Hard Holiday Conversations: 5 Tips for Navigating Friends, Family & Politics

The holiday season has officially begun, which means a flurry of activity and celebrations with loved ones. These events can be full of joy and warmth! They can also be full of anxiety and avoidance for fear of what we say (and don’t say) around tables and during gatherings of family and friends.

Our individual tribes, the collective tribe of women, and tribe of human all benefit when we have open and honest conversations about what is going on both personally and politically because the personal is the political. We want to think that avoiding the conversation will keep the peace, but not speaking our own truths and openly exploring the truths of others creates a build-up of tension that goes unresolved and comes out in other ways. You know, like eating all of the gooseberry pie to keep from engaging in Aunt Mable’s news commentary. And you don’t even like gooseberry pie!

“Our work, our relationships, and our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time.While no single conversation is guaranteed to transform a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can.” As discussed during our TribeTalk podcast episode 9 with author Susan Scott, and in her book Fierce Conversations, these conversations with coworkers, friends, and family are important to maintaining (and growing) our relationships.

With these conversations, you will likely face one of three outcomes…

  1. Everyone agrees!  There is joy throughout the tribe. Time with your tribe should provide an opportunity to talk through ideas and discover how you all may truly feel about a topic. Sometimes everyone has the same opinion. Having a group of supportive friends who all have different experiences can provide wonderful insights and an excellent dialogue on a topic.
  2.  It is better for you to agree to disagree. This is not a disservice to any of your ideas. It is simply an agreement that your friendship is more important than whatever disagreement you are experiencing. Know your limits in this situation. Do not let your political opinions flood how you feel about a friend.
  3. It is not the time to state your thoughts or opinions. For reasons of decorum, audience, topic, or other reasons, it’s just not the right time to have the conversation. You may want to return to your discussion at a later date. Or, you may discover that you would rather not engage in the discussion at all. It is completely your decision and taking time to think through how best to approach it is crucial.

The key to navigating these conversations is to create a trusting environment with your tribe where your individual opinions and voices can lead to some insightful conversations if you allow them to happen. Now, here are your…

5 tips for navigating political (personal!) conversations

1. Know your opinions & that your voice is important

Know what issues you feel passionate about and where you stand on them. If you don’t know where you stand yet, do not simply play “devil’s advocate” because it may weaken your views and undermine its importance to you.  Know which ideas make you want to speak up, and recognize when it is okay to stay quiet.

It is important to know how you feel about an issue when it comes up in conversation. There may be some topics that you do not have an opinion on (personally, I will never feel very strongly about tax policy). There may be other issues that you want to fight fiercely for (pineapple DOES go on pizza). Most importantly, know that your voice is powerful and meaningful in your community. You bring an opinion that deserves to be heard!

2. Understand there are some situations where saying nothing is NOT an option

No matter the topic, there are some situations when we will need to step up and step into a conversation.

  1. When someone is actively oppressing or harming another
  2. When they are spreading information you know to be untrue  

We all have certain topics that personally affect us, therefore limiting our ability to remain silent. For example, when I find people are disenfranchising individuals or perpetuating harmful ideas (i.e. rape culture), I cannot remain silent. In these situations, I speak up. We have a responsibility to stand up, say something and defend those who are being oppressed. Audre Lorde said, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” It is important to know that you have the power and freedom to stand up for others and that sometimes it will be necessary for you to do so.

3. Defuse situations that are high-stakes for your tribe

 When fierce conversations turn into high-stakes arguments, it can be important to identify tangible actions that can help resolve the conflict. It is vital that everyone can see both sides of the issue when it is a situation where there are two sides. This will not always be the case, but when possible following through on the idea of “walking in someone else’s shoes” or seeing things from another’s perspective can be helpful. One way to take a conflict and turn it into action is to attend an event or watch a video to gain a better understanding of a different perspective.

An example of this can be seen when two people are arguing the effects of public and private schools. Person 1 thinks public schools are great because their child makes friends of all backgrounds while private schools promote an elitist attitude. Person 2 thinks private schools are wonderful because the teacher focuses on their child while public school teachers cannot expend the energy to focus on just one of their thirty-five students. Person 1 could go with Person 2 to a festival at the private school to see what great things are happening there. Person 2 could attend a band concert at the public school with Person 1. By seeing both sides of the issue, they could diffuse the argument and have steps to move forward.

