Day 24,826: The Search for Like-minded Souls
In 2008, Seth Godin published his book “Tribes,” the then-latest in his series of marketing books to encourage more people to step up and lead with new ideas. This work, like others, inspires people to “ship” their work to whatever audience, no matter how small, that is waiting for this type of service, idea, or product. He called that type of segmented audience, a tribe, “or a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.”
The term took off, with all sorts of people talking about their tribes, or looking for their tribes, or speaking to their tribe. The problem, in retrospect, is a tribe can also be limiting in thinking, continuing to talk, live, play and work with like-minded people rather than expanding its horizons to include others into its midst. Of course, this is not what Godin had in mind, nor what he purports. His examples are about ordinary people making extraordinary differences by dedicating them to the focused issues they care about.
The Power of Digital Connections
Godin was merely again, as he does so well, illustrating the power of new digital connections to make it easier for people to find their compatriots. This can be a lifesaver for transgender kids in a traditional family in the Mideast desperately trying to find that they are not alone in the world, or for battered women to know and learn from others who have had similar experiences and found their way to better lives.
I, myself, am in constant search for like-minded souls, if I only knew my own mind! It’s the reason, with Godin’s prodding, I started a Monday discussion group that has not existed for 6 years and lets a tight group of now friends to discuss anything and everything in a safe space. We don’t always agree. We question each other, and we think about different perspectives to interesting problems. It might be a tribe. We tend to call ourselves a Zoom group. We’re of different backgrounds, religions, ages, and walks of life. What we have in common is merely our Monday night discussions.
Transitions to Community
My tribal search has also led me to study with Collette Baron-Reid on Oracle cards. It’s easy to make fun of this endeavor, but as one of Colette’s own mentors said: “Don’t Poo Poo the Woo Woo.” Jewish mystics have their Kabbalah; Christians have their Saints, and Muslims have their Prophet. All of it, at one time or another, was Woo Woo to anyone who wasn’t of that persuasion, hence the concept of “faith.”
So, I found it of interest that in Baron-Reid’s latest release of her card deck Wisdom of the Oracle, she made it a point to rename a card formerly entitled Tribe to Community. The card’s meaning remains the same, but she felt the new title better represented the spirit the card was meant to convey.
It felt right. I have long been in search of a community, and even longer in a messy tangle with my so-called tribe. I moved into a condo because I thought it would be nice to have a community, people you recognize, could call on if needed, but could also just be there for a friendly “hello,” or to share a cup of sugar in a snow storm. My tribe, which I’ll define as my religious affiliation, feels limiting in its thinking.
New Age Mentors
Baron-Reid could be considered a Crone in her own right. She’s of a certain age, and is unfettered by labels others might put on her. She is well-read and studies all sorts of texts and with multiple mentors from Carl Jung to modern-day shamans in South America. She might be considered a New Age spiritualist right out of the Hippie movement of the 1970s. Or, she might be thought of as a woman studying spirituality in a largely male-dominated world. She is striving to find the woman’s voice in spiritual practices. She is a master at digital marketing and reaching her audience through YouTube videos, blog posts, and online training modules.
Seth Godin isn’t a Crone, but he’s now of a certain age and continues to redefine marketing in the new digital age. He lectures on new ways to approach education and learn from networks of other smart people, aka mastermind groups but for the up and coming entrepreneurs of tomorrow not the wealthy billionaires of today. He’s a frequent keynote speaker at digital marketing conferences, and is one of the first and most successful bloggers of all time. How could I not love him?
I don’t know if they would consider me part of their tribes, but I definitely follow both of them online, to conferences, and purchase their books. I may have one of the most complete Seth Godin marketing libraries around. Although they could not be farther apart in their chosen fields of expertise, I love listening to both of them, hearing their thoughts, and getting leads for new books to read from them. They introduce me to new concepts, foster open-minded thinking, and believe in life-long learning.
What I also know is that being in marketing makes me more open to both of their teachings. I appreciate how they define audiences, and how they live their purposes, and reveal their products through instructional design. They are both marketing geniuses, and, as a result, inspirational.
I’m not part of their communities because I don’t yet know other followers I recognize by name either online or at a conference to just say “hello.” So, tribe may be the better word for now, but community is a better goal for longer-term affiliations. Of that, I’m certain especially in my condo.