By Natasha Alladina • March 29, 2020•Writers in Residence, Careers, Issues, Mentoring and Networking
March 2020 has been… rough. Uncertainty abounds, and Tiger King reigns supreme. Zoom is no longer just something my dog does when she’s got way too much energy. Life’s surreal right now. Very surreal.
I’ve been doing my best to get through each day without a mental breakdown, and some days have been especially tough with incessant fears and tears. But this isn’t a post about my anxiety. It’s about what’s been helping me navigate this upside-down world we’re living in: the people in my life.
In the past, I’ve rolled my eyes at all the “find your tribe and love them hard” posts; they rang hollow to me. I think Taylor Swift’s ever-evolving girl gang ruined the concept of tribe for me as something you post about on Instagram.
But here I am writing a blog post entitled “Find Your Tribe.”
Why? Because I’ve realized that throughout the ups and downs in my life, both professional and personal, there’s been a constant source of support and empowerment I’ve relied on – my tribe.
We all have one. Many of ours have come about organically through the collection of friends, family, coworkers, and teachers we’ve encountered and clicked with over the years.
Thinking about the phrase “find your tribe,” though, one word sticks out to me: find.
Yes, we all have the people who have supported us in our lives, but this concept of “finding” intrigues me because it reminds me that we have AGENCY over who is in our lives and who we rely on for what. We don’t have to limit ourselves to the tribe we happen to accumulate through different phases of our lives. We can curate it.
Curating your tribe might sound callous and transactional, but really, it’s a matter of being self-aware, knowing what support you need and when, and feeling empowered to ask for that support.
I know everyone’s needs and therefore tribes are different, but here’s a list of the folks in mine:
-Lawyer and non-lawyer friends
-Work besties (current and former)
- Peer mentors (see work besties above)
- Partner-level mentors at work (i.e., people I report to and learn from; people who have invested in me and my career)
- Mentors within the industry but outside of my organization (i.e., people who can provide an informed yet impartial view on what’s happening in your professional life)
- LinkedIn is a gold mine for tribe curation. I’ve gained friends and mentors by commenting on posts of people I admire (read: have a professional crush on) and getting to know them through DMs. In some cases, we’ve even connected IRL, meeting up on Zoom or hopping on a phone call.
And here’s a list of ideas for how to nurture your tribe, specifically those you want to get to know better:
-Check in regularly.
- Aim for quarterly get-togethers and a monthly call, email, or even text.
- Ask how things are going for them. Let them know what’s new with you.
- Calendar these check-ins ahead of time so you can commit to them. That way you’re not just checking in when you need something. You’re building the relationship.
- Don’t forget happy birthday texts and emails!
-Ask who else who you should speak with.
- When you meet someone you vibe with, ask who else they think you ought to connect with. Good people tend to know good people, and you never know what nth degree connection might be the person your tribe has been missing.
-Invite them to a bar association event, CLE, or other professional meet-up.
- Not only does it give you a chance to catch up, you can tag team networking. Double win.
-Share content on social media.
- Maybe you wrote a blog post for your firm. Or maybe you read something on Law360 or Above the Law that got you thinking. Share it and share your thoughts on it. You can start small by commenting on others’ posts and work your way up to posting yourself.
No matter where you are and what you do, you’ve got a tribe and can continue building it. That tribe will sustain you and help you grow in turbulent times like these and throughout the course of your career and really, life.
If you’re reading this, know that Ms. JD is part of your tribe. So am I. Seriously. You can find me on LinkedIn or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy to chat through anything career related.
We’re in this together and will get through it together (insert bicep emoji and double high-five emojis here).