Thursday, March 07, 2013

Finding the Tribe

During one of the introductory exercises at Up to All of Us last weekend, Marty Rosenheck asked:
Wendy - what three wishes do you have for your professional life.

A little pressure when you have 40+ people staring at you.

My three wishes are:
- A job I love
- People I love to work with
- A field that allows me to explore anything I want.

I spent a long time looking for a professional situation that fulfills these three wishes.
And I am finally there.

I give thanks every day for that.
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One of the themes of my weekend in Texas was "finding my tribe."

The folks at Up to All of Us are part of my tribe.

A group of people where I found radical acceptance.

Validation.

A mirror into parts of my self that I don't necessarily see.

People who I can bounce my craziest and most radical ideas off of and have them treated not only seriously, but added and improved upon.

Intellectual stimulation at leisure.

Seems like a rare and wondrous thing.
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As I thought about my answer to Marty's question, I remembered that I have found members of my tribe at work too.

Probably the only thing missing in that situation is the leisure.
I get glimpses, but then one or the other of us have to go to a meeting.
Or we have to "get stuff done." "Stay focused." "Meet deadlines."

There is a level of pressure in the work situation that seems to stunt the important, rambling conversations that lead to connection - both emotional and intellectual.

This makes me wonder - how do we create those spaces in the workplace?

It doesn't have to be physical spaces (because I have found that attempts at "collaborative workspaces" tend to result in workspaces where one can't work at all.  Please see cubicle farms.).

I'm not entirely convinced the scheduled meeting works either.  Seems to take away the serendipity aspect.

I wonder if maybe we should allow the line staff to have the same "offsite retreat" opportunities that executives have? 

I wonder if there is a way that we can "encourage" our colleagues to find THEIR tribe?
Figure out the types of people they want to surround themselves with?
Provide opportunities to spend more time with them?
Create tools and resources to play together - whether they are in the same physical space or not?

From my own experience, finding my tribe has meant that I've gotten a LOT more accomplished - personally and professionally.

And I am much, much happier.


4 comments:

Brian Dusablon said...

Thanks for sharing, Wendy. Creating these environments should not require huge expense or planning. Tribal gatherings should occur as needed and as scheduled.

I look forward to reading more about how you find opportunities to find your tribe more often.

Wendy Wickham said...

Brian -
I am thinking the first step is getting out of the house :)

Look forward to seeing you again soon.

Judy Katz Unrein said...

Wendy. You are the person who I most regret (even though I try not to regret) making a stronger connection with at UP2US. And TK. I hope we'll continue to strengthen those ties online.

And -- your three wishes, tribe, carrying it forward. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Wendy Wickham said...

Judy - I am sorry we didn't get more of a chance to connect at either TK or Up2US. But I am glad we were able to get what connection time we had. There is always the interwebz...
I hope to see you again in real life real soon :)