proposition and it helps to keep you on track.

With Think Tank, I work with 2 lovely professionals who don’t represent my client base. They aren’t my targets. And while I do consider them friends, that friendship isn’t what I go to them for. I go to the Think Tank to break down my assumptions, my weak spots and my areas of opportunity. My tribe accepts me as as I am – no judgement – but pushes me to be better, bigger, more successful.

In just the conversations with the Think Tank ladies, I’ve cultivated an expectation of excellence and key talking points to push myself forward.

Not everyone experiences tribe the same but everyone can benefit from having a tribe of supporters who empower and encourage. Who is in your tribe?

Just to celebrate our time together, the Think Tank of Three will be hosting a Facebook live on Thursday night – 6/7! Check us out on Facebook if you’re interested.

Photo by Alondra Olivas on Unsplash