I shared previously that I had read a book by Kelly Cutrone, one of New York's best fashion publicists. She's hardcore, let me tell you - but I respect her 'never say die' attitude and ability to get what she wants out of life. She's in a cutthroat industry and she's kickin' butt.
One takeaway from her book I thought worth discussing with you all here on the blog is the need for a 'tribe'. Cutrone credits much of her success to what she calls her 'tribe' - the people she gets her advice, instruction, wisdom, etc from. Her 'go to' people for everything from how to raise her child as a single, working mother to how to build a successful business and stay on top of a growing industry. She advises that you can't be afraid to ask someone you've never met but admire from afar to be part of said tribe and guide you in future endeavours. She goes so far as to say she's been more than willing to be this person for a great number of fashion industry driven youngsters.
In the weeks since I finished this book I've really been muscling through this. Who's in my tribe? Who should be? Who would consider me amongst their tribe members and am I really going out of my way to help those a few steps behind me get as far as I am?
I'll share a few quick stories to this effect....
I haven't done exceptionally well at many things, so I'm not really sure I'd consider myself expert enough to counsil people on many fronts. But I was excited when a friend, Nicole, contacted me recently to ask me about buying a home. One thing I have already done, prior to being 25, is buy a home. So I was able to offer her some insight into what to look for, what small stuff to sweat, just how expensive 'start up' in a new place can be, unforseen expenses, and offer her encouragement that it may just be the best decision she's made!
Buying my 'batch pad' as I affectionately call it has been one of my brightest ideas yet. Not only do I LOVE paying towards something that belongs to me, instead of paying someone else's mortgage and bills, but it's taken the feeling of 'home' to a new level. It's been a smart decision financially, which later went to a new level of smart when I added a roommate to the mix. It's given me something to treasure as my own and grow into. And most of all, I just love it. Every second of being a homeowner has been worth it for me, even when I have to kill a bug or call a repair man. It's mine and there's something about that, that warms my heart. I've built so many great memories in the last year and a half of having a place of my own to welcome and entertain others.
Nicole isn't my first friend to ask homeownership advice from me since my proud purchase in December of 2009. I've served on a few young homeowner's pr home-seeker's tribal council's since then. But hers was most recent so I thought I'd share that.
A few of my faithful readers have added me to their counsil for blogging purposes. I've been writing this blog for over 2 years now and have managed to keep enough interest to have almost 40,000 reads! Amazing, right? As my friends have explored the blogging world I've been able to offer some advice as to things I've done well and things that I wouldn't do again.
Organization may be both my biggest strength and weakness in recent years. It's become a bit of an obsession. But for a few of my friends seeking to get a few more things in order - you know live on a budget, keep up with a house, and excel at their jobs - I've been able to offer some friendly 'I've been there' council.
Lastly, as I thought about tribes I've been asked to be a part of, weight loss came to mind. Not that I'm in perfect shape and I am by no means an expert in nutrition, fitness, or even weight loss. But as someone who lost 70 pounds without meds, a gym membership, or really even a 'diet' per se - I have been asked for a lot of advice in recent months. This is another one I get excited to be a part of. I think when you've let yourself get pretty severely overweight, as I had, it's overwhelming to think of even beginning your journey so it's been fun to be able to encourage other motivated individuals as they begin a journey I still consider myself to be on.
On the flip side I'll share with you some of the people I have in my 'tribe' and the areas of expertise they bring to the 'table', so to speak.
My older sister, Rachel, is a wealth of wisdom. When I was first starting off my weight loss journey she let me ask a million questions. As one of the fittest people I know I definitely consider her an expert - but in case that wasn't enough she's also a personal trainer and a Dr. of physical therapy (which came in handy as I battled through weight loss with an injured knee and later a shoulder injury).
Rach also has a marriage I'd bet many people admire and as I've dated, been in relationships, and continued to grow in those areas she's been my inspiration as well as my sounding board for a great number of things. She is my biggest supporter but she's also unafraid to be honest with me. What more could you want from someone in your tribe than that?
Rach isn't the only family member in my tribe - my Dad has been my go to person for buying a house, making a budget, determining a career path, and a whole slue of other items involved in getting from college to true adulthood. My Mom is the tribe member I go to for cooking, cleaning, mechanical, and even plumbing issues. That woman can do ANYTHING - from rewiring the lighting in my bathroom to ripping up carpet to painting like a pro my Mom is truly amazing and thankfully more than willing to share her wisdom with me.
Family aside I've gained a whole wealth of knowledge from family friends. Most of my parents friends have been married over 30 years - and I cherish the times I get to ask them how they've made it this far. My Dad's friends have let me pick their brain on the NFL industry and where my career within the football world is currently and may someday be headed. What an advantage that has already given me with my work at APD.
I've purposed in recent years to really surround myself with friends whose lives are going somewhere. Each of my friends contributes something in the wisdom department but lately I've really enjoyed some lengthy, weighty conversations with Auburn, Candy, Jon, Amy (my coworker), Craig, Sarah, and Jess. Also, my small group as I've shared before has been incredible in my spiritual growth and I'm thankful for their positions in my tribe as well.
I guess my takeaway from this is that I have a pretty great tribe going, but as Kelly said, I can't be afraid to get out there and ask someone who doesn't even know me to walk me through phases of life I want to be successful at in the way they already have been. I've been working on a 'hit list' of who these people might be and now I'm working up my nerve to approach some of them.
Who's in your tribe?