Who's in Your Tribe? Why it Matters...

So last week, I did a thing. I spoke at an event for former and current professional athletes during Super Bowl LIV Week in Miami. As crazy and outlandish as that sounds, I have a sweat-stained blouse and pictures to prove it. A lot of people start businesses, do cool things and achieve goals in life, but this was something I could not have predicted in my wildest dreams. Just a few years ago, I accepted a global marketing award on stage wearing a beach cover-up. More on that later...

I am a big believer in shouting your goals from the rooftops. Sometimes I am encouraged by a glass of Whispering Angel Rose. Often, I have a fleeting moment of thinking I am Brene Brown. Then I get that kind of remorse you feel when you pull into the driveway with 3 bags from Nordstrom Rack. What. Have. I. Done.

A few years ago, I had a major life change that, at the outset, seemed like it might wreck me. It almost did. You’ve heard the story before—divorce, the resulting issues with kids and money, loneliness. That’s when I found out who my "people" were and who believed in me. When it was unpopular to be my friend, some people stepped up in a big way. I found that the people I expected to be there sometimes were not. As disappointing and gut-wrenching as that was, it opened up space for others who quietly supported me all along and who didn’t jump on the first train out of Laurenville. I embraced them and made them my "TRIBE".

Over time, I learned to treasure these authentic relationships and as a result, I learned to trust the people who showed me they were a safe space to be ME, even while I was still figuring it out. They accepted the good, the bad and the ugly, the sometimes not-so-friendly me, the me that couldn’t afford to go to fancy restaurants, the me with a car you could hear coming a mile away due to a muffler I couldn’t fix. Figuring out who was in my tribe was probably the most important pivot point in my life to date. All of the sudden, I felt like I could share my hopes and my dreams and in return, they’d say, “You’re so smart, you’ll figure it out. GO FOR IT!”

So, I started telling myself my dreams were possible and I began making plans. The universe unfolded in a way that I manifested for myself. I worked and networked, woke up at 3am with ideas, and made a plan in my head. One day, after I delivered an outline for a marketing project for the company for which I worked, I jumped on a team call to discuss it. The only people on the call were the Director of HR and me. My position had been eliminated due to an acquisition. CRAP.

Because I had begun to allow myself to dream big, I had the framework and the confidence to take a risk and bet on myself. I told my tribe what happened. On cue, they responded, “You’re so smart, you’ll figure it out, GO FOR IT.” So that day, I started my own company and I have not looked back. Thanks to these amazing people, I had gained a perspective on myself and my life, having been knocked down before. It was no big deal anymore. I would crush it, whatever I decided to do.

Looking back, I can see it all so clearly. My advice for anyone with big dreams and doubts is this:

·     Look at your circle. Are you spending time with people who are like a mother bird to your soul?

·     When you are at the end of your life, what memories do you hope to have? What do you want to have achieved?

·     Are you feeding your passion?

·     What’s the first step you can take today to build your plan?

Here is a challenge. TELL SOMEONE YOUR CRAZIEST, BIGGEST DREAM. See what they have to say. Figure out if they’re in your tribe. I’ll tell you my dream. I'm writing a book and I want it to inspire people who are at a crossroads in life. Phew, now it's out there.

If you ever feel like you are unworthy of your dreams, I want you to remember this story. In 2014, I went to Las Vegas because a marketing program I’d developed and implemented was up for a Global Marketing Excellence Award from a major Fortune 500 company (who would go on to hire me after). Super excited to be recognized on such a large scale, I packed my bags and headed west. I had no money for an appropriate dress and was sweating bullets that the hold charge from the Wynn Resort would be not approved on my Visa card. I showed up in an old pair of booties, tights and a beach cover-up that had some bling. I arrived at the Awards Reception and immediately got an “omg this is happening” feeling. I was so ill—prepared and naïve, yet apparently brilliant. I felt uneasy about it all and I texted my tribe before taking the stage. They said, “You look beautiful. You’re so smart. Go for it!” I DID. I've never forgotten how they made me feel-- so incredibly worthy of it all.

So, here’s to my tribe… and yours!


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