Surrounded by people with whom you have little or nothing in common? Itching to work with people who you really connect with? Sonia Lakshman shows you how to match your skills with your people to create a great career.
A careershifting lawyer friend of mine said to me the other day that, although she was enjoying the intellectual challenge of her MBA, she was frustrated that her colleagues weren't like her.
Her friends are all actors, musicians, writers. She herself is flamboyant, generous and creative – and has a fabulous business brain.
Trouble is, she's using that business brain in un-flamboyant, ungenerous, uncreative places, surrounded by un-flamboyant, uncreative people.
They're not her tribe.
This made the penny drop about what she really wants to do. She’s going to use her commercial savvy to work in the arts, as an agent or a producer.
Tribes are about kinship
For my friend, it’s easy to see it fits. It’s her. It’s where she belongs.
It’s powerful, this tribe thing. Lots has been written about it and marketers especially love it, for obvious reasons.
A tribe is viewed, historically or developmentally, as a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states. Many anthropologists used the term 'tribal society' to refer to societies organised largely on the basis of kinship.
Kinship. That’s it! Being around people like you. With whom you connect. Where you buy in. Where you fit. Where you express your full self. Where you grow, and where you’re at home.
It’s not geographical. It’s a kinship of spirit, of being, of expression, of the things you care about, of who you are.
It’s not an ‘us and them’, or a superior or inferior thing. It’s just a natural gravitation towards people like you.
Look around you
Have a good look at your friends. What common characteristics do you notice?
Out of curiosity, I did this with my friends.
When I did, a little chill ran down my spine. NONE of them (myself included) had a 'proper job' (i.e. were paid a wage by an employer in an office).
We all do different things: vintage fashion retailer; street artist; travel writer; interior designer; ceramist; voice-over pro.
On the surface, it may not look like it hangs together, but here’s the thread: we are all without exception self-employed, quirky, creative, passionate, energetic, free agents, not interested in rules or routine. We love being different.
They’re my tribe. It was extraordinary to see it in that way, so clearly.
Clue: Whichever way you come at it, whether it’s the environments you’re attracted to, the things you’re interested in and care about, the lifestyle you want, the talents you’d love to express – they’re all leading you, drawing you, gravitationally, magnetically towards your tribe…
So, what’s your tribe? What kind of people are in it? And what clues does this give you about the kind of work you might be best suited for? Leave a comment below.