How to feel supported

Humans are tribes folk. We thrive when we have ‘our people’ around us. Historically we would help each other raise the children, we’d tend the land for the benefit of the community. We’d be supported and held as part of a collective. Of course, there were some costs to such a model, paths were carved out from birth, there wasn’t the freedom we have today to explore and grow and try things and fail. But that element of collective effort, of community, has slowly changed through the years.

Our current connection to tribe is different. These days we operate on a much more individualistic level. We are mothers who are holding down a full time paid job, whilst simultaneously trying to keep everything in the home working like clockwork. We are the leaders of organisations, surrounded by many but carrying all of the burden. We are commuters, living an hour, two hours away from work, feeling lost amongst people on packed trains. We seek comfort from our technology, but that comfort doesn’t help us with our life admin, it doesn’t take away the worry of a sick child or an absent team member.

The future holds even more silos for us, with more of us working remotely, working for ourselves, living further away from family. This month I am working from Lisbon. For the first two weeks Elloa (Bird associate and one of my closest friends) is with me, but for the second half of the month I am alone. I am a nomad, I am working remotely, I have no tribe. Being an introvert I am not hugely afraid of being alone for two weeks, but I do know that the individualistic nature of my days will have an impact. I know I won’t feel part of a collective, I’m confident on some level, I’ll feel a little lost.

So what do we do about this? How do we bring a sense of tribe into our lives whilst holding on to the incredible freedoms that allow us to carve the lives we want for ourselves?

First of all it’s about identifying or finding your tribe. Some of us have people we naturally turn to anyway, so bring them into your consciousness – articulate to yourself which 4 or 5 people are in your tribe. Who do you get support from? And how do you support them in return?

If it’s hard to conjure up such people, imagine what kind of people you want in your tribe, picture their attributes, think about the energy they bring, and go find them. The internet might make us more alone in many ways, but it can also help us to find our tribe in the first place. Apps like https://friendmatch.com/ could be a place to start.

Next it’s about having clearly defined ways you can call on your tribe, and they can call on you. Design how best you can support each other. Is it a weekly phone check in? Is it a monthly coffee where you specifically share what challenges you have and make courageous requests for how the other person can help?

We thrive when we have people around us we can trust (both in a crisis and with our emotions). Problems are halved and love is doubled. Let’s take the world by storm, but let’s do it with a few like-minded, loving, supportive individuals by our side.

With love, Hannah

PS. We have two slots available for coaching starting this month. If you are a CEO or a senior leader this would work particularly well – coaching offers you support through the inevitable challenges that come with your role. Get in touch to have a chat.

PPS. Please share the blog with colleagues. We know resilience, wellbeing and self-care are a priority for everyone. If there is someone (or a whole staff team) you think might enjoy reading the pieces please forward them this article and share this link to sign up – http://eepurl.com/dbdqqj

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