All my life I’ve surrounded myself with people. Friends. Colleagues. Employees. Subcontractors. Partners.
Many a times I was happy to follow. Follow someone I believed was genuine and that I could trust. Partners that eventually turned away and followed their own agenda. Ditching what we had built together. Leaving no room for togetherness.
Or partners that I helped build their enterprise so we could rise together, only to find out their sought to rise by trumping on me.
Bosses that eventually followed their own career path. Leaving everyone else behind. No looking back. No checking in. No reaching out. Just moving on.
Relationships where everything was fine as long as I had something to give, and which crumbled like a sand castle once the wheels turned and it was their turn to give. To support me. To encourage me. Like I had done for them.
I somehow always assumed that the people I bonded with had the same vision as I had. That they were as genuine and honest as I was and if anything changed, we could talk about it and work around it. And I was wrong so many times. Why? Maybe they just didn’t know what was going on. Maybe they just didn’t know how to raise the issue. Maybe they thought I was the one diverging and being dishonest. I’ll never know.
I often wondered why I had this inner drive. This irresistible urge to build or find a tribe of my own. My recent read ‘Habits of a Happy Brain’ shed some light on this. Oxytocin is the brain chemical that gives us the good feeling of bonding. It has evolved in our brain to help us mammals survive all these millennia. It is present in all mammals, not just humans.
The tribe helped us survive in the wilderness. By bonding and working together, we were able to build on each other’s strength to counter out individual weaknesses.
The tribe also brought us serotonin surges whenever we were right in something. Either on our own or as a community.
We don’t and can’t control how these chemicals flow in our brain. But we can use our rational mind (aka prefrontal cortex) and our awareness to be more effective.
And using this awareness, I can now better understand and formulate what a tribe means for me. A tribe is like a family. We TRUST each other. We are HONEST with each other, even when honesty means talking about painful issues. Even when it is about calling the other out on their behavior (or lack thereof). It is about UNDERSTANDING the other, understanding what’s going on for them in that moment and SUPPORTING each other. Because we LOVE each other and because we have a SHARED VISION for the tribe.
Not because we have to, but because we WANT to go down that road TOGETHER, we are able and willing to put our individual wants and needs aside for the GREATER GOOD, knowing that this greater good is ultimately also our own good.
A tribe is about LOYALTY to each other. It’s about the ability to look past any assumption, anger, perceived hurt and the willingness to work things out to the best we can. And we can best do it with UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD, which means that we’re not assuming that the other has bad intentions. It also means we understand that we don’t know what we don’t know and that the other person’s story makes just as much sense as ours. That it’s not either/or, but AND.
Where we each understand that we’re different and yet we are ONE. Where DIVERSITY is a STRENGTH and a TREASURE, not a threat.
And just as surviving in the wilderness in ancient times, we are much better off surviving in our modern day jungle by walking together, in commUNITY. Where we are here for each other and we strive together for our dreams.
A COMMUNITY where everyone is HEARD, LOVED and ACCEPTED.