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Optimum Talks Blog

Where did my ‘Tribe’ Go?

by Margaret Maich

A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.” ― Seth Godin.

You have just been told that you’re no longer employed by your company and, in most cases, must immediately separate from your current tribe. What’s next?

‘Career transition’.  Two words that many people are not familiar with until they run straight into them.  It is a concept that is often misunderstood (write me a resume, find me a job), and comes with some scary implications (I’m alone, I’m adrift and I haven’t the first clue where to start to look for a job). On top of that, most senior executives have not had to look for a job for many years, and even then, the job often came looking for them. So, you can see what I mean; this is a pretty unnerving set of circumstances.

When John Donne wrote “No man is an island entire of itself” he certainly did not have career transition in mind, yet it’s still highly relevant to this conversation. One of the most significant things you can do to turn the adversity of job loss into a powerful opportunity for challenge, learning and growth, is to surround yourself with a group of like-minded executives.

For those willing to fully engage in the transition process and commit to being an active member of an executive networking group, the benefits far outweigh the initial discomfort:

  • Confidence: gained in seeing other senior, smart, capable and successful professionals going through transition
  • Camaraderie: a sense of belonging and a place to share your experience, learn how to ask peers for help, and an opportunity to offer advice and support to others
  • Straight talk: an environment of open dialogue and honest feedback
  • Feet to the fire: a sense of ‘accountability’ within the group and by the group, and the forward momentum this creates
  • Intellectual stimulation: a forum for discussion, advice, ideas; adjusting your mindset from fixed to growth; exploring other markets, approaches, and ‘work’ concepts

But knowing executives as I do, you’ll not just take my word for it!

I mentioned to some of my past executive clients that I was going to write a blog about the concept of a ‘tribe’ as it pertains to transition.  After they stopped laughing at the thought of ‘Margaret’ and ‘blog’ showing up in the same sentence, I asked them for their comments. With typical eloquence, candor, and generosity they said:

“A tribe can help create a sense of normalcy in a rather uncomfortable situation. It helps to remind you that you are not alone and there are so many others going through a transition who have done amazing things and who will go on to do more amazing things.” – Executive Client

“I see the world through a more compassionate and humbling lens. My own transition has made me a person who is so willing to help others, even before they ask! I totally owe this new purpose in life to the whole transition process and the tribe that carried me through.”  – Executive Client

“Having a tribe or network of like-minded individuals there to support you through the process is priceless” – Executive Client

Speaking personally, I have been privileged to experience the magic of this powerful ‘tribe’ connection time and time again – there’s nothing like it and the value that you get from it is huge.

Get yourself a tribe!!