This may be an unrealistic scenario, as experience sharing is not always something people are open to, but it is important to encourage others to get out of their comfort zone because that is how our perspective grows. Also, remember that a myriad of organizations have resources and training devoted to the promotion of diversity and inclusion. Using these organizations to move past an argument is also be an excellent idea.

4. Call people in instead of calling people out

Establishing a culture among your tribe of calling people in as opposed to calling someone out for contradictory or counterproductive behavior will translate beyond politics for the health of friendships. While the goal of calling people out is to get them to change their behavior, it also often results in hurt feelings. Calling people in has the same goal but is done in a more compassionate way that involves letting a person know that they said something hurtful or misinformed and walking with them through how to correct what happened or improve for the future. It involves one-on-one education and conversation and assumes that the person had the best intention.

5. Make “politics free” time with your tribe

Regardless of how frequently or infrequently your tribe discusses politics, it is important to dedicate time away from such issues to connect beyond them. We are stuck in a 24-hour news cycle and social media stream (or fire hose, as it feels) that we all need time away from. We must take time to care for ourselves and each other, so we can go back to fighting the good fight in our communities every day.

We are better together

Taken together, these tips may help you to navigate the murky waters found when friendship and politics mix. We are stronger together than divided, even when our opinions differ, and together we can bring change for all. We will have moments where we must agree to disagree with members of our tribe. This is not a disservice to ourselves, nor a dismissal of individual ideas. Instead, it is an agreement that the friendship is more important than conflict. Ultimately, having confidence in your voice and opinion, coupled with a willingness to engage in fierce conversations, will help you to say what you need to say when you need to say it.

What have you found to be useful in conversations about politics with your tribe? Was there something you wish you’d done better? Do you have an additional tip? Please leave them in the comments below!

Tribe Stories: Reflection, A Daughter’s Story

We hear so many wonderful Tribe Stories from women all over the world and do our best to capture and bring them to you. They are a path to connection and feeling seen, heard, and felt by others. While we love the recorded stories we are able to share on the Tribe Talk podcast, the written stories are equally powerful. Especially when the words and story are coming from the heart of the author herself.

I was so fortunate to meet Constance Anne. She is an ageless beauty with an undeniable presence that speaks with an honesty that only a life-well-lived and loved can support.  When she learned that we collect Tribe Stories, she said, “I have one for you.” And now, in her words, we have it to share with you.

Love, Amy

Is that you?

It was such an unexpected surprise seeing mom today. It literally took my breath. Hers too it seemed.  We gazed at each other… taking in the moment, a mixed sense of wonderment and disbelief reflected in our faces.  It has been a little over 12 years since I last saw her, the last time I ever expected to see her, and yet … here she was, looking at me… staring at me.  Her hair, wisps of silver-grey, wildly dancing among the dark waves and soft curls; her eyes, bright… enveloped in gentle folds and creases, reflective of the passing of time; fine laugh lines giving the appearance of a shy smile…  her face, freckled from the sun.    

I guess it was the dress she was wearing that had caught my attention… had me suddenly see her as I turned around.  It was the familiarity of it; a princess cut, collared, turquoise in color… it was not unlike her self-styled work uniform.  Mom was a nurse, a ‘Sister. She worked for years running a small, on-site clinic at one of the big manufacturing companies in South Africa.  I think she liked that particular dress style, not only for its simplicity but because it gave shape to her slightly larger size.  Mom had always been pleasantly plump… ‘more of me to love’ she would say, each time she gathered me in for a hug.  But she was never entirely comfortable with her weight; her love of food, desserts in particular… a constant nemesis.  It would seem the sweetness and lure of sugar has become my nemesis too… gone are the days where my youth and active metabolism wage war on everything and anything I choose to eat.

