There’s something about being in relationship with people that has the power to make or break us. Most of us are taught that by our parents and teachers at a very young age. Illustrations in which one person stands on a chair or a platform and another stands on the ground while each pulls at the others arms proves that it’s easier to drag someone down than to pull them up, because the person on the floor always succeeds over the one in the chair. The visual demonstrates that if we hang out with the wrong crowd we’ll get dragged down, we won’t lift the others up. And, for the most part, this is true.
Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Prov 13:20
But there’s really much more to relationships than that. Sure, there are good influences and bad influences, but above all that, there are people who are in a position to truly make a difference in our lives and us in theirs. If we want to see growth, if we want to expand our minds and our horizons, if we want to give and be vulnerable, if we want to receive wisdom, we’ve got to surround ourselves with the right people. We’ve got to get ourselves a tribe.
There’s a difference in a tribe and your friend group. Friends are awesome. They’re great for hanging out with and having a good time. The good ones will even be there with you through life’s tougher moments. One or two may last a lifetime, but most friends come and go. A tribe, on the other hand, holds you to a higher level of accountability. It’s a covenant type relationship. It’s built on mutual trust and love, on lifting and holding one another up. These are the people that propel you to a whole new level in life. When you’re around your tribe, you’ll notice your dreams are being realized, and your life is advancing beyond the normal pace. Friends are fun; your tribe is transformative.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Prov 27:17
So who exactly do you need in your tribe? What makes a good tribe? There’s no formula. It’s not about making sure you’ve got one of each personality type in your group. It’s about surrounding yourself with people that are all in. You need people that are moving the same direction as you. You need people who aren’t just yes men or naysayers. You need people with enough maturity to listen and to be honest. You need people who know how to give and receive advice and encouragement. You need real, raw, people who are ready to take on life, who are past the pretenses. You need other people who are looking for a tribe.
But first and foremost, you need yourself. And you need to decide if you’re ready for this type of relationship. Are you ready to get down and dirty. Are you ready to bear all? Are you ready to be vulnerable, to hear the things you don’t necessarily want to hear? Are you ready to be pushed to do the things you need to do to get to where you want to be? Because as soon as you become the kind of person you want in your tribe, you’ll attract the same kind of people.
Here’s a quick checklist of the qualities that make a good tribe member. But don’t start by looking around to see who measures up. Look inside yourself. Discover the areas you want to grow in, and start there.
Check back here next week for Part 2 of Get Yourself a Tribe where we’ll talk about the why behind the tribe!
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