The people you spend time with matter. Your views, thoughts and habits naturally become tied to the people you spend the most time with. Since many of us spend most of our time at work, it’s natural that our relationships are built around the people we do work with. It makes sense that you would work with people like you right? Folks that studied similar things, are interested in similar things, can do similar things would naturally find themselves working in similar place. These people become your tribe, your peeps, your team. You’ve probably heard the Jim Rohn quote “You’re the average of the five people spend the most time with,” have you ever considered who these people are or the impact they are having on your life?
What if you don’t quite feel like the people you work with? For many women in male dominated environments this is exactly the case, especially as you move up in your career and the number of women at senior levels declines. I’ve written before about the Mowgli syndrome…how, as competitive women in the workplace, we love being part of the tribe, the boys club. It’s so much fun being in that male energy, the competitiveness of it, the banter, the team. Much like Mowgli in the fabled Jungle Book, the pack is where you want to be, with its own mantra and rules and power, it’s incredibly appealing to be a mancub… until one day you realize that you are not a wolf, or a mancub for that matter and, in our working lives as women, there comes a time when you just want to be in your own village, with people who have walked a similar journey – you yearn for your own tribe…one made up of women.
In my years of mentoring and speaking to young women, I have learned there are 3 things that assist women in accelerating their careers:
- A mentor – that can guide you through the ways of work in your field and
- A sponsor – that can “pull you out of the shade”, that can put their powerful brand behind yours and accelerate your growth in the organization and
- A tribe. This is the one that is often forgotten…neglected at our own peril. As women we are incredible at forming networks, and we practice this art to great effect in our personal lives and communities. At work we are also largely successful at building relationships and networks, but somehow we forget to focus on a building a tribe – a group of powerful and influential women that can become a sanity check, a support structure and a posse!
I had the incredible privilege this week of being part of the creation on an exciting new tribe of incredible women. The brainchild of the inspirational Tracey Davies (President of Money 20/20) and executed perfectly by the incredible Monique Ruff-Bell – The Money 20/20 Rise Up program has created a platform for the creation of whole new and powerful tribe in the fintech space globally. This, the first of (hopefully) many more across the world, brought together 35 women from across the fintech space for 4 days of mentorship, learning, personal growth and, vitally of course, creating an incredible new network.
A key take-out from the time spent with start-up founders and senior women in leadership was the concept of giving back or helping other people or generosity. A concept so simple and powerful that it made a profound impact on all of us there – perhaps because it’s at the heart of relationship or because often-times as women we chose purpose as a key driver of career choice. Whichever it is, it was spoken of often and resonated greatly. There is something very different about women only leadership interventions – besides the deep relationships and fun-filled banter, the level of commitment to one another is always present, and this occasion was no different. Competitive strategies were debated and crafted and deals are already unfolding, but amongst the professionalism and striving for better business there was a kindness and gentleness about the time, and an outpouring of support flowing to one another in a way that only tribes can bring.
In the early 90s, a British anthropologist named Dr. Robin Dunbar concluded that humans could likely only maintain social relationships with an average of 148 individuals due to the size of our brain’s neocortex, he called it Dunbar’s Number. His hypothesis was that any additional social information processing demands requires more cognitive resources, and we only have so much brain power. We therefore end up having around 150 meaningful relationships in our lives, whether they’re family, friends, or casual acquaintances. I would encourage professional women to ensure that at least some of your 150 include a tribe that you can call on in your professional lives, form a tribe, create a posse! As for me…I’m thrilled to be on my journey with the Rise-Up clan, thanks girls it’s been incredible!