#BeYouEdu: Finding Your Tribe

When +Dr. Will Deyamport, III first mentioned June’s topic of finding your tribe, I immediately thought of my career. But, in reading others, I noticed a theme: the people around them made up their tribe. Clearly, a tribe has varied meanings.

Because of this, I decided to look up “tribe.” According to Merriam-Webster, a tribe is: 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. It also said a tribe is a large number of people or a close-knit group.

Perhaps, it was the latter term that brought my instincts to say “career.” I feel at home in my career. It is challenge and safe simultaneously. I am surrounded by others who are passionate about change. It is encouraging and frustrating all at once. It is like a family.

After reading the definition, it occurred to me that the definition of tribe itself could cause problems. It states that there is a recognized leader. However, I’ve never thought of a tribe that way. It has felt equal to me – a place where I can grow as I need to. But, do all feel this way? Do others feel as if there is a recognized leader? Are they followers in their own tribe? Or, am I perhaps the leader of my tribe and I don’t realize it? What are you: a leader or a follower? Do you feel like there is room for growth in your tribe?

I know many of my students and teachers are in tribes where there is no room for growth. There is a leader in place that stifles their growth. They need to leave their tribe. Despite the definition, a tribe needs to be a nurturing place. Without that nurturing, the individual and the tribe cannot grow.

For most of my life, I have been a competitive runner (and I’d still be if my knee didn’t have a voice the the matter). And, for most of my youth, running was my tribe. I would compete to move up the ladder in my group. I retreated to this group of athletes who knew my journey. It was challenging and nurturing. However, there came a time when I had to leave that tribe after injuries continued to plague me. Now, it is just a part of my past.

You have the right to leave your tribe. If your tribe is prohibiting you from growing or it is causing you pain, leave it.

We often feel loyalty to a tribe, but tribes can be flexible.

I am now part of an innovative tribe. I gravitate toward others who are passionate and excited about making a difference. The members of that tribe change constantly. In many ways, we are wanderers, in search of a tribe that meets our current needs. And, that’s okay. Tribes must be fluid. They must allow for turnover and new blood.

I am also part of own family. That tribe continues to change as new members are added and others, sadly, leave.

Be part of a tribe that nurtures you. Be willing to change tribes. Be willing to join multiple tribes. And, be willing to be a leader and a follower.

What’s your tribe look like?

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