by Jennie Ormson | Featured Contributor
Tribe. Tribe. Tribe. Definitely one of the buzzwords of 2016. Your people. Your peeps. Your comrades and cheerleaders. Your tribe is the people who light you up and inspire you. They have your back and support you when you’re high, and pick you up and dust you off when you’re low. They get you.
It’s very tempting to stay ensconced in your tribe, your social sphere, and not venture out into this big wide world. Your posse is familiar, safe, easy. But can it also lead to stagnation? By staying in our safe little bubble are are we limiting opportunities for growth – personal and professional?
As business owners we all have our Achilles heel – the vulnerable or weak spot – the thing that we need to take care of but we’re not really great at. It may be accounting or marketing or follow up. When we face these hurdles we have a choice; we can outsource it or figure it out ourselves. Learn to do your bookkeeping, or hire someone who’s good with numbers. Figure out how to follow up with promising leads, or have a team member who loves that part.
Here’s why I LOVE to get wrapped up in my tribe and not venture beyond it: my Achilles heel is communication. Hang on, a therapist who sucks at communication? How does THAT work? Well, not just any kind of communication. I’m great at delving into grief, and trauma, stuck couples and floundering kids – the ugly, messy, dark parts of life. All of that is very comfortable for me. It’s the surface stuff, the small talk that I used to dread and be dreadful at. It felt superficial and pointless. The nice thing about my tribe is that we know each other so well, we don’t have to waste time chit chatting.
But I’ve learned to do things differently. I got better at small talk that isn’t dull or schmoozy. Last year, I took a chance and stepped beyond the bounds of my tribe (with my fresh attitude, and newly developed small talk skills). I decided to introduce myself to a new group of people at a conference. Internally, there was a whole lot of groaning and an eye rolling, like a petulant teen being pushed by her parents to apply for a job that she really didn’t want. The voices inside my head battled,
“But do I HAVE to? I don’t wanna!!”
To which I replied (to myself)
“Too bad Missy, put on your red lipstick, find your smile and get out there!”
I did my best to have meaningful conversations that weren’t dark or too deep and the most shocking thing happened: I had a BLAST. I met interesting people, really interesting people. I felt newly inspired and excited. These people were AMAZING. Since then, I’ve stepped out of my tribe time and again, to new conferences, new groups of people, and new events with people who work in different fields or have different interests.
Each time, the payoff has been huge. I get to hear different perspectives and learn new, cool things. I hear about what other people are working on in other areas. It has sparked stimulation, enthusiasm, and a synergy that I never would have discovered if I didn’t burst my tribe bubble and move beyond the safe and familiar into unknown territories. You don’t need to write a Dear John letter or leave your tribe behind. But you can begin exploring further afield, pushing yourself into new, and maybe even uncomfortable events to begin stretching your wings. Be open to what lies outside of the zone of what you already know and whom you already know. Be brave, go forth, and burst your tribe bubble (it will still be a safe haven for you to return to).
Jennie Ormson knows the power of a strong relationship, and the impact of a crummy partnership. As a Relationship Expert, her mission is to empower people with the skills they need to communicate effectively, fight fair, and revive the sparkle. Jennie’s core belief is that there is immense power in being heard and feeling understood. Her gift is helping couples understand what’s going on in their emotional landscape, and how to navigate the peaks and valleys. She’s relatable and practical, helping people to balance speaking up and knowing when to shut up.
For over 20 years as a therapist, Jennie has provided insight, compassion, and the ability to thrive. Her work in Canada, America, Ireland, and the UK has impacted thousands of lives. With three young kids, a booming private practice, an exciting online venture, and a partner of 25 years, Jennie understands the need to juggle it all with grace and humour.