Who's In Your Tribe?



Formally defined, a tribe is “a group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest (Merriam Webster). In today’s language, ‘tribe’ can have many meanings. A sports team could be considered a tribe. A political party? Certainly. Neighborhoods identify by their subdivision name. Tribes are one of the most fundamental ways we evolved to a level of planetary superiority when compared to other creatures over the millennia. We created tribes. We weren’t the strongest or the fastest or the biggest creatures on the plains and prairies. We banded together for a common goal. We put aside differences to achieve what we wanted to achieve. Tribes were THE thing that separated us from all other animals and allowed us to not only survive, but flourish. Now that the elections are over, and we can all exhale (if only briefly) I began to think about tribes.

I reflect often and smile broadly at the circle of friends my 13-year-old son runs in. He has great friends. When it comes to peer-aged friends, he has a great tribe. His sports teams are yet other tribes he belongs to. What about community? In our beautiful communities we call home there are people from all levels of society. Different political beliefs, religions, income levels and ideologies. Yet we identify as belonging to the cities and villages we call home. I challenge you all to think a bit smaller for the next two paragraphs. What if you could create your tribe? Who would you choose? Why? For what purpose? Would you add someone for the purposes of career and financial? Fun and social? If you could create a tribe from scratch, what would you seek? Are there any traits you would absolutely avoid? Humans are fundamentally social creatures. With that in mind, what would your tribe look like? Here is the million-dollar question. Would those same people, if starting their own tribe, include you?

Our society loves to point fingers these days. Think back to mere days ago and the barrage of political ads we all suffered through. How many talked about their plans? How many disparaged their opponent? Finger pointing has no place in a true tribe. Instead of pointing, we all need to turn our hands up and shake the hands of our tribe members. We need to use our hands to lift those who have fallen. We need to use our hands to applaud those who are wonderful. We need to belong to a tribe that supports and loves not only the members of itself, but other tribes as well. Our goal should be to exist and thrive as the best possible member of every tribe we belong to.

My desire to write for our local paper is to seek out the best of the tribes all around us in our fabulous communities we call home. To offer anecdotes and brief moments of ‘up.’ If we are too busy cheering the many fabulous people in our communities, the boos and grumblings will be drowned out. I hope to bring you a weekly dose of up with each article I am allowed to write.

It is time to start building our Tribe of Up. Who’s with me?

Steve Gwisdalla

(Steve owns Better Place Consulting, a personal and small business coaching and consulting practice in Dexter, MI)

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