Finding your reinvention tribe may be easier than you think.
Why? Because your tribe is waiting for you.
There is support available. And, there are kindred souls making this reinvention journey. It’s my belief that if you do your part, you’ll be guided to the support and resources that are right for you. As the poet Rumi also wrote, “What you seek, is seeking you.”
If that sounds like a spiritual message, it is. It’s my experience and I’ve seen it happen this way for many of the people I work with. Even if you’re not sure of this yourself, I encourage you to try it on. Not the belief so much as the feeling.
Your tribe is waiting for you.
As you seek your support community, imagine that they’re already waiting. Tap into a knowing that your search will end well – and that you just need to take the active steps.
For whatever reinvention support you’re seeking –
- First, fully tap into your motivation for change.
- Then open yourself to receive support (we covered this in Part I),
- Get some personal clarity about the qualities of support you need (that was our focus for Part II), and
- Take the active exploratory steps you can. Actively seek your tribe.
When you’ve done these 3 things, the solution will often present itself in surprising ways. This post, the final one in this series, invites you to take those active exploratory steps.
Pathways to Support
Sometimes options can lead to overwhelm.
So, as you look over the tribe formats in the section below, relax, be open, and get curious. Notice what sparks real interest, and make some notes about active steps you can take to explore those formats.
STEP #4: Find a Format that Fits.
The rest of this post is a resource guide – so longer than a normal post.
- Learn the 4 primary tribe formats (along with variations), and
- Find resource notes and links to explore these further.
The categories are not exhaustive but cover most support community options – many that I’ve experienced myself both as a participant and facilitator.
The 4 Reinvention Tribe Formats
Here is the short version. You can click on each format to see the more detailed description, the variations of that format, and the related resource notes or links:
- Group Programs
A structure for learning and progress combined with a community of fellow travelers. It’s a combination that’s hard to beat – particularly in the Discovery phase of reinvention. Description includes 2 variations of this format and 1 resource note.
A small, action-oriented support tribe with a format that’s ideally suited for support in the momentum phase of a reinvention. Includes 3 variations of this format and 3 resource links.
- Peer Support Groups
While these can take a variety of forms, the common element is that they don’t normally have an expert leader, but are instead peer-led. These groups are especially positive if you can’t find a guided community or if your finances are very tight. Description includes 3 variations of this format and 8 resource links.
- Online Communities
Less intensive support with a lot of flexibility to fit your schedule and style. Some are free and many others are very affordable. Description includes 2 variations of this format and 2 resource notes.
I’ve arranged these, roughly, from the highest level of support to the least intensive form of support.
1) Group Programs
Group programs involve focused learning in a group setting – so they’re an ideal place to find your reinvention tribe. Sometimes even a tribe that continues long after the program completes. They are particularly valuable in the Discovery phase of reinvention because the program structure helps focus the discovery process and greatly accelerates progress.
Not all programs are created equal. Size is one, but not the only, factor that impacts how personal and effective a program will be for you.
A. Small Group Programs
Along with individual coaching, small-group career reinvention programs are the Gold Star of support – the kind of support that can catalyze the most dramatic progress.
- The structure of the program provides a focus for time, learning, and accelerated progress.
- The group process creates a container of growing trust and support with fellow reinvention travelers.
- The small group nature reduces cost while allowing each participant to benefit from the guidance of an experienced coach – plus to learn from each other’s breakthroughs.
Small group programs with abundant access to the expert will naturally tend to both be more helpful and cost more than programs with little, or no, access to a guide.
Magic Mix – In Part II of this series I wrote about the “Magic Mix” of small group support in tandem with one-on-one coaching. If you are able to invest in support and can find a program that includes individual coaching, or gives you the option of adding one-on-one coaching – that’s would be the magic mix.
While I mentioned that small group programs (and especially with the magic mix) are particularly ideal for the discovery phase of reinvention, they can be highly effective in the momentum phase as well.
B. Large Group Programs
I’ve invested in and attended some excellent large group programs. (And some not so excellent ones as well.) The best were in-person programs.
A couple of the best I attended did a wonderful job of creating a strong sense of community among participants. Not the intimacy and trust of a team, but a culture of sharing and connection, along with the sense of being part of something important together.
