Why You Need a Tribe:
We all need friends. We need friends in every social situation that we bee bop through every day. The human spirit and mind were created to interact with other humans. We crave it like some of us crave chocolate. If you remember when you went off to college, that lonely freshman who didn’t know anyone, found people. Like people find each other. As adults we have to seek out a group of people we relate to, inspire us, and that can keep us humble. But, my caveat’ is that you need to be selective.
As we were growing up, we collected friend and accumulated as many as we could. The more friends we had the better. Today’s social media tells us the same thing. If we go viral after loading a post, we hear angels sing and bells ring. “They like me! They really like me!” I know I get a zing when I post a cute picture of my puppy and I get a good response. It feels good, but are all these people the ones who will help me become the person I am striving to become?
You Must Be Selective Who You Allow in Your Circle:
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” -- Jim Rohn
When I talk about my friends, it is actually a small circle of people. I have never been one to open myself up to a ton of people. I will admit that I have been burned a few times and am very guarded about who I allow in. I have figured out over my many years on this planet, the people we choose to spend time with impacts our overall outlook on life, and thus influences our success.
We all know the word influencers. Since social media has blossomed these are the people that the rest of us listen to. When choosing the people who will have the most access to all things you, take the time to consider your influencers.
You want people who will love you, comfort you, and commiserate with you. You also need someone who will challenge you, your thinking about the world, and about what it is you are capable of.
In my group of friends, I have a mixture of those. I have those friends that are ready and willing with a shovel handy and a bag of chips. Friends that
will come to me when I’m licking my wounds from some career setback, bad review, or bad day telling me to suck it up buttercup, then ask me what I will do differently next time.
You don’t want a tribe of 'yes men' following you around telling you, how fabulous you are or that you are a best seller even if you haven’t gotten the numbers yet. While that would make any of us feel all warm and gooey inside, it will not push us to strive for bigger and better.
Set yourself up for Success:
Writers are historically known for being introverts. We imagine them sitting in attics by candle light writing away with no social contact, to pound out that next book. I would argue however, that writers are the opposite. Hemingway did not sit in the Florida Keys, drinking whiskey, and contemplating his prose with his many cats. He had a band of other writers that he corresponded with and met with on a regular basis. One of them being C.C. Lewis. Most authors today have a very strong community of other writers on various online forums. How can we, the genre writers of our time, be able to capture the essence of what it is to be human if we avoid human contact? Sorry if I spoiled the illusion for you.
So, go forth and find those people you can connect with. Find people who will challenge you, and you them. Find those people with high expectations of what you can accomplish. Yes, find a friend ready with a shovel and a bag of chips, but remember as you are accumulating this group are you ok with being the average of them all together? If a person is not the person you want to be. Keep them as an acquaintance but pass on being BFFs with them.