Last fall I attended a seminar in the southern US. Since the attendees would be mostly visual and performing artists, writers and entrepreneurs, I was confident I’d be warmly welcomed and fit right in.
I walked into the large meeting room and right up to the first empty seat. I asked a woman at the table if the seat was taken and she said, “I’m sorry. We’re saving it for a member of our word-tribe.” When I was told at the next table that they were saving the two empty seats for members of their writing group, I started to feel like that poor kid who sits alone in the school cafeteria. I wondered if I had a booger hanging out of my nose or something. I got pretty much the same answer at a third table, however one woman said, “we’ll just pull up another chair so you can join us.”
These women were friendly and didn’t exclude me but as the afternoon passed, I felt a kind of isolation that I remembered from another large seminar I’d attended. I realized that many of the attendees had formed bonds at previous, smaller workshops. They knew about one another’s businesses and details of their personal lives.
I enjoyed the program content and meeting new people but I remembered why I prefer small workshops over larger seminars. Even at these mega events, it’s possible to put yourself out there and make connections but it’s more difficult. At the more intimate events, even an introvert becomes part of a tribe and you stay in touch afterwards with phone calls and emails. There’s a sense of ongoing support that entrepreneurs, writers and artists need to overcome obstacles and keep up the momentum in a solitary work life.
When I had brick and mortar businesses, I found that tribe in neighboring business owners. We’d share tips and resources, run challenges by each other and celebrate successes. It’s difficult to start or grow a business alone when your friends and family don’t really understand what you’re doing. Since I’ve been running my business online the past several years, I’ve found that tribe with other entrepreneurs I’ve met at small, in person workshops. How do YOU find those friends who understand your goals and support your dreams?
If you want a chance to work face-to-face with Barbara Winter and me, to focus on your business and grow your dreams, join us for GROW TRIBE in a historic hotel overlooking the Pacific . We want to help you create something we can brag about.
Find out more about how you can become part of our tribe HERE.