This vital community is possible – yet is also rare in a large program. And it’s even rarer for an online program – even when it include an online community. (In my experience, these online discussion forums tend to have little activity even in very large programs.) So if the community element is important to you when exploring a large group program; be cautious, ask specific questions, and talk to those who’ve attended.
Group Program Resources Notes
- Where to find group programs?
A good place to begin is with reinvention coaches, authors or experts you respect. There is not a directory for this and I don’t want to promote individual programs, so explore the websites of coaches, authors or experts you respect in the area of career reinvention. You may find they offer group programs – perhaps even in combination with individual coaching and/or an online membership community.
2) Mastermind Groups
A mastermind group is a small, action-oriented support tribe. In my experience it’s a format that’s ideally suited for support in the momentum phase of a reinvention.
I’m a huge fan of masterminds. I’ve benefited dramatically myself as a participant, facilitated masterminds (some that continued to thrive for years), and have had lifelong friendships come out of past masterminds.
For my own calling, I try to always be part of a dynamic mastermind.
The term “mastermind” was coined by Napoleon Hill, author of the blockbuster book, Think and Grow Rich, where he describes it as, “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”
Masterminds are working groups. Each person gets focused time and each person gets to benefit from the combined creativity, experience, support and resources of the group.
The Plus Factor – Beyond Mastermind
One mix that can be very powerful is combining a mastermind format with small group coaching or with access to individual coaching – that way you receive support from your team along with personal support from the coach. A magic mix.
The smallest mastermind – (well, maybe less than a mastermind) is just one other person who shares a desire for action-oriented support. I have a valued accountability partner currently who is in mutual weekly support with me for our individual writing goals. This can even be a member of your mastermind who shares a related goal and who also wants some extra accountability support.
Mastermind Resource Links
- Escape from Cubical Nation Podcast Episode
“Smash Your Goals with a Mastermind Group,” a podcast episode with host Pamela Slim and guest Karyn Greenstreet, explores the benefits of a Mastermind. You can play it on the web or download the podcast to your smart phone.
- Book Resources
Author Barbara Sher, in her book Teamworks! (now out of print but available used) gives detailed steps and specific tools for a style of mastermind she called “Success Teams.” (She also wrote the bestseller, and one of the best books ever written for the momentum phase of a reinvention, Wishcraft: How To Get What You Really Want.)
3) In-Person Peer Support Groups
These are an especially good format to explore if you can’t find a facilitated program or you’re in the midst of a financial crisis.
A. Book Circles
This is a variation of a peer support group that you can initiate yourself. The book creates a structure for the meetings and provides insight or inspiration for the process. While, it’s a format I haven’t experienced myself, I’ve known others who’ve benefited from this type of peer support.
You only need two ingredients:
1) A book related to career change/reinvention that resonates strongly for you, and
2) A few friends, ideally 3 or more, interested in a similar kind of change.
Gather together using the book as a focal point for sharing and progress. Meet regularly – every two weeks is ideal for a continuity of support. Except for the cost of the book, this option is free and it taps into existing trust relationships.
If you are in the discovery phase, choose a book with a workbook format or that includes a series of discovery exercises. If you’re in the momentum phase, consider incorporating some kind of action-step/accountability aspect at the close of each meeting – to translate insights into specific action commitments for each participant.
You can meet at someone’s home or at a cozy coffee shop. You can even meet by conference call and draw from a larger circle of friends.
Meetup is one good place to look for support groups related to career change. Meetings are often free. Some include monthly or even weekly talks from expert speakers and others have a format for structured support. The quality of leadership and support can vary, so read reviews from participants or attend a meeting to explore a group you’re interested in.
If you want to create your own in-person support group, you can do this inexpensively by starting a Meetup group in your community. (Also note the PeerSpirit link in the resource links below.)
C. Job Seeker Support Groups
These groups are programs organized by religious organizations, nonprofits, and government employment support programs. Many are free and others have very reasonable fees. In the resource section below you’ll find a link to a national directory of these types of programs.
While it’s extremely rare for these groups to offer strong resources for the discovery phase of reinvention, many offer excellent support specific to a job search. More options for these tend to be available if you live in a major metropolitan area.
