When you do a Google search on the word “tribe,” the results include Wikipedia, a dictionary definition, images of tribes in Africa, and also videos of a show called The Tribe.
Obliviously not precisely what I’m talking about here. What does assist us is the definition, Merriam-Webster defines “Tribe” as “a group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest.”
Still, it doesn’t entirely help me in my quest to understand the battle that rages inside of me. The need for connections and not feeling like I am all alone when it comes to guy stuff.
Now what I found really interesting was when I started to type in “why…tribe” it populated some suggestions which one of them was “why women need a tribe.”
How come one of the suggestions wasn’t “why men need a tribe?” As men do we not need a tribe? Are we destined to live a life that is a constant battle against our fellow man?
Have you ever noticed that a lot of the movies we (us men) love is about an individual guy who goes out on his own and takes on the entire enemy forces or corporate world? It seems like society expects men to go out on their own and conquer the world with no assistance. And if you do seek help, you’re considered less of a man.
As a society, we have isolated ourselves because we think we have to go it alone. The truth of it is that we are hurting ourselves, our family, and our community.
What has going alone actually gotten you in your life?
The bottom line is, we men do need a tribe.
Everdad Hack #2 - Find Your Tribe
I’m sure some of you are probably thinking, well I don’t have time to find a tribe or build friendships. This may be hard for you to hear but STOP. Stop with the excuses of I have to work, my wife won’t let me out, I’m too tired, or no one calls or texts me back. I’ve heard and used them all.
The biggest excuse I use to use was FAMILY. I can’t make any guy connections or go out because I need to be there for my family. This mindset was hurting my family and me. I was getting mad because I felt like I didn’t have anybody who understood what it meant to be a man which was spilling over in how I was showing up at home. I was making myself miserable and at the same time making Anna and the boys miserable.
Stop with the excuses as they are limiting you from creating a fulfilling life. As men we need each other, so we don’t isolate ourselves and disappear.
In my quest to find my tribe, here are 10 reasons why men need a tribe.
- Hold us accountable – Having tribe of men who share your same values and beliefs can help you stick to your commitments and call you out on your bullshit. We can get lost sometimes and think the grass is greener on the other side. Having a tribe can keep you from going down a path that can hurt you and anyone else in your life.
- Lift us up – Life isn’t always fair and can beat the crap out of you. When this happens, our tribe can be there for us and lift us up when we get down. This was especially true for myself, as it was my friendships that helped me when I was going through my divorce.
- For help – It is amazing how one problem can lead to another and another. For men, we are notorious for not wanting to ask for help even when we need it most. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak. Having a tribe to help you in your time of need can remove some of the stress and help you see the bigger picture.
- Escape – We are always on the move. Running from one meeting to the next, driving kids all over the place, and making sure the house isn’t falling apart. We are stretched to our limits and are expected to be on 24/7. The thing is we are not a “Super Hero,” though some of us would like to think we are. We all have a limit, and once we go up and over that limit, we aren’t doing anyone any good, including ourselves. Having a tribe allows you to escape from all the different roles you take on in your life. It provides you the opportunity to reset yourself, so you can start thinking clearly.
- Health – For some of us men, we believe we are indestructible. The truth is that we are not. As I write this piece my lower back is yelling at me. Having a tribe provides us the opportunity to work out or join a sports league together. Also, having a tribe to just talk to can relieve stress. Having too much bad stress in our lives can lead to multiple health problems: heart, sleep deprivation, memory, anxiety, and lower immune system.
- Keep us energized – Have you ever noticed how when you’re with a group of guys who you’re able to connect with how energized you are afterward. Having a tribe can keep us energized and motivate us to reach our life aspirations.
- Mentoring – We don’t know everything or have all the answers. When we have this type of mindset, we limit ourselves. Want to grow as a man? Find a mentor, someone who will challenge you. Want to help someone else grow as a man. Be a mentor. There are some lost men out there in the world, in our community, heck right in our neighborhoods. Take a moment and build a relationship. Invite other men into your tribe.
- Have fun – One of the most significant things about having a tribe is it allows us to have some fun. One of the most exceptional times of the year for me is when I get together with one of my tribes to watch the first round of March Madness. It allows us to forget about work, family, and everything else that is competing for our attention. Life is too short. Have some fun!
- Grow as a man – We are all on a journey. Some of us are further along on our journey and some of us are just starting out. Typically a journey isn’t a straight path; there are twist and turns. There are things we learn along the way. Mistakes that we make. By having a tribe, you’re able to learn from others and grow as a man. We gain insight into what it means to be a man and how to live a life that is not only fulfilling for ourselves but everyone else in our life.
- Set an example – Our kids are constantly watching us. Learning what it means to be a man, dad, and friend. By having a tribe you’re setting an example on how to be positive influence in other people’s lives. An important life skill for our kids to have for when they go out into the world. Also, it provides your kids the opportunity to learn from other men.
What will your life look like once you find your tribe?
Trouble finding a tribe?
Here are a few suggestions: join a sports league, ask a neighbor out, join a work-group, join a church group, join/contribute to Everdad!
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Donnie Boroff, M.A., CPC, ELI-MP, C-IQ is a father of four boys and husband with a passion for dads. A Dad Coach and founder of Everdad. With a Master’s Degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology along with being a Certified Professional Coach, Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner, and Certified in Conversational Intelligence, he assists dads in exploring and discovering how they are showing up in their children’s lives.