Finding My Tribe

Finding My Tribe

I cannot understate the need for “tribe” in life. Here the word tribe symbolizes an emotion kinship for me that just fits the word. It represents people coming together in mix of friendship and family banding together side-by-side. These people are not just seeking a goal but looking out for each other’s interest and working to collaborate toward a a shared success. That is “tribe” to me and it’s critical to my life.

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Art created by artist Noah Stacey

If I’m being very honest, I think it’s as important emotionally as money or prestige. That feeling of belonging or being a part of something bigger than yourself and not having to go it alone is critical to my work satisfaction. If I feel necessary and needed in the role I serve, I know I do better work. It’s just the way I’m wired.

So far in life, I’ve opened my own businesses, done the traditional 9 to 5 (for 19 years), worked as an independent contractor and headed up divisions where I had tremendous autonomy (and at times isolation). I don’t mind setting my own agenda and charting my own course, but I like feeling like that course feeds into a greater good. It can be building an event, working for a traditional company or even helping open a bar. If I feel like I have individuals at my side that respect and are confident they can rely on me, that means the world to me. Ultimately, that sense of purpose is more important than climbing any job ladder or serving my own ego. When the time and role is right, I make just as solid a foot soldier as a general any day. It’s all in what the group I’m working with needs and I feel we need more of this mentality in life.

I’ve now done conventions where I answered to no one (Derby City Comic Con) and ones where I was building it with a group of creative people (Pop Art Con). I can tell you that having people to bounce ideas off and celebrate a success with is utterly preferable to carrying that weight solo. The pressure of the work is still there, but there is a distribution to the mental load behind it that is healthier. If you pull something off, you want to cheer along with others. Also, when you fail, you want to have others at your side to process what went wrong and improve. Failure in isolation can be the hardest hit of all and it hits harder when you’re feeling it in a vacuum.

Why am I rattling on about all this? Over the last year I’ve transitioned into a work life that incorporates a group of creative people that care about what they are doing and they are building a family approach to their businesses. That “family” mentality is still tempering with a business first focus that just works. It brings together a fearless sense of challenging each other with being competitive, a very hard feat to achieve.

Personally, I feel like it took me time to carve out my deeper value to this new tribe but over the last few months I feel like I’ve found it. I know my spot in the Gorilla Cinema Presents food chain now and it’s tasty. Here, I get to be creative and rise with a company that is growing quickly.

It all started one night over beer when two friends were discussing what life should be like on the patio of Queen City Radio. A fair amount of beer was involved. That friend, Jacob Trevino, invited me to join him on his journey and less than a week later I was leaving my previous job taking a leap. I feel very lucky to be on this road with this group. I have no idea where it will ultimately lead, but the work and time I invest feels significant and worth doing. Also the trip is quite an entertaining ride and I smile more than I should most days.

I understand that’s a rare thing to find and I understand the need to honor it. I guess that’s what this article is about today. It took a few leaps along the way over the last ten years and a willingness to step away from what the world expects. Ultimately, it is possible to carve out your own life on your own terms. I lost the faith that this was there for a time. I pleased to find it once again and I’m equally pleased to have found my tribe.

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