“We are called to be strong companions and clear mirrors for one another…
We need the nourishing company of others to create the circle needed for growth, freedom and healing.”
~ Wayne Muller
You don’t need convincing.
Since you made it here to Part II, I’m guessing that you’re ready for support – maybe thirsty for it. And you’d LOVE to have travel companions along for your reinvention journey.
In Part I of this series, I shared that opening to support is the first step. I suggested that individual support, a guide, is the quickest path to finding rich support – and that a valuable next circle of support is finding a safe community of peers; a tribe.
And I affirmed that YOU are the authority for knowing what kind of support will most catalyze your reinvention. That’s the focus for this post – getting clear about the support you need.
Finding YOUR Best Tribe
The best tribe for you is the one that meets your needs. It’s a tribe where every time you gather you leave grateful and stronger – with renewed focus, energy, and forward motion.
STEP #3: Find Your Focus.
To focus in on finding your tribe, begin with your needs. What works for someone else may not work for you. So what do you need?
- Tribe size & intimacy?
What size tribe fits your needs and comfort zone? You’ll have an instinct for this. Do you want the intimacy and depth of a small circle, the greater resource pool and activity of a larger community, or some combination of the two?
- Tribe commitment & intensity?
Do you want general support – freeform sharing, inspiration, and peer discussion that you can participate in at whatever frequently or time-of-day you like? Or do you want a focused working group that sets aside structured time-blocks, creates accountability, and gives you a container of focused attention for making progress?
Here’s an important question to consider as you focus-in on finding your tribe:
Discovery or Momentum?
To find your reinvention travel companions, it’s critical to identify where you are in the reinvention journey. Because the most helpful form of support community depends on where you are in the process.
At it’s simplest; we can see the reinvention journey in two big parts – The “Discovery” phase and the “Momentum” phase.
- Discovery is about finding your career calling.
- Momentum is about fulfilling your calling once you know what that is.
Discovery or Momentum, which is your Tribe?
Why is this important? The needs of each reinvention phase are radically different, so in finding a community of support, a “tribe,” you want to find one with others in the same phase – along with a focus and format that fit the needs of your reinvention phase.
To learn what to look for in your tribe, read the section below that reflects the reinvention phase you’re currently in.
Your Discovery Tribe
The discovery phase is where it all begins: the process of finding new direction and renewed passion. What I often talk about as “finding new fire,” the goal is clarity about your gifts and certainty about your purpose – the difference you’re here to make.
How can the support of a small group be helpful for discovery, especially since the kind of discovery we’re talking about is internal?
In my experience, with the right structure, small groups can be a startlingly effective support for discovery work – especially for finding patterns related to your gifts and passions. Others see when you light up more clearly than you do. And you can see their gifts more immediately and more clearly than they see them. Especially your most inherent gifts – because those are like breathing to you (and thus invisible.)
A structured process is extremely helpful in the discovery phase of reinvention, necessary even, because it provided a focus for the discovery.
General group sharing can be supportive but doesn’t lead to new clarity. So, when seeking a discovery tribe, look for a small group that includes a strong process for mutual discovery. This will usually take the form of an intentional series of discovery activities that help focus your attention and gather vital clues about the aliveness that will fuel your next chapter.
What I’ve seen is this: Give attention to a discovery activity on your own and you’ll get some insights. But then bring that same activity to your coach or to the combined genius of a trusted small group, and you’ll get at least 200% more from the experience. Plus, you’ll gain progress that goes beyond insight. Something deeper will shift and strengthen – in a way that’s not possible inside your own head.
Your Momentum Tribe
The Momentum phase of the process is what comes after clarity. It’s what mythologist Joseph Campbell talked about as “Following your bliss.” Momentum is the phase when you’re in very active motion following the energy, purpose and clarity you gained in the discovery phase.
This is a stage when even people who’ve reached out for support in the discovery phase often think, “I’ve got this now.” Until they get stuck. And we all do.
Inspired action is central to this stage. So a momentum tribe needs to be focused around supporting action. Accountability is a key part of this. So are regularity of meetings, a focus on small action steps, and tapping into the group’s creativity, problem-solving, and practical help. Rather than a structured step-by-step process, a momentum tribe needs to create a container that consistently focuses and serves each participant’s priorities and action plan.
When it comes to staying in motion, even when you hit a dead end, or forget your vision, or question if it’s really possible – a small team of supporters is an absolute miracle.
Each person in your momentum tribe becomes one of your vision-holders – and you become theirs. They can see possibilities and potential solutions that you are blind to. They can believe in you when you’re questioning yourself. And you are resources for each other; a wider circle of ideas, contacts, energy, and belief.
A small team for practical support + a structure for steady action = the gold formula for momentum.
Peer Tribe or Guided Tribe?
Another key choice is whether you want a peer community or a guided community.
A peer tribe is one that you facilitate yourself, or operates with some kind of shared leadership within the support community. A guided tribe is a support community that’s designed and facilitated by a coach or other experienced professional. Both are valuable. The choice is primarily a financial one.
Assuming the guide’s depth of expertise, a guided tribe will almost certainly be significantly more effective than a peer tribe. More progress in less time. (For a discovery tribe in particular, this can shorten the process by a full year.) And the trade off is that guided tribes involve a financial investment, sharing a portion of the cost for the guide’s expertise, facilitation, and hosting of the community.
A peer tribe remains a viable, and valuable, option; especially if you can’t find a guided tribe that meets your needs, or if you just don’t have financial resources. It beats going solo by a thousand miles.
The Magic Mix
Something I learned profoundly during the years I co-directed Centerpoint Institute in the Seattle area is what I call the “Magic Mix.”
As a nonprofit serving midlife adults, one goal when we founded Centerpoint was to keep career services affordable. And a key to how we did this was by offering facilitated small group programs – including the guidance of a skilled coach but at a much lower cost than individual coaching.
And that worked. Yet we were surprised too. Because, beyond these financial benefits, we witnessed another benefit – the magic of community.
During those years, I came to understand deeply how some aspects of a career reinvention can be moved most powerfully in a small group setting. And I also saw how other shifts clearly happened more quickly and deeply through one-on-one coaching.
This is the “Magic Mix,” bringing together the deep support of an individual guide with the rich container for change that a tribe can offer (with a bonus of reduced expense.) It’s the mix that’s become a guiding star for how I create programs and support my clients. Not exclusively, because not everyone has the same needs. Yet, if I could only offer one type of support for career reinvention is would be a program based on the Magic Mix.
What are your needs?
What draws you to wish for a community of support? What will fit your phase, and style, and instincts?
I encourage you to take a moment and make a short list for yourself of your “reinvention tribe requirements” – the qualities and elements a support community must have to fit your needs. If you’re are visual by nature you may want to do this in the format of a mind map. 1) Begin with a blank sheet of paper. 2) Draw a circle near the middle of the paper and label it “My Tribe Needs.” 3) Then draw branches coming out from that circle, each labeled with one category or aspect related to what you want from a support community.
Your clarity about your needs along with trust that you’ll recognize a good fit when you find it, will be a sure compass as you seek your reinvention tribe.
- In the next (and final) post in this series, we look at specific options and concrete formats for reinventions tribes – including resource links to support you.
- To read Part III of Reinvention Takes a Tribe click this LINK.