Building your tribe: How your crew can help you discover new focus
By Theresa Birmingham
The need to discover new focus can be a difficult task to take on by yourself. But with good friends—whether time-tested or just starting out—you can successfully navigate the waters of life.
Discover new focus in your tribe
It’s been a long week. So long. Too long. Sometimes exhausting. And when you’re exhausted, you might be the tearful exhausted. Or maybe you’re the angry exhausted. Or maybe you just detach from the world entirely.
Because of that exhaustion, you just can’t seem to focus. That dream you have, or that task you need to complete, falls to the wayside. You can’t seem to get to where your heart and mind need to be to get stuff done.
Enter your tribe and their inevitable shenanigans.
Whether you’re angry, detached, sad or any other darker emotion on the spectrum, those feelings are okay to have. Unfortunately, many of those emotions also become solitary emotions. And while being alone is not at all a bad thing, when it becomes isolation, it’s a dangerous thing for our mental and emotional health. Then, it becomes the hide-away-from-the-world exhausted.
Don’t hide. Cry, sure. Pound a kickboxing bag to get over that anger, absolutely. Or even shout out some lyrics to a song that helps you get rid of that feeling of detachment. But…might I suggest doing these things with a friend? With your tribe? Whether new members of your tribe or the old, tried-and-true keepers, a great way to discover new focus and overcome hardship is with your tribe.
Intimacy verus isolation
Last month in this series, we discussed the basics of Freud’s predecessor, Erik Erikson, and his eight stages of development. We went over how his psychosocial theory suggests that to have a healthy ego, we must successfully complete each stage. We also jumped into a discussion on how one of Erikson’s stages is the idea of intimacy versus isolation. Do we accept who we are through the mirror image of others and the helpful practice of self-awareness? Or do we shield ourselves from positive images of self and hide away from vulnerability and sharing?
Want to know something truly amazing about the relationships you choose? They are the single most selfish and least selfish thing you will ever have in your life. When we hide, when we forgo living, we are not just being selfish, we lose ourselves. We lose who we truly are because there is no mirror to show us the exquisite beauty that exists in our physical, but more importantly, our emotional selves.
In a healthy relationship, you give and you receive with alarming results. Big changes. Little changes. Laughter so loud you’re in tears. Long nights by campfires or out shopping or traveling to a new restaurant–whatever your deal.
Your tribe is the ultimate gift from the universe. And yet, you too are a gift to your tribe.
This is selfish, and it is also the least self-serving thing in the world. But in the end, what it really is, is vulnerability. It is intimacy at its finest. And it can help you find your true heart, your new focus, and be the best version of you.
Focus on your growth
Let’s look first at how, through your tribe, you can discover new focus in your life.
- Follow your dream. I’ll amend…also share your dreams. It’s all well and good to have a dream. But it’s like a twelve-step program. In other words, it’s not going to happen overnight. And maybe most important of any step, you need to share that dream out loud. Give it power. Give it a voice. Because you will find that your crew is able to offer the support you need to follow that dream and help gain the focus you so desperately need.
- Reward yourself. What better way to discover new focus than to reward yourself with a night out with the girls (or guys)? A double date night? A trek through the woods? A spa day with your soul sisters? Or even a baseball game at Fenway with the guys (or girls)? Rewarding yourself with time is not only relaxing, it is a step away from life, which can help you gather the focus you’ve been searching.
- Be willing to receive. If you cannot receive, you cannot truly give. Your relationships will not only be out of balance, but you will not reach your full relationship potential. You want to truly be able to focus on your life, your dreams, your goals, a task. Then you need to be willing to talk it out and share. In talking it out and sharing, you need to also be willing to accept help when it’s offered. Because you’d do the same for your people. Note: There’s a great video you should check out by Jesse Elder for more information on why it’s important to be open to receiving.
- Just be you. When it comes to you and your growth, you get to be you. Beauty of all beauties, your tribe was built on foundations where you’ve been yourself. They’ve seen who you are. Hell, they love who you are. So, if you’re just being you, then through sharing and following your dream, rewarding yourself, and being willing to receive, you will be secure in the fact that your tribe will always have your back.
Focus on your tribe
When it comes down to it, true intimacy is about that give and receive. So, how can you help your tribe members discover new focus as well?
- Help your tribe follow their dreams. It’s about them. About their life and their hopes and helping them find the focus, so they can push forward. This means, when the time is right, you need to listen to the members of your tribe when they want to give voice to their dreams. And sometimes, this also means pulling those words out of them. They deserve your constant vigilance and support so that they can find the focus they need to live the life they want.
- Make sure your tribe is taking care of themselves. Along the same vein as above, sometimes tribes are about vigilance and pulling things out of the members of your crew. Plan trips with them. Plan rewards. Make sure they aren’t hiding themselves away. Focus. Focus on getting them to a place where they also can be vulnerable, yes, but mostly where they can relax to the point of stepping away from it all. Because, in stepping away, they can go back and find the new focus they need.
- Be willing to give. Give advice. Give pieces of yourself. And also, give of your time, love and energy. Just be willing and help them to center. Your support and giving assists them in focusing on their own dreams and goals–or even just the daily tasks that are sometimes the hardest to deal with.
- Let them be themselves. This is the beauty of a tribe. You get to be you. They get to be them. No judgment. Guidance when it’s asked for, but absolutely no judgment.
The power of choice and the ability to discover new focus
If you want to discover new focus, talk to someone! Tell them your dreams, your goals, your wants, your needs. Entertain and let them feel who you are through your story. Give something. Give pieces of yourself. And in return, you’ll find that you receive so much more. Companionship. Empathy. Sympathy. Guidance. Support.
You cannot truly fail if you’ve got someone—or many someones, as it should be—helping you steer your ship.
Here’s the God’s honest truth: Choosing your tribe is one of the most important things you will do in your life. These are people you pick. They are your choice. Yours. You get to choose them. This choice is in your power. In and of itself, this is a beautiful thing. In many areas of our life, we may have convinced ourselves that we are in fact powerless. But with your tribe, you will find empowerment and focus for your goals. It’s all about giving and receiving, choosing intimacy over isolation.
This is the second in a series of six articles on how to build your tribe and includes a discussion on how to find your guy or gal pals, and how to go deeper with ourselves and become more vulnerable. Each article will focus on a different area of friendship and intimacy to not only build that tribe but to create long-lasting bonds that transcend a game night. You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends and the best kind of friend is the one who becomes family.
In How to let go, be vulnerable, and build your tribe, we discussed why it can be hard to build your tribe. We also discussed, briefly, how to go deeper and be more vulnerable to attract the tribe you want. In order to truly build your tribe, you must first be yourself. Second, you must find people who understand you just as you are. And third, you must be willing to be vulnerable. You must be willing to step forward, have those heart-to-hearts, and let some of that goodness wash over you.