4 ways to create your own power-tribe

chess-game-chessboard-glass-board-planning

For many years, I sought every opportunity available to position myself as an influencer. I got my first taste of leadership at Hatch Valley High School. Although I was committing social-suicide, I found myself serving on a committee of students that created the menu for our cafeteria. (Yes my friends, I was the guilty party that left you with no other choice than to forcefully swallow sloppy joes once a month) Much to my surprise, I found great satisfaction in this role. I enjoyed having others ask for my opinion and insight. Also, it felt amazing to walk into the cafeteria and know that I helped place tacos on the menu that day. I took my role seriously and began to seek other ways to influence others. By my Senior year, I served two terms as class president, and was active in other clubs and activities…..Go me!!!

As an adult, I continued to pursue opportunities to lead and serve. My twenties were a blur of leadership roles. I served in one role after another. At times, I served in multiple roles at once. I was a choir director, musician, trainer at work, I served in my faith community, and I signed-up for anything I could get my hands on.

At the age of twenty-one I became a foster-parent. The opportunity to influence others doubled at this point. I had the opportunity to influence children and the community. I specialized in behavior modification and I coached and mentored others in this very craft. In addition, I was ordained as a member of the clergy. I then had people turning to me to seek counsel and insight on all matters of life. I wanted to do a great job, so I jumped at every opportunity to learn and share my knowledge. I signed-up, I stuffed, I crammed, I mentored, I led, I developed, and then at the age of 32……. I crashed. My season as an influencer came to an abrupt halt.

I wish I had some glorious tale of how I quickly regained my super-powers. However, all I can tell you is that I shamelessly sat on the sidelines for a lengthy amount of time seeking to regain strength. Although it was a slow process, I found my strength increasing when I surrounded myself with people who inspired me. The strength didn’t come from people doing things for me, but rather from conversation. I found that surrounding myself with people who were willing to share their stories of struggle and triumph empowered me to rise above. Surrounding myself with people who actively talked about setting goals inspired me to do the same. Surrounding myself with people who loved life inspired me to live a life of gratitude and enjoy every minute of it.  As time passed, I realized that I had created my very own power tribe. I had positioned myself with a network of people that I can turn to, not only for great conversation, but also for inspiration. SAMHSA defines wellness as good mental and physical health. They also break down wellness into 8 dimensions of life. Two of these are the social dimension and intellectual dimension. I encourage you to keep this in mind as I quickly share with you 4 ways to create your very own power-tribe.

  1. Identify what is important to you

Before you can surround yourself by a powerful team of influencers, you’ve got to know what you want your tribe to look like. Do you want the people in your tribe to have a certain skill-set? Do they need to work in a specific industry? Do they need to be overcomers of a certain challenge? Do they need to be experts in anything? Create a list of qualities that you desire your tribe members to have and let that be your starting point.

  1. Create space

One of my old mentors once told me, “Sometimes you have to get rid of some good things to make room for the best things.” This is an important statement to consider when you are creating space for a power-tribe in your life. Ask yourself this question, “Is there any person or activity, that I am currently invested in, that could potentially be an obstacle to investing in my own power-tribe?” If anything comes up, after an honest inventory, you may want to choose to create a boundary or distance yourself from that person. The boundary and/distance must be a decision that you are willing and able to implement. Otherwise, you may face feelings of personal resentment and regret after time.

  1. Identify potential allies

Make a list of influencers that you already know or that you would like to meet. Review contact list on your phone, Facebook, LinkedIn, and check your rolodex. Ask yourself, “Is there anybody within my circle of influence that I’d like to sit with and pick their brain for a minute or two?” You are welcome to move on to number 4 once you’ve listed a person or two.

  1. Reach out

Can I have five minutes of your time? This is a simple question that can lead to a strong influencing relationship, or it can let you know if the person is not a good fit. You will never know until you make the choice to reach out. Make it happen. Reach out.