Mom, is that you?  Where did you come from?  What are you doing here?   I reached out… our fingers touched briefly, and in that moment reality regained order.  The glass was cold, hard, the room small, the lighting soft. I blinked… the mind reconfigured.  I was in the dressing room of a favorite clothing store; the particular dress being tried on, the fall of the fabric, the way it looked, the way it fit my burgeoning, aging body, its color, and its style perhaps the trigger.  It was me… I was looking in a mirror at a reflection of myself… but it was mom who stood before me.  How did this happen?  How could this be. I’m my mother’s daughter… not my mother!  Where did time go … how is this possible?  A collision of emotions welled; disappointment, regret, sadness… not so much in the sense that the likeness I saw was that of mom, but rather that is was only a likeness, and in fact not her… only me growing older.  In that singular moment of realization, incongruent feelings of warmth and joy enveloped too; perhaps the comfort of her seeming presence, a realization that she was not gone from this world entirely; I carried her within me… everyday… and the older I got, the more visible that essence of her materialized.   

A hint of jubilance

My mother passed away May 13, 2005.  She was a beautiful woman, inside and out… her nature, gentle and kind… her presentation of self, shy.  She had wisdom beyond her years, her time even.  I long for her stories, her 20 page letters sharing news of life in Africa; family goings-on, dad’s funny escapades, commentary on the ever-changing political landscape… her perceptive, unfiltered, perspective on life. I miss the unconditional love bestowed, the careful counsel imparted; even in her strictest lessons taught, she was always an inspiration to me.  My mother was not perfect by any means, but she was and remains my most significant touchstone, my ultimate measure of a genuinely good person.  I am today the age mom was the year I left South Africa… she gave shape to my character and flight to my dreams… and for that I will forever be grateful.  I loved her deeply, I miss her terribly, still.

The dress being tried, while pretty, was not well suited for me.  Not yet anyway.  I carefully placed it back on its hanger, gathered my things and left the change room, glancing back at the mirror as I stepped out.  She was gone… her image replaced with a likeness more like my own… hair pulled back, no makeup, a little tired looking perhaps, but eyes still bright… with a hint of jubilance.

The first day of the rest of my life

Jubilance, because today was the last day of my radiation treatment.  Finding a new outfit to wear for a celebratory date with my darling husband is how I found myself to be in that dressing room.  Since my initial diagnosis, and as I have traveled the road to recovery, I have received amazing support; from him, from my family and several close and dear friends… they have been my strength, my stamina. I must admit though, there have been times during the last several weeks that I have withdrawn… shut life out, isolated myself and my mind to a quiet space, a place to reflect and to process the wild assortment of emotions that at times have overwhelmed.  It has been in these quiet moments that I most longed for my mom. 

My mind turned wistful as I left the store; perhaps she knew, perhaps it is why she came to me today… to celebrate with me as I step into the future… to let me see that she too has been by my side on this journey and will, in her way, always be with me… and to remind me, that despite the ups and downs of life, growing older is better than the alternative.   

Today, October 13, 2017, was the last day of my radiation treatment for breast cancer… and the first day of the rest of my life.  It is a day I will long remember.  Not only for the journey just completed, but because today, as it so happens, is also Mom’s birthday.  If still with us, she would be celebrating 91 years of age.  

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Constance Anne

Tribe Stories

Thank you, Constance Anne, for your story of the power our tribe of women has in our lives. If you would like to help support breast cancer research and awareness, Constance Anne shared that her local Susan G. Komen affiliate was incredibly supportive in her journey. You can donate to Komen, or find your local affiliate at https://ww5.komen.org/Affiliates.aspx

Do you have Tribe Stories to share? Email us at info@tribeofwomen.modthink.net and put “Tribe Stories” in the subject line.

Being Boss: i’mindful Bringing Boss Ladies Together

“A great way to bring women together and create a space for empowerment, learning, and support.” ~ Jay Amargos

We are thrilled to announce our partnership with i’mindful Studio and their Boss Lady Mixer quarterly event hosted at their location in Bentonville, AR. We attended in the event August and knew that we wanted to help support this networking mixer for driven boss ladies in Northwest Arkansas.

The next event on November 18th features Boss Lady, Loria Oliver, founder of Tot Tote, speaking about her journey and encouraging women to be the boss lady they aspire to be. We look forward to talking with her and future featured speakers. We’ll be collecting Tribe Stories from presenters and attendees experiencing all stages of life so we can share them with YOU throughout the year!

We had the privilege to sit down with i’mindful’s boss lady herself, Jay Amargos, to do a short interview on the purpose and background of how i’mindful got started and her Boss Lady inspiration.

Passion With a Purpose

Jay’s meditation practice began in 2006 after being diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety. Ever since this diagnosis, Jay has valued and developed her relationship with self-care, mental health, and self-acceptance. She formed i’mindful to establish and inspire this lifestyle in others.

i’mindful focuses on the individual human’s well being, meditation, and mental health in order to promote living out a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally. Their in-studio and on-site classes offer people in the community the benefits of mindfulness, nutrition, and yoga meditation.

“In 2012 I was diagnosed with Lupus in my nervous system and Fibromyalgia. I did not want to take a passive approach to my illness and did not want to take drugs to ease my pain. I started looking for natural ways to help me cope with my pain and better my quality of life. Throughout my research, I came across Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). MBSR was developed in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD. After endless MBSR courses, training, and research, I had found something amazing that would improve my quality of life forever. As I experienced the many benefits of Mindfulness, I started to become excited about teaching this to others. In 2015 I decided I needed to share my practice and in April 2016, i’mindful was born.”

Health Benefits of Mindfulness

Jay had the opportunity to share with us some of the key struggles people face in life that can be helped by practicing mindfulness.

“Mindfulness has been proven to be effective in helping to treat, along with medical and psychological treatments, people who suffer from many challenges, including:

  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety & depression
  • Cancer & chronic disease
  • Work, family and emotional stress
  • Eating disturbances
  • Heart disease
  • Sleeplessness

There are over 40 decades of research showing how mindfulness is helping with treatment and showing people how to live a better life.” 

Mindfulness is the basis of i’mindful because Jay saw the value in her life to practice a healthy lifestyle and had a passion and drive to bring the wisdom she has learned from her experiences to the people around her.

Women Supporting Women

Jay’s three biggest passions are:

  1. Teaching mindfulness 
  2. Developing, empowering and mentoring
  3. Cooking

“I have always had mentors, advisors, people empowering me. It’s now my turn to do the same for others.” And this was a way for her to tribe it forward to others.

This exciting event brings women from different sectors together to network and learn and support one another. We believe that there is nothing more empowering than women supporting women. Jay’s philosophy when it comes to women is: “Collaborate don’t compete. Support don’t tear down. Empower don’t restrict.” Why Do You Believe in Tribes of Women?

“Because your tribe will get you through your toughest times in life. Throughout my experience, I have learned that it is so much more difficult to go through it all alone. We all need a tribe!”

Connecting women to empower and support one another, and help evolve each other’s lives for the better. Do you see why we love Jay and are so gung-ho to partner and support the  i’Minful and The Boss Lady Mixer?

We are thrilled to be part of Jay’s journey and support her supporting women. Stay tuned for Boss Lady stories on our blog and Tribe Talk podcast.

In Northwest Arkansas? Tickets are going fast.

Buy them today!

Not in the area or want to know more? Follow i’Mindful or subscribe to Jay’s new podcast “Mental Health & Pie”.

Has mindfulness helped you? Share your mindful journey story with us in the comments!

Gender Harmony: The 2017 World Woman Summit

In the last few years a number of conferences have sprung up around a common theme: bringing women together increases the power of our collective voice. The United State of Women, The S.H.E. Summit, The Women’s Convention, and at the end of this month, the World Woman Summit. Convening in Little Rock, Arkansas at the Clinton Presidential Center on September 3oth, the World Woman Summit will bring women together (with some good men) to discuss key issues facing women across the globe and work to increase “Gender Harmony”. Tribe of Women will be there to hear from leaders from around the world and collect their Tribe Stories. The World Woman Summit is a global stage for raising women’s voices and inspiring people around the world, and we look forward to sharing the learning and wisdom we gather.

Who Will Be There?

We look forward to sharing the stories of women and men from around the globe during and after the summit. We are fortunate to already have relationships with a few of these amazing women who have supported and helped grow Tribe of Women. We’re thrilled to be able to be supporting them right back and are proud of their accomplishments and journeys to this global stage.

Holly Fish, founder of Women in Networking, will be giving incredible advice on accelerated networking. A few of Holly’s accomplishments are winning the Women in Business Champion of the year award along with being voted one of the most powerful women in Arkansas by AY magazine for her impact through her volunteer efforts. She has been an integral part of our Tribe from the beginning and we are excited for her to share her light with others. 

Sandy Wright will be moderating the panel discussing “Violence Against Women” during the Summit. Sandy’s personal experiences of domestic violence and abuse led her to form the Brave Woman organization. Sandy aims to help people throughout the country lift up the voices of survivors to help overcome their past and to push people towards a future of freedom. We’re also pleased to announce that she is our featured interview on the TribeTalk podcast in October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Lynette Watts was executive director of the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas for 6 years and an advocate for women everywhere throughout her career. She has cheered and supported the women of Arkansas and beyond with her passion and leadership for decades and will be presenting the opening remarks for the conference. We are honored to have these women in our lives and see them speaking and impacting the lives of others while continuing their work of awareness, encouragement, education, and inspiration for women around the world.

Why a Summit? 

The World Woman Summit grew out of the World Woman Foundation, a movement started in 2013. The co-founder and CEO, Rupa Dash holds this conference every year to discuss the influence on global issues and hold a global mentorship program for Women in Film. We have been fans of Rupa’s for a long time and were happy to catch up with her before the summit to gain insight on the World Woman Summit and what people can expect.

The World Woman Summit is a “global conversation aimed to get people informed, inspired and ready to impact the world in a positive way.” 

One of the expressed goals of the Summit is to bring a diverse group of women and men together in a place that has both global and local impact. Rupa mentioned how this event is “intended to help bridge the socio-economic inequalities and provide direct engagement in the World Woman Foundation Global Leadership Institute.” The World Woman’s Foundation will also “provide a framework for Gender Harmony ™ which will be a new pathway for co-creating a better world together by accelerating women’s leadership for increased economic sustainability” that attendees can take back to their communities and begin implementing. 

Networking and connecting with other attendees and speakers will be a critical part of the summit as well. In her career, Rupa has seen a need for partnerships to be “more organic and natural” in order for groups to come together and create a better world. She emphasizes the importance and collaboration with women supporting women and is looking forward to seeing women in all stages of life come together and work to address the issues of Economic Development, Social Entrepreneurship, Global Health Equity, and Violence Against Women discussed throughout the Summit. It is important for women to break the cycles of struggle in their life and move forward with confidence.

Bringing the World to You

While at the World Woman Summit, Tribe of Women is looking forward to connecting with people from all over the globe who want to support women. We will collect interviews from conference speakers and attendees to share with you as these women lift up one voice to society and say, “We are here and we stand together!” 

Want to learn more about the World Woman Foundation and the World Woman Summit? Check out their website and social media for more information. Will you be at the Summit? We’d love to meet you! Let us know in the comments below.

Tribe Talk: Brittany Galla, Editorial Director of ‘Teen Boss’ Magazine

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In this episode, we are bringing you some conversation with two women who are inspired by our newest generation of change-makers – Generation Z. [/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/6″][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”2/3″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/6″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]

Gen Z Sees No Limit to Their Options

Brittany Galla, Editorial Director for Teen Boss Magazine (published by Bauer Media) tells us why she considers herself a “Lifelong Teen” and how she’s inspired by Gen-Z. In a conversation with Amy Robinson and Courtney Lawless, she describes how initial conversations with teens and tweens that were held in small groups and large led to the publication of Teen Boss Magazine.

Hint: It’s not just lipgloss and boy bands.

When we were young, we all wanted to be the same things when we grew up – a teacher, a nurse, a fashion model… but girls today are watching Shark Tank  and selling their handmade crafts during lunch hour at their middle school. They’re not just planning to be entrepreneurs – they already are.

