How To Grow Your Tribe – Persevering (Part Four)

Filed in Leaders & People by on January 28, 2010 0 Comments

Thus far, we have covered the first three steps in growing your tribe – knowing, believing, and building.  Without these three steps, your tribe would be non-existent or barely hanging on.  If you need a refresher on any of these steps, feel free visit the respective articles before continuing.

Once you have completed the first three steps, it is time to begin persevering.  You’re probably asking, “Why do I need to persevere?”  Well, it’s because you’re going to face adversity, disappointment, and challenges the size of mountains.  If you haven’t encountered the bumpy road yet, count yourself lucky.  However, it’ll come soon enough.

There is good news – difficulties are helpful.  Benjamin Franklin once said, “If it hurts, it instructs.”  We can’t grow and learn if we don’t face difficulties.  Does the student who already knows Geometry learn anything in an Algebra class?  No.  He will learn in a Calculus class when his patience, thinking, and logic are tested.  The same concept is true when you are growing your tribe.  The difficulties within the tribe will ultimately help the tribe in the future.

Also, difficulties make a leader.  In Tribes, Seth Godin states, “Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead.” (pg. 55)  The discomforts in life allow for a leader to be shaped and sculpted.

When persevering through tough times, it is important to remember the big picture and to always have one foot forward.  These two concepts will help you turn your darkest night into the brightest day.

The Big Picture

I don’t like to use the term “big picture” too often because it’s overused.  But, in this case, I feel it is necessary to use it.  While growing your tribe, knowing the bigger picture is a necessity.  Remember, you are putting your tribe before yourself.  Humility allows for the bigger picture to come into focus.  With humility, you can see how things connect and you can realize that difficulties will turn positive at some point.

Let me warn you – do not bypass resolving an issue because of the belief that it will work itself out in the end.  Such a mindset will only hurt your tribe and it will diminish your movement.  When a difficult situation arises, address the issue, find a solution that works for all parties involved, and persevere.  The bigger picture, the future if you will, is what matters but you will never see it if you don’t address the conflicts of today.

One Foot Forward

Having one foot forward is the second step in persevering.  The last thing you want is to be idle or moving backward.  However, keeping one foot forward is easier said than done.  Moving forward isn’t about routinely choosing one thing over the other; it is about the risk associated with choosing one thing over the other.

You might think the best option is always the choice with the largest amount of risk.  With the largest amount of risk, there is usually a large amount to gain.  However, this isn’t always the case.  The best choice to make when analyzing risk, especially when growing a tribe, is the choice that is most logical in your situation.  Sometimes it is good to take fewer risks and progressively move forward.  Other times, big risks are ultimately better.  Whatever logically makes the most sense and moves you forward, go for it.

Above all else, always make wise decisions but don’t take a passive approach.  If you boycott risks that move your tribe forward, even the small ones, you are hurting yourself and the progress of the movement.  Be bold in your choices.  Reluctance is not perseverance.

Also, you want to get in the habit of consulting your tribe, or at least a few of its trusted members, before making a decision.  This will hold you accountable and show you are the leader to claim to be – trustworthy and humble.

Moving forward prevents stagnation and boredom within your tribe.  In order to grow and to enhance your movement, one foot must always be in from of the other.

Perseverance is a necessary part of growing your tribe.  Conflicts will arise and choices will need to be made.  When persevering, recognize the bigger picture and always progress forward.  Without seeing the bigger picture, your needs are put before the needs of the tribe.  It’s not about you; it’s about them.  As you’re making choices, remember that the question isn’t “How can I move forward?”  The question is “Am I willing to take the risk to move forward?”

When you feel knocked down and hopeless, remember this quote from Godin, “One person with a persistent vision can make change happen.” (pg. 77)  Go.  Lead.  Persevere.


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Eric Alpin is the Associate Editor of Folk Media and works for a telecommunications company in Baltimore, Md. He is a social media enthusiast, blogger, writer, and student with a passion for leadership and self-development strategies and techniques. Find out more about Eric on Twitter.

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