You Need a Tribe

A17B4BE9-FD9C-489B-A266-D95FDEBB2A0BToday is Women’s Equality Day in the U.S. It marks the anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave us the right to vote.

When I think about all the work that happened to bring that to life, it really drives home just how much friends and allies in this world matter, not only to each of us personally, but in the bigger scheme of things…

I know and have worked with many strong, smart women in my life. It was great to have one more reason to honor and thank them today via social. It also has me thinking about a few key points that are as true in life as they are in business… for even the most independent of people… whether you’re a woman or not.

Independence doesn’t mean you do everything by yourself.
No matter how independent, self-sufficient and motivated you are to strive for your goals, take care of yourself and make your way in this world… it’s critical to understand and accept that you will always need friends…

I don’t mean you have to be popular, famous or adored by the masses… I mean you need a tribe — a core group of people in your life who listen and share honest feedback. You need people you can trust to give you perspective you can’t have on your own. And, you need people who really know you to share the great things in life with… and, yes, to lean on when the chips are down…

That doesn’t make you weak. It makes you human.

Friends need us.
A dear friend of mine sent me the necklace pictured above. She’s going through chemo, and it’s awful. We talk often, and we’re real… I pray for her every day; and, amazingly, she is a beacon of light and strength in my life, despite how sick and awful she feels. We laugh together every few days about the absurdities of life…

Another friend of mine called me yesterday — my childhood best friend. She’s someone I haven’t seen or spoken with in nearly 20 years, and I learned her mother was moved to hospice last night. We cried, laughed and talked for a really long time, cherishing fond memories together… sharing new realities with each other, some hard, some happy.

I’m grateful to have both these women in my life, and our conversations bring something to my life that no one else can… When you are truly sharing with a friend, it’s not a drain. It’s a gift to both of you.

We all need friends.
A few years ago, I was working for a bully. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was affecting my psyche so much that I was chronically apologizing as we all gathered for dinner and drinks at a friend’s ranch house.

I remember being in her kitchen, and she gently grabbed my arms, looked me dead straight in the eyes, and said, “No, you are not sorry. Do not say that. There is nothing to apologize for. You know that, right? You need to know it. You need to know it right now, and you need to believe it.”

I thank God for her and that conversation. It changed my path in work and life for the better, and I’ll never forget it.

It doesn’t matter how talented, how smart, how successful or how well you plan out your life… You need friends. Real ones. That’s true in life and in business.

Recognize and cherish your “tribe.” I bet you have a small circle of people who fit that bill. If you’re not sure, some of the questions in my Twitter video (above) might help you think it through — whether they’re women or not.

Take care of yourself. Go for your goals.  And, remember, you don’t have to walk every single mile of your journey alone. Trust your tribe to help you stay the course.