Godspeed,

John Garay

Photo credit: Foter.com

Advertisements

4 things I learned from my facebook purge

I don’t know how you feel about this matter, but I get nauseated every time I see someone announce their upcoming “friends list purge”. Perhaps I’m assuming much, but I picture that person sitting at home, waving their wand of disdain, as they select who will and who won’t make their final cut. Then, one by one, they “unfriend” those they deem as deplorable, while simultaneously sending squeals of delight into the atmosphere…. I recognize that my assumption is quite over the top, but that’s what runs through my head every time I see one of those god-forsaken-announcements…. You know what annoys me even more? The remnant of people who comment under the purge-post thanking the purger for allowing them to make the cut…. Sometimes I feel like grabbing each of those pour souls by the shoulders, cyber-slapping them upside the head, and telling them “Don’t encourage this kind of behavior! It’s pathetic and sickening!!!”

Well, as much as I despise facebook purges… I must admit that about 3 years ago, after much inner turmoil and deliberation, I chose to initiate my own facebook purge. Before I go any further, I must mention that this is the first time that I speak publicly about it (note* there was nothing glorious about it) Nevertheless, here’s what led to it…..

To preface my reason, I must shamelessly tell you that I am a social media junkie. I regularly lose track of time while scrolling down my FB newsfeed and have been called a “social-media-addict” by many. Nevertheless, I have found social media to be a creative outlet where I can express myself freely. I use it as a platform to inspire others, bring encouragement, spread laughter, and give hope to the hurting. However, 3 years ago, I found myself in an uncomfortable place in life. I had just completed graduate school, I was living in a new city, and I had a great desire to establish meaningful friendships in my community. I was constantly searching for possibilities at work, at church, and at school. I met many wonderful people but nothing concrete emerged…. I then realized that if I wanted to create the type of tribe that I desired to have, I would need to invest time and effort into reaching my goal. At the time, the largest time and energy robber I had was facebook. I had over 1,200 friends, and for some unknown reason, I felt obligated to read through every post made by each of them, daily. My list consisted of childhood friends from my home town, college friends, family members, people I met at church, work colleagues, you name it……. Most of them were wonderful people, but I wasn’t interacting with many of them on a regular basis. So, in attempt to create space for new opportunities in the realm of friendship, I axed about 550-ish people from my friends list….. I know you are probably wondering what my criteria was for friends that made the cut and who didn’t. However, I didn’t axe people on the bases of lifestyle choices, politics, or life philosophy…. I simply axed anyone who wasn’t a family member and who hadn’t interacted with me for the past thirty days…. It wasn’t easy for me. Honestly, I went through the five stages of grief, but in return I created the space that I needed to reach my goal….. and in the process I learned the following:

  1. I am a people hoarder

Early on I committed to only add friends that I knew and valued. I ended-up realizing that I value a gang-load of people. I have friends that I’ve carried in my heart and mind since I was in the first grade. I’m connected to many of my teachers, mentors, pastors and other life leaders that I had in life. If you had a meaningful part in my life in the past, I’ll do my best to carry you into my future. Sadly, it isn’t always possible…… and that is my struggle.

  1. Not everybody wants to be part of my life

I never heard back from many of the people that didn’t make my initial cut. I wasn’t surprised. I had one person contact me about 2 years later, out of the blue, asking me if I had unfriended them. They were visibly upset. I let that person throw the tantrum while laughing inside. The person couldn’t believe that I unfriended them, and I couldn’t believe that it took them 2 years to find out.

  1. I am constantly unaware of the value that others have for me.

A few months after the purge I had quite a few people reach out to ask me if I was alright. They noticed my absence on FaceBook, they hadn’t heard from me, and they were genuinely concerned. This gave me an opportunity to share my challenges of living in a new city with them. I apologized for any hurt feelings and let them know that I had not intended on hurting anyone. Surprisingly, it led to a rekindling of sorts. I ended up reconnecting with many of them in person, meeting for coffee, lunch, and other events. Other people reached out to me simply with a friend request and a message stating that they missed my inspirational quotes.

  1. Life is best lived in gratitude and constant expectancy

I’ve come to understand that it is impossible to maintain every friendship that I’ve had since childhood. However, I can carry the memory of the times we shared, throughout my life…. And when I remember the good times that we shared, I can be grateful. At the same time, I leave my hand open to the possibility of encountering other people who will light my life with inspiration, accountability, and adventure. I choose to live in gratitude. I choose to live in expectancy.

Godspeed,

John Garay

Photo credit: Foter.com