How discovering your tribe will transform your career

marching band image.jpg

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man (or woman).  George Bernard Shaw

‘You’re very creative Emma.’  A senior colleague once said this to me. It definitely wasn’t a compliment. Thankfully I have a sense of humour.

Being seen and heard are the most basic of human needs. When we aren’t, it’s painful. But this is exactly what many of us experience every day in our work lives. We are not seen. Our opinions and ideas fall on deaf ears. And it hurts. We end up questioning ourselves. We feel less than.

Even worse, there are those of us who ARE seen, judged for who we are and found wanting. Ouch. We know our ideas are good – if only someone would listen.

What if you were able to work somewhere all those things seen as ‘weird’, ‘creative’, out of place or even unhelpful in your current environment are not only valued, they are prized? How great would that be?

If you’re in the wrong job then I know you might wonder if such nirvana exists. I’m here to tell you that it definitely does.

It’s all a question of finding your tribe.

Tribes are the new networking. Daring to approach someone, drink and canapé in hand, mumble excruciating pleasantries and politely exchange business cards is so last-century. Thank god. 

Today’s networking is all about connection, kinship and identification with one another. It’s about tribes. 

How do you do this? It’s easier than it sounds. You simply follow your nose. First find people or groups doing things that set your world on fire. Then approach them or find a way to join in. You volunteer, you take someone for coffee, you sign up to a workshop. You get involved and see how it feels to put yourself in that new environment.

Still stumped on where to start? Think about the last time you said ‘I’d love to do…’ Think also about your friends. Who are they? What do they do? Look for common threads.

How do you know when you’ve found your tribe?

It feels right. You feel good in the environment. You feel like yourself, no personality contortions necessary.

If you want to dig a little deeper, then two elements are likely to spring forth: the people involved are motivated by a common purpose. They also share values (for example, creativity, autonomy, family).

I knew I’d found my tribe when I found coaching. On the first day of my training, I actually cried with joy and relief because it felt so right.

I discovered it by spending a year saying ‘yes’ to anything that appealed to me. I went to events, I joined a challenge, and I went on a camp. Through these experiences I met a range of people, I noticed what resonated, what I loved and what I really didn’t like. 

So, if you are tired of feeling like work’s not working and want to work with people that value you, where ‘you’re so creative’ is said with admiration and not admonishment, find your tribe and watch your career transform.