I recently shared on social media about something I was facing: The challenging side of maker world. I am both humbled and overwhelmed by the supportive messages I have received. It reminds me that it is too often that we allow others to dictate our self worth and how we feel. In an instant, the person(s) driving this situation had knocked me down. Sure I am human and have feelings. Yes, my feelings were hurt. But more importantly - it got me thinking.
Lots of prayer, quiet reflection and more prayer has gone into this post and what is the message of my experiences. What can these experiences not only teach me but can sharing about them possibly help others as well? I think it can and after receiving such an overwhelming response and realizing I am not alone in these challenges, I decided to expand on that social media post and talk about three of the biggest challenges of Maker World that have come from this recent experience:
Weighty stuff to be sure, but important stuff I think. So I hope that by splitting this up into 3 posts it has been a process for you to evaluate and dig deep in your own world.
Find YOUR tribe. It sounds magical right?
Love Your Tribe: It is more than a slogan but a command that gives the warm fuzzies right?
It can be magical and it can be amazing. If it IS truly Your Tribe!
When we were kids it was easy. Here you go little human. This is your class and these are your playmates now. Boom. Instant friendships formed and the "finding" and "seeking out" of our kindred and like minded folk was nary a factor. As we got older we tended to lean toward some relationships over others and small groups of similar interests are born but this all stems form that initial set up of instant connection.
As adults with busy lives, and especially artisans with a passion, this task of deep connection is much harder. While we seek out those who are like-minded, we may also find ourselves developing trust issues and finding it harder to be vulnerable. We've been burned. We've got the scars of a life lived. We have experiences that shape our view of others. And we have our passions and needs; a determined set of criteria we need from those we give our trust and vulnerability too. Ah yes, it has become much more complicated than those days of here you go class and these are now your friends.
This new adult version of friend making and tribe finding can be quite a weighty challenge. Especially if you are like me. I am an extremely socially awkward human being, which is probably why my fiber world is so important to me. I feel at home with my fiber. But we all have that instinctive need to belong and be part of something bigger than ourselves. Part of a group. It is human nature and rightfully so. The key is to find where we fit. Where we ADD value. Where we can lift others up and be lifted ourselves.
What I have learned in all of my experiences is that we must first DEFINE our tribe! This can be a painful process. But is so important. This gives us the freedom to know when it is safe to take risks and know when we are truly supported.
To me, this is a layered approach and not simplistic in any way. My inner circle is so small I can name those in it on one hand and not use all my fingers. It is my circle of trust. It is my tribal elders for lack of better comparison. No questions asked and I have no doubts about trust and am free to be me and vulnerable. The good and the bad and all in between. I KNOW that anything my inner circle says to me is truly because they have MY best interest at heart. There is no other agenda at play.
Then there are other layers to your tribe. You can name them if you want, I don’t. I just know they are there. People who support me in one specific area or another. People I am friends with on various level and speak into my life. People who contribute to my journey. These are all people in my tribe and who add value. People who allow me to speak into their life and add value to them are also an important part of my tribe.
Then there is my own community and the community of this blog. These are also part of my tribe. I don’t care if I have ten followers or ten thousand. I care about the people behind the accounts and connecting with them. I care about what value I can add to other people's lives, even if it is just this blog as a place to get some free patterns. Whatever it is, ADD VALUE.
I have come to learn and accept, after much turmoil and these experiences, that all Maker groups are not for everyone. There are too many unknown, undisclosed factors and agendas (whether it is to sell merchandise or get people to believe a certain pricing method or doctrine or business approach or whatever). They serve a purpose to be sure, but may not be a good fit for all. The journey to discover this for myself did hurt, but I got it now. And it is essential for those challenges to shape and help us grow. And oh I have grown and in the process DEFINED MY TRIBE.
And defining your tribe will help you find your tribe and help them find you. Be your authentic true self and the right people will stick around. And they will love you.
In wrapping up this series, I want you to know this: There are parts of the community that work for you, and parts that won’t. And that is OK! It's important that you find & stick to your own voice, and find your own tribe.
I hope sharing this experience and the lessons from it encourages you. I encourage you to be a source of kindness and adding value and let the rest take care of itself.