Who is in Your Tribe?

By: Peggy Willms

Published in BizCat360 04/19/2022

(4 min read)

Who is in your inner circle? Who supports you? Who elevates your thoughts, beliefs, and actions? Who is in your tribe? Whose tribe are you in?

For non-argument’s sake, here is my definition of a tribe. A group of people with a similar objective in mind create a sense of community and are bound together by kinship and responsibility. One chief leads the tribe.

Obviously, we do not become adults with an I Dream of Genie twitch of the nose. It is a process. Many say we are launched into our tween years vastly by learned behavior. Our trusted potters of life are family members, friends, and mentors. As we pounce into adulthood, we have sprinkled a bit of our own magic dust, and there we are…prepped for the world. Ready, set, go.

Our thoughts, beliefs, and actions are the blueprint of how we crawl, walk, and run through life. Who is crawling, walking, and running with you?

Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for every single influence which shaped the powerhouse I am today. However, I am also that same powerhouse because I stood up for myself and became my tribe leader. I have tackled perfectionism, stamped out a desperate need to please others, and shed the literal skin of many around me. They are no longer members of my tribe. I wear a headdress.

I want you to wear your own headdress!

Let’s pretend we are having coffee and carrot cake together, two of my favorites. When first getting to know me, you may be surprised how I effortlessly swing from attitudes of love-thy-neighbor to ruthlessness. Hopefully, you will warm up to me when I am done here.

There are four necessities of life” food in our mouth, clothes on our back, protective shelter over our head, and feeling a sense of belonging and love. If we are blessed as infants, most of our needs are met. As we age, we become influenced and shaped by learned behavior, and our personal requirements or standards for the four basic necessities shift and mold over time.

Our thoughts, beliefs, and actions around food, clothes, shelter, and the sense of belonging and love become more individualized. It is the last necessity, a sense of belonging and being loved, where I want to dive deeper. As adults, we must outline our definitions, philosophies, and boundaries around our support system; tribe. What do you consider safe, positive, loving, and aligned with your personal well-being and purpose? Who is in your circle of trust? Do they align with you, support you, and love you?

It is subjective. But you have the authority, and here is where you might consider me a bit more callous.

If you are in my life right now, it is because you fill a block in my organization chart. You are a co-worker, associate, assistant, or supporter. Even if you are a family member or friend, you either have a position or you do not. You are not part of the board because of default. You are not unconditionally accepted. You have been accepted for a job. There is no nepotism in my black book. My Rolodex is filled only with resources that serve my needs and wants. And I have selected you for the requirements of your position. And you, too, should be holding me to these same criteria.

Don’t leave me now. Bear with me. I am not a narcissist! This is about you, too.

Again, I ask, who is in your tribe? If you think about it, every single person in your life has a job description. You just don’t think of it that way. They have resumes with your name on it and vice versus. They have brought their own experiences, expertise, and influences to your table. Unfortunately, we are not taught to look at it this way.

If you were creating your own company or tribe of life, you would determine your organization chart. You are the CEO. Based on your mission, vision, and values, you should be surrounded by people who assist you in leveling up and making a difference. Therefore, your “staff of life” need certain skill sets and to meet certain responsibilities.

As the leader of your existence, it is your responsibility to be very clear about your needs, determine who is a part of your mission, and identify and fill vacancies. Over a lifetime, we unconsciously recruit, interview, and extend offers for positions in our organization chart. Just as you can have a solid staff, there can always be those few toxic apples roaming the halls.

What do your peeps’ job descriptions entail? What do they bring to the table? Will they help you level up or slide down the slope? Do members of your current tribe need an emotional resiliency or ethics class? Do you need to write them up for breach of trust or loyalty? Is it time to offer them a higher-level of security or keep them at a need-to-know basis?

A few simple interview questions would change the game when you are “filling vacancies” in your tribe of life. A few interview questions might look like this:

Mom, tell me why you applied for this position. Dad, do you feel you are a good fit for this job and why? Son, how would you handle a conflict such as I will not lend you more money? Husband, what are your greatest strengths and areas of improvement in your eyes? Friend, where do you see us in five or ten years?”

Of course, add into each interview a few fun questions. “What is your favorite book, movie, and quote?”

I believe in giving many chances. I have received them myself. However, I do not believe in full-blown “unconditional” love. Even those in my family tree have conditions. Will I always love them? Yes! Unconditionally – that is often up for debate. Strapped-together DNA does not authorize you to treat others with disrespect, expose them to harm, or allow total disregard for the law.

Being put on notice, on a leave of absence, or fired are all risks for every member of my tribe. I am not here to imply that my tribe walks on eggshells. They do not. I am human, but I have learned that when enough is enough.

I am also not a hypocrite. Holding myself to these same standards, I know I have responsibilities when I am in someone’s tribe. I have been written up, dismissed, and resigned. And when confused, I will ask for my “job description.”

I want my life associates to practice gratitude and respect. We listen to opinions and, if necessary, default to an agree-to-disagree clause. We are problem solvers, victors, not victims, and have the ability to put on the other person’s shoes. I want to be respected, loved, and constructively criticized. As a continual learner, I have my own coaches, mentors, and leaders. Therefore, every year I reassess and update my policies and procedures.

You may still feel I am a bit mechanical. A bit cold. I just hope your coffee isn’t.

Peggy Willms
                                                                     All Things Wellness, LLC

The information provided is the opinion of the author. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. diagnosis, or treatment. The author and the business, All Things Wellness, LLC, and its owner Peggy Willms, are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information in this article or on this website. We assume no responsibility for tangible and intangible damages such physical harm caused by using a product, loss of profits or loss of data, and defamatory comments. This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases.