To tribe or not to tribe?

Lately, I’ve been running across a lot of articles about finding a tribe of people who are like-minded and will support you as well as help to hold you accountable for your business endeavours. On the one hand, I’m all for it. I’ve been feeling a little alone when it comes to starting my own service-based business. People seem much more accepting of my husband’s business, which is product-based. They’re a little more concerned about how I’ll build momentum, a little more worried about how I’ll increase my business. Some of their concern may have to do with people, especially my parents’ age, not knowing what a life coach is, unless they are in the field or a related industry (at least here in Canada). But, overall, it seems like if you aren’t doing a traditional service-based business (ex. doctor, dentist, massage therapist, hairstylist) or one that people at least recognize, then they aren’t ready to fully support you in your new endeavour.  It’s also quite the change for everyone around me, to see me go from working for corporations in one capacity or another to starting my own business, in a field that doesn’t quite sound real to them. Looking at it this way, it’s pretty much a no-brainer for me to get together with a group of people who understand me, know where I’m coming from, know what kinds of practical issues I’ll run into while starting a business, and who will help me, champion me, and be there through the good and bad. On top of that, so many successful people in my field whom I admire have a tribe, so it seems savvy from a business point of view too.

And yet, I hesitate.  I was quite shy as a child.  Once I got to know people, I made one or two good friends and was friendly to everyone else but not close.  As I grew older, I grew less shy, and understood that I was introverted.  I might be quiet until I felt comfortable, but after that, I would be my usual self.  I remember people being shocked by my sense of humour because they didn’t expect it from “sweet and quiet Sérene”.  Nowadays, I’m not shy, and most of the time, have no problems starting up conversations or joining in.  In fact, I’ve always equally liked being alone or with one or two good friends.  The thing is, I have those good friends in each of the different areas of my life –   work friends from the diverse companies for which I’ve worked, friends from my university days, and friends from here and there.  They all know some of the aspects of me I let everyone see, but, otherwise, each set knows different parts of me.  I’ve never had a ‘gang’ of friends.   A tribe would be the equivalent of a gang of friends.  Is that something I could handle?  It seems like this tribe would have to know my personal life as well as my professional life in order to understand me better and know when I’m self-sabotaging from fear of failure, or to help me figure out when I can actually handle taking my business to the next level.   Letting a group of people in wholeheartedly would be quite a significant step for me.

If I choose to go for it, do I actively look for this tribe or do I let it happen naturally?  Do I try to form my own group or join an existing one?  Which will be the harder thing to do?  Am I overthinking it?

As I try to figure out this tribe issue for myself, think about your tribe, if you have one.  It could be your book club, your gang of friends, or an official business group to which you belong.  Are you able to be vulnerable and get encouragement and support?  Do they help you with your goals and desires?  Does your tribe give you what you need?