Imagine having a passionate, engaged, creative and loyal tribe of people behind you who care about what you do and who want you to keep doing your particular form of greatness.
Imagine if you weren’t sure about the next turn to take, or how the last turn you took was going down, you just had to ask your team. A team who were already riding on your bus and were therefore invested not only in where you’re going, but in getting there safely, and with a bit of spunk.
Imagine if in the hard times, the times when you’re personally stretched and challenged, you had a crew to remind you to keep going, that what you do matters. Imagine if serving your community was a two-way street that nourished you with as much of a sense of purpose and belonging as them. Imagine if the meaning, beauty and importance of what you do was reflected back to you by a tribe of people who ‘get it’, who ‘get’ you. Inspiring, huh - seriously, who wouldn’t want that?
And there you have it, in a nutshell - who wouldn’t want that? The fact is that it’s a basic human need to want that. We are all infants and we just want to be snuggled (as Chase Reeves from The Fizzle Show perfectly sums it up in episode 002 - funny!). But all jokes aside, for all its ‘touchy-feeliness’, the need to belong and to be a part of something that matter is a fundamental human truth and that for me is why working with that natural law, instead of against it, not only feels good, but it makes a difference.
I’m absolutely passionate about the fact that if you have something to tell the world about, something to contribute, something you care about, something you believe in, your number one priority in getting that message out there is to find your tribe, build your community. Speak in the way that’s you about the stuff you care about and immediately you start something. People are inspired by people who care about a thing and who are passionate about that thing, even if the ‘thing’ isn’t what they’re into so much. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that’s because it’s not the ‘thing’ as much as the meaning and connection created around that thing. It’s about the shared story.
What I love about this way of thinking is that it keep things real and its based on real human emotion. I hope, and feel that we have, got to point in time and evolution where people want real meaning in their lives. We want to know other people’s stories and we want to believe that the choices we make and the visions and dreams we have can make a difference. I believe that when we buy stuff, most of us would like to know that it was produced ethically and that in making that buying decision we’re also somehow making a small contribution to the expansion of that cause and that it reflects something of our own values and principles. What’s lovely is that we live in an age where that’s not only becoming more possible, but more common.
When people connect with an idea, shared values, and a vision, bonds are formed and big things can happen; indeed the world can be changed. But don’t be put off by that lofty ideal - everything, but everything starts small - from little things big things grow. So whether you’re a small business just trying to establish your customer base, or a big business with a slick brand and marketing plan, or just starting out on your own creative endeavour, focusing on growing your community first can start today, right now.
Start telling your story, the real story, in everything you do. Go out of your way for a customer, or a friend who supports you - make them feel how much you care about them for caring about your thing. Share something real via your social media followers, or face to face, over the phone, or by email. Show your gratitude. Share your vision. Personally ask one of your customers for their opinion. Be prepared to feel vulnerable, to look silly, to go out of your comfort zone, but just be real. Let creating a strong, loyal and passionate tribe be your guiding light in all your actions. Have the courage to be the leader for what you believe in. Reach out and connect - initiate something small right now. And then repeat.
And you know what? If leading a tribe that’s going to change the world all seems a little too far fetched for you, then ask yourself this; how would it feel if I took this this approach anyway?
Maybe it’d just feel a little bit more YOU. Maybe it’d feel just a little bit more real. Maybe it’d make your messages a little bit more personal. Maybe you’d feel just a little bit more proud of what you do. Maybe you’d inspire yourself. Maybe you’d remind yourself why you started doing this in the first place. Maybe you’d find that meaning and purpose reflected back to you. And maybe, just maybe your ‘marketing' would feel good again.
Establishing your community is where it’s at. Clean up your bus and invite them onboard.
If you want to find out more about building communities and the ‘tribe’ philosophy, Seth Godin has a really great free resource at http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/files/TribesQA2.pdf.
And you’ll find Episode 002 of The Fizzle Show here; http://fizzle.co/sparkline/finding-your-voice-pt-2-the-fizzle-show-002. This episode is not solely about tribes and community, but their belief in this philosophy comes through in everything they teach.
Photo credit: School Bus by Beny Shlevich via Flickr