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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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