By Steffani LeFevour
“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” Jane Howard, author of “Families”
I remember the day I realized I needed to find my tribe. Five years ago, I heard about the Harvard Grant Study from Jon Butcher at a personal development experience called Lifebook. The study spanned more than 75 years observing the physical and emotional habits and experiences of 268 Harvard college men.
It found that the connections each of these men had with the people closest to them determined not only how happy they were but also their level of wealth and success, the longevity and quality of their marriages and their level of health and wellness. And it all came down to the quality of their relationships.
I looked around at my closest relationships and realized most were not chosen – they were simply convenient. They consisted of co-workers, neighbors, teammates, gym friends and family members. They were fine, even somewhat fulfilling, but they weren’t taking me everywhere I wanted to go in life. I wanted to travel, to explore the world and different cultures. I wanted to start a business, be an entrepreneur. Take more risks. Be more spontaneous. I wanted to improve my parenting and go deeper in my relationship.
So I set out to find my tribe.
Most of us don’t need more friends or more people in our community who resonate with us. We need a tribe, people who move our lives forward. They light us up, and when we’re tapped into them, we can live, speak and be our highest selves.
A tribe is more than just a geographically convenient community. When you feel a sense of purpose around people who all have your back, you know you’ve found it. Here are the steps I took that led me to find my tribe.
Step 1: Set the right intention.
No one finds what they want by focusing on what they don’t want. Too much negative information is being shared in our communities, including complaints about teachers, problems with neighbors or dissatisfaction in our relationships. When we focus on those things and allow them to be acceptable as casual conversation, we’re actually attracting more negativity into our experience.
Thoughts are like rockets of desire that launch out to the universe and pull us along for the ride. Set out to meet transformational leaders, and surround yourself with game changers, people moving humanity forward in some way, people dreaming and living big.
If you set an intention to meet nice people, you’ll meet nice people. Be specific. If you want to meet other parents who love hockey and are into philanthropy, set that intention. Get clear on who you want to surround yourself with, and the Universe will conspire to make it happen.
When I set an intention to find my tribe in 2012, I almost immediately heard about a conference called A-Fest. This tribe was made up of dream-big entrepreneurs, transformational leaders, game changers and badass visionaries. These people were living extraordinary lives in all areas. I wanted in, and the Universe responded.
Later that year, I attended my first A-Fest. I’ve now been to five A-Fest conferences in beautiful, tropical locations all over the world. What keeps me going back, however, is the tribe.
I’ve created accountability groups with some of these amazing people, resulting in two new businesses. I’ve had epic experiences and raised my quality of life more than I ever thought possible. And most importantly, no matter where I am in the world, I can find an A-Fester who’s got my back.
Step 2: Look near and far.
We tend to look for like-minded people in our own backyard, settling for those closest to us because we feel trapped by where we live or grew up. But thanks to social media and the internet, we can find our tribe anywhere on the planet. You never know where your tribe might show up.
Don’t be surprised if you meet a tribe member on the beach in Mykonos or at your local grocery store. To find your perfect tribe, stay open and search near and far.
Consider joining a Facebook group focused on your interests or look at your local bookstore, church or library for events that light you up. GrouponLive.com, Dabble.com and Meetup.com are great resources for local events covering a variety of interests.
I recently attended a documentary film event about different school systems at my local movie theater. It was very moving and really spoke to me. When it ended, I stood up and applauded. As the lights came on, I saw 60 other parents standing and clapping, too. I looked around with a big smile and realized I’d found my local tribe–in a dark movie theater at 4 p.m. on a Saturday.
Step 3: Put yourself out there.
How is anyone supposed to know you’re into healing with essential oils if you never tell anyone? If you keep your passions hidden, you won’t find other people with that passion.
Vulnerability is key to living your highest self. When we dare greatly and share more of ourselves, we attract others who do the same, others who are a vibrational match to us, tribe members in the making.
We don’t create from our interests; we create from our beliefs. “I believe” can be a very powerful statement in a negative or positive sense. I know plenty of people who have similar interests to me, but my tribe and I share very similar beliefs. That deeper connection makes all the difference.
If you look for people who have similar beliefs, you’ll find an even deeper connection than if you look for those with similar interests. You’ll find multiple ways to move your lives forward together.
My husband and I went on a cruise down the Rhine River with his work, not knowing anyone else on the trip. Instead of just keeping to ourselves, I set an intention to meet some like-minded people.
I found myself sitting next to the same woman a few times., having polite conversation. Then something whispered to me to go deeper, so I asked her what she was passionate about. That simple question opened the floodgates.
We started talking about life, love and happiness. Connecting with each other on a deeper level immeasurably enhanced our trip, and thanks to social media, we’re still in touch.
If you’re ready to tackle these steps and meet your tribe, then buckle your seat belt. With a solid tribe on your side, you’ll make a lot of powerful positive changes in your life, and you’ll leave what no longer serves you behind. You’ll see what the Harvard Grant Study proves, that life is better with a tribe.
Steffani LeFevour is a happiness expert. When she’s not chasing after her two kids, you can find her traveling, exercising, coaching and sipping tea with her friends at Soho House in Chicago. Learn more about Steff at myhappilife.com.