A tribe is defined as “a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.” In short, it’s your group of people.
For some, finding one’s tribe can be integral to their success. Community support can make or break an aspiring athlete when it comes to staying on track and meeting goals, regardless of whether or not they’re in a team sport. This ideology carries over into different facets of one’s life, including work success and familial relationships.
Here are a few reasons why it’s important to find your tribe, and how you can go about doing so:
Having a tribe means having people who know what your goals are and whether or not you’re meeting them. If you say you’re going to the gym to meet your fellow weightlifters for a training session, you’re setting an expectation that you’ll be there. If you say you’ll run a 5k with your friends, they’re going to hold you to it.
Accountability is a sense of responsibility. In fitness, it’s taking the concept of social pressure and shaping it into a positive force that will propel you toward your goals. While in the end, you’re only really accountable to yourself, it’s the perception of responsibility that makes having a tribe so important.
How many times have you asked friends for recommendations or advice? The same applies in fitness. Everyone has special knowledge about something and having a tribe with similar interests can help you find the answers you need to meet your goals. If you’re a powerlifter looking for a new belt, it can be useful to receive trusted opinions on the type you invest your hard-earned money into.
Finding your tribe can help you become aware of things that you previously did not know about or misunderstood. Through communication, you’ll get the opportunity to broaden your own knowledge base so that you can help a tribe member in the future.
Bad days happen, both in and out of the gym. Having a group of people who know you and wish to understand your struggle can be extremely comforting. Often times, injuries and life events cause setbacks in training progress. A tribe of caring individuals can help you get through the tough stuff and get back on track when you’re ready to do so.
Support isn’t only a gift during challenging times though is it? Knowing you have a network of people with which to celebrate your successes can be equally as comforting. Sometimes when you’re dedicated to a sport, your family and friends outside that interest don’t understand your passion. Having a tribe that shares your passion can add positivity and celebration, boosting your mood and helping you get started toward your next goal.
It’s not always easy to motivate yourself to get moving. The accountability, knowledge, and support you get from having a tribe all add up to one thing: motivation. People who have a positive outlook and support system have a greater chance of reaching their goals.
Your tribe is the group of people who make you want to do more and do it better. Often, the motivation will trickle over into other aspects of your life. A conversation with fellow Crossfitters during a cool down session may give you the boost you need to apply for that job you’ve been thinking about or start writing that book.
How to Find Your Tribe
Seek out people with similar interests as you, kindred spirits if you will. To make this work, you need to take a few action steps:
- Reach out to people – You can’t create a connection without giving what you get or showing your interest to like-minded individuals. This task can be extremely challenging for introverted folks *waves* and extroverts alike. Remember: nothing good ever came from comfort zones. Step outside yours and thrive.
- Define and align your values – Just because a group has similar interests, doesn’t mean your values will be aligned. For example, I joined two online groups for female athletes in the same week. I left one before the month was out due to the constant negativity, pettiness, and desire to one-up each other. The other group– shameless shout out to the GRRRL Army and fearless leader Kortney Olson–has been a constant source of support, conversation, and education. Before you can find your tribe, you must first know yourself.
- Initiate something great – If you can’t find a tribe to join, create one. Organize events to gather like-minded individuals. Work with local gyms (or organizations if you’re looking for a non-fitness tribe) and see if you can work something out. Take on the “build it and they will come” mentality.
Not only can finding your tribe help you thrive, it may introduce you to someone who needs your support. Remember, a rising tide lifts all boats. Who will you lift up today?
Have you found your tribe? Tell us about them in the comments below!