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Community is Everything: How to Build Your Tribe

Inspire your community by increasing their confidence, helping them connect to others, and pushing them to challenge themselves.
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After last week's post, I was excited to see that a lot of people were motivated to learn how to eliminate negative relationships in their lives to create room for inspiring ones.

This made me think of the next obvious thing to do once the negative is out of the way: time to build your Tribe!

I have built a solid Tribe of inspiring friends in my life. They challenge me to be the best version of myself and support me through the great and the not-so-great. I am equally grateful to be in a city like New York, where motivated people from all over the world are drawn by its magnetic energy.

It took some time to find these like-minded people at first. I started meeting more of them when I began actively attending conferences and events for things I cared about.  

All in all, from growing up in French Canadian, Japanese, and Indian communities to being part of competitive sports teams, to the Cornell community, entrepreneurship groups, and the Burning Man community, I think I figured out, for myself, in my own way, how to grow my own thriving community.

Here are a few guiding excerpts from my book Do Cool Sh*t that will help keep your Tribe growing and thriving.

Express happiness when you see your people.

There is no need to be too cool. When you see your friends and family, feel free to emphatically wag your tail. It will always be well received. Show your excitement. You will never regret showing too much love and they will love receiving it.

Let everyone share stories and participate.

At the end of the day, everyone wants to be heard. Allow everyone to feel that way. We host storytelling nights because it brings our community together and because makes the love and support get deeper and stronger. It also gives everyone a chance to tell stories.

Forget the small talk.

Why do it? It’s boring. Dig in. Find out what your family and friends are excited about. Or talk about love and relationships or some other personal topic. That’s always fun and it gets the conversation moving to a better place.

Stop with the "Did you have a good day today or a bad day today?" (Think: Seinfeld episode with Kramer.) Instead, ask, "What was the most exciting thing that happened to you today?" Isn’t that so much more fun to answer?

Give credit as often as you can.

Just as people want to be heard, people want to be recognized. Recognize your peers when they do cool sh*t. They will want to keep doing it.

Instill confidence--it’s free.

I love genuinely complimenting my people and making them feel con- fident. It’s free; it makes them feel good, more comfortable, and safe.

As soon as people feel confident, their authentic selves shine through and that’s when real, genuine bonding happens. As soon as you’re just you, without any front or pretense, it will give permission for everyone around you to be exactly who they are. This will help foster an environment for everyone to just be himself or herself.

Challenge your people to push themselves.

Compliments are great, but also make sure that your people are doing the best they can to be their best selves. If you think you can help, say something and help them--but do it nicely and patiently.

Connect people!

Always be thinking about who you know who could help your community. Make connections where both parties stand to benefit and you will be associated with any good that comes from the relationship in perpetuity.

Don’t expect to get anything from it. Just know that you are spreading goodwill for your tribe, and again, the universe is always watching.

These are a few of the guidelines that really helped me keep and grow my Tribe. They seem obvious, but they are meant to be gentle reminders. 

What core values can you create for your circle of friends? Let them be known. Organize a fun night with your friends and come up with a few that make the most sense to you and your group. Then do your best to live by them!

Before you start thinking about creating a community, remember these two things:

  1. Don’t make friends just to make friends. Build the right community who will give you the strength to act on your ideas and inspire you to be the best version of you.
  2. Building and growing a community is so much more about what you put in than what you get out.

Until next week! 

IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Oct 31, 2013

MIKI AGRAWAL | Columnist | serial entrepreneur

Miki Agrawal is a serial social entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and television personality. She founded the farm-to-table alternative pizza concept called Wild in New York City and partnered with Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh to open the concept in Las Vegas. She was a recipient of the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival's Disruptive Innovation Award. Agrawal is also a partner in Super Sprowtz, a children's media company. Her book, Do Cool Sh*t: Quit Your Day Job, Start Your Own Business, and Live Happily Ever After, came out in August 2013.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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