Do you yearn for a career where you feel a sense of belonging? Most people do! Do you leave parts of you behind when you go to work? You are not alone. When you find your tribe, a group of people you truly belong to, you will learn to show up more authentically. It will help you let go of masks and armours you may have put on in the work place in order to fit in. Finding your tribe ultimately helps you find a career and a work environment where your authentic gifts are fully appreciated.
You might remember the story of the ugly duckling. One little duckling looks different than all the other little ducklings and is regarded as ugly and strange even by her own mother. Eventually the “ugly” duckling grows wings that are strong enough to fly away from her duck family.
One day, by chance she meets a flock of swans on a lake and is for the first time in her life is not shunned. Instead the swans appreciate and accept her just the way she is. Discovering her reflection on the water surface, she realizes that she is a swan herself. It turns out she was a swan all along, growing up in the midst of ducks who couldn’t see her beauty.
This transformational story is so powerful, because many of us have gifts that were not fully appreciated by our families of origin and during our childhood years and often even into our adulthood. Most of us feel to some degree like ugly ducklings. If you sometimes wonder whether something is fundamentally wrong with you, you are certainly not alone.
It’s a great joy and a huge relief to find your own tribe, people who can love and celebrate you for who you truly are. People who deeply understand your true nature, because they are in many ways just like you. When you find your tribe you may begin to feel more connected to all people and all beings, knowing that we are all on our hero’s journey, seeking for our place in the world.
I still remember the day in April of 2004, when I began my coach training. I was standing in a conference room on the 32nd floor of the Blue Horizon Hotel in Vancouver, overlooking Stanley Park, the North Shore Mountains, English Bay and the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by people with whom I sensed a true bond.
It felt as if I had landed on the beautiful clear, calm lake to meet my fellow swans. Even though we were all meeting for the first time that day, we immediately felt a bond. For the first time in my life, I felt a deep sense of belonging with a group of people I had just met.
Finding my flock of swans empowered me to let go of trying to be a good duck. The freedom I feel among my tribe, encourages me to stay true to my nature, being and becoming the most beautiful, graceful swan I can be.
Connecting with my tribe, I began to appreciate my most precious gifts, namely my empathy, sensitivity and intuition. My tribe of coaches shares and values these gifts. The coach training we did together was all about honing our gifts and developing them further. Surrounded by my tribe I felt for the first time in my life fully aligned with my strengths, values and passion.
Your greatest gifts, are indeed the things that come easily to you, the things that bring you joy and let you forget about time. For me, this happens to be coaching people through positive career transformations. It is such a joy to make a living doing what I naturally do best and enjoy most.
You may have yet to find your tribe, your flock of swans. However, unbeknownst to you, you may already know some of the members of your tribe. They may be your mentors, teachers or friends. You know that you have found them, when you feel seen, heard and understood and appreciated just the way you are. You will feel a kinship with your tribe, because you share the same language and think and feel in similar ways.
How to find your tribe, Step 1: Notice Your Kindred Spirits
Take a moment now to think about people with whom you feel a kinship. Name the qualities you see in these people and jot them down. These are the qualities of your tribe. In my tribe of coaches we share qualities such as curiosity, compassion, empathy, deep listening, courage and perspective.
How to find your tribe, Step 2: Notice Your Shared Language
Now remember a conversation with one of these people that flowed effortlessly. What ‘language’ were you speaking? This is the language of your tribe. With my tribe of coaches we share the language of the heart and imagination. We often speak in metaphors and refer to or create our own inspiring quotes. We enjoy silence and listen deeply to one another reflecting back what we heard. Take a moment now to notice some of the qualities of your tribe. How do you speak with each other? Take note of your shared language.
How to Find Your Tribe, Step 3: Connect with People from Your Tribe
What small step can you take right now to reconnect with one of these people? To this day, I still love connecting with my tribe of coaches. Many of them have become friends, mentors and mentees. I savour the opportunity to be among my tribe, when I engage in advanced coach training. We call on each other when we are facing a challenge or when we want to celebrate a success.
The more time you spend among the people of your tribe, the more you learn to appreciate your true nature. Your tribe will encourage you to discover the true reflection of your beauty in the calm surface of the lake. This love gives you the courage to align your career and your life with your true nature.
As you learn to love your gifts fully, they will grow strong and resilient and will help you serve in the most meaningful ways. When you find your tribe, you will begin a transformational journey that will continue to unfold for the rest of your life.
Julia James is a certified life coach and award-winning author of the book, The Mini-Retreat Solution. With over ten years experience coaching people through positive career transformations, Julia is passionate about helping people connect with their true calling.