Peer Support Resource Links
- Encore Career – Transition Group Guide
These free guidelines are extensive, include step-by-step guidance, and are very well written. This pdf document is designed to help you create a book circle using the book, The Encore Career Handbook.
- How to Start Your Own Life’s Work Support Group
Written by the author, Lawrence Bolt, this guide is for running a book cicle using the book, Zen and the Art of Making a Living.
- PeerSpirit – How to Call a Circle: Basic Circle Guidelines
These free guidelines are from the authors of The Circle Way: A Leader in Every Chair. The circle facilitation guidelines are excellent and you can modify and adapt them to create an effective support structure to fit your group’s specific needs.
- Career Transition Meetups
As you explore these Meetup groups in your area, also search Meetup for related group topics – for example, “new career.” Sometimes this will help identify additional Meetup listings.
- Job Search Support by State
This is an excellent list. While it’s not exhaustive (I noticed some positive groups I know of that aren’t on the list), it is a great starting place.
4) Online Communities
This is the broadest form of support – and the most varied in level of support received, ranging from minimal to substantial. Benefits of online communities include:
- 24/7 Access – Participate at a time that fits your schedule.
- Flexible Commitment – You’re in full control of your level of participation. You can just observe and follow the conversation, or you can actively initiate and participate in the sharing. Whatever fits your style and needs
- Top of Mind – Life is busy. It’s easy for our desire for change to get lost in the rush of our daily pace and demands. One gift of an online community is to keep your commitment top of mind – for the community activity to nourish your intention and to keep your attention alert for reinvention resources.
A. Membership Communities
Compared to open communities (below), membership communities offer a higher level of community and support. Because they are paid (yet often extremely affordable) there is a team actively working to increase the value, facilitate greater connection, and provide resources. Also, in part because of the membership fee, community members have a higher level of commitment and tend to be more actively involved.
Over the past three years, I’ve been a member of six membership communities – including two with a vibrant and active sense of community. I benefited personally and learned from all six, gaining many insights into what creates genuinely helpful interaction & support.
The best membership communities:
- Have a strong peer support foundation,
- Include access to and input from a coach or expert. So even if you’re not receiving individual coaching you have access that their support. This is ideal because the expert’s answer to a question you ask will likely also be of value to many others in the community.
- May even include additional interaction and resources: such as special webinars, online learning modules, resource libraries, and even regular Q&A calls with a coach.
B. Open Communities
On the lower end of the support spectrum are open online discussion forums. You can find these by doing a search on Facebook, LinkedIn, and several other social media sites. While it is very rare for participation in an open forum to actually feel like “community,” they can still have value as a way to keep reinvention in your attention. And they’re a place to find resources, some inspiration, and just to know you’re not alone in your readiness for change.
Online Community Resource Notes
- Membership Communities
There is not a directory for this that I’m aware of. So, as with group programs, the best place to explore is with reinvention coaches, authors, and experts you respect.Last year I hired a business coach. He was a great fit for what I needed at that point, but hiring him came with a surprise.While he didn’t even mention it in his marketing, it turns out he’d created a vibrant online community site exclusively for his clients. That community was not large but it was very active, made up of great people who shared my values, had related goals, and who regularly offered valuable feedback, resources, and support. Plus the coach was very active posting, commenting and contributing in the community.It was a gift. I received wonderful value from the community in addition to the excellent coaching – and it provided me with a continuity of support and momentum between my coaching sessions.
- Open Communities
I planned to post a resource link for an open community but, even after searching, I haven’t found any that stand out. I’m a member of several LinkedIn groups related to career change yet none I’d recommend highly.I’ve been considering creating a free Facebook community for career calling discussion, inspiration, and resources. Please drop me a note if you know of any open communities I might recommend, and if you’d like to see us create an open online community.
Your Reinvention Tribe is waiting for you.
Whether a coach, just one other person, or a whole team of support just right for the changes you’re ready to make. When you find the right support and the right tribe it will feel like a fit. You’ll recognize them. And they will recognize you.
I want this support for you, wish you well on your reinvention journey, and would look forward to hearing from you as your journey unfolds.