I find that I use the term tribe more and more often these days. I’m a big believer that words have meaning and different words influence the way we think. I know that when I hear the word tribe it has a different effect on my thought process than almost any synonym for the word tribe.
Occasionally I get asked isn’t a tribe just another word for an affinity group? In one way the answer is yes, but for me they really are two different things.
An affinity group is one where people have something in common with each other.
An affinity group might be one where everyone likes to ski at a particular area. Just because you and I enjoy skiing at Sugarbush in Vermont doesn’t make us part of each other’s tribe. We just like skiing at the same place and have an affinity with it.
If you “like” something on Facebook you are joining an affinity group. You haven’t started a conversation with anyone, nor are you likely to do so. You and however many people who have also liked a company or thing have stated publicly that they like something. This is a first step towards a tribe but it’s not even close to what I consider a tribe.
Tribes require interaction.
I believe you can’t have a tribe unless the members interact with each other and in many cases interact with each other in a deep and meaningful manner. This means you let down your guard. You tell members of your tribe things you might not tell outsiders. There is trust between tribe members that is automatically granted because of tribe membership.
None of these activities exist inside an affinity group. Tribes require that you make yourself at least a little vulnerable. It’s this vulnerability that moves you from the stage of an affinity or acquaintance to one where you are willing to take a risk letting people see the “real you.”
Tribes are where you might get valuable insights.
The key word here is might. There is no guarantee that you’re going to get any insights. In fact, you might not even be looking for any. You might just enjoy your tribe because you feel at home. This happens when you develop rapport. You don’t have to think about how others think about you. You just have to be you, and for me that feels pretty darn good.
I’m not very good at trying to be what others think I should be. I’ve found that when I allow myself to be myself I have more energy and can deliver better work; both for myself and others.
There is an opportunity to gain great insights through a tribe you belong to. If you are willing to step outside your comfort zone you could have the opportunity to learn something about yourself that you didn’t know before. All you have to do is ask.
The good news about tribes is that your fellow tribal members are likely to be gentle when you ask for feedback. Great tribes and tribal members are interested in helping each other become better. The interesting thing for me is that getting better is always individually based.
I hope that you take the really scary step. Think about the groups you associate with. Tell yourself which ones are tribes and which ones you feel the most comfortable in. Once you’ve identified this, take the next step. Ask for some honest feedback. You might be pleasantly surprised with what you find.
Part of being in a tribe is understanding what role you play in your tribe. This is also true in your business. We’ve written a special report on relationships and roles you have in your business. Knowing where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow might help you build value in your business. It’s one of the goals we think are important. To get this report, click on the button below.