Teen Boss is on the shelf across the United States and Canada in bookstores and larger grocery stores. If you don’t see it, be sure to ask for it!

Tribe Tip: Listen to Gen Z

EA Chica Strong Girls Womens ClothingIn this episode’s Tribe Tip segment, we chatted with Kym Rodda of Ea Chica. We are super excited how perfectly her “fashion line with a purpose” aligns with the Tribe of Women mission, but aimed at girls and young women.

Kym was a teacher for almost twenty years and has two tween and teen daughters of her own. She knew she had a heart for helping teen girls, and wanted to make a positive impact by helping girls build and maintain their own confidence and inner strength. Like Brittany, she launched her brand after being inspired by teen girls.

We LOVE that Brittany and Kym are working with the Gen Z demographic to create tools they can use to be successful – not telling them how to be successful. They are outstanding examples of our mantra: Tribe it Forward!!

Did anything else stand out to you in this episode? Check out the list below of other fun things we referenced in the podcast![/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/6″][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]

Find Teen Boss on Social Media:



Find EA Chica Online:

Ea Chica’s Website

Ea Chica on Facebook

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Tribe Talk Podcast – Who Are These Ladies & Why Should I “Tribe Talk” With Them?

Our first two podcast episodes are ready for you to listen and we look forward to your feedback! We thought you may be wondering – who are these ladies and why would I want to “tribe talk” with them? So, we took a unique approach to launching our podcast and started with our “Origin Story”. 

Episode 1 – Who Believes in Tribes of Women?

In Episode 1, tribe teammate Laurie Marshall interviews founder Amy Robinson about how (and why) Tribe of Women came to be. Amy tells us about how she was inspired to take a stand against the acceptance of “mean girl” culture and dared imagine a world where all women support each other. Her story takes us from her early career and through corporate culture to her entrepreneurial journey that took her to Pakistan where she met the women that would help her test her theory that women supporting one another makes a difference in our individual lives, and the world. She took the TEDx stage soon after, declaring “I believe in tribes of women.” She thought she was preaching to the choir and that life could go back to “normal” afterward,  but when she stepped off the stage she discovered that, not only was there a call for a movement, those asking for it were the last she expected.

Episode 2 – The Making of a Movement

Episode 2 is Part 2 of the Tribe of Women “origin story”, where Amy and Laurie discuss the winding road of starting a movement and how she was compelled to take on the role of “leader”. They talk about how the merging of “my tribe, your tribe, and the tribe” makes us stronger, and the evolution of a Tribe Talk conversation through Amy’s year of listening. They cover the fundamentals of the “3 Pillars of Tribe” – I see you. I hear you. I feel you – and what it mean when we say we are addressing “Mean Girl Culture”. And why are “More Good Men” part of a movement about women supporting women? Finally, they share where Tribe of Women is now and ways to be part of THE Tribe on the journey to “what’s next.”BANNER TRIBE TALKPODCAST LOGO | TribeofWomen.com

Both episodes are full of great conversation AND resources! These two episodes reference, TEDx Talk “I believe in tribes of women” by Amy Robinson, Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott, Tribes by Seth Godin, and Mending the Sisterhood by Susan Skog. 

What’s Up Next!?

So, guess who our Episode 3 and first interview guest will be? Tribe Talk will feature the one and only Karenann Terrell, CIO of Wal-Mart, on February 14th! She shares her experience, wisdom and what it means to stand on and be the shoulders for other women to stand. What a way to celebrate the day of love. We LOVE our tribe!

Be In The Know

Be the first to hear about upcoming podcast guests when you Join THE Tribe and our newsletter! You’ll also learn about events and have access to specials around our product releases and give-aways.

If YOU Believe in Tribes of Women

Have you already listened to Tribe Talk? Share your comments here. Did you love it? Subscribe, comment, and rate the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict or any other major platform and share with your tribe.

We’re so happy to be able to share the collective wisdom of the tribe through this podcast. We believe in tribes of women, and we’re so thankful that you believe too!

Tribe Stories – When Less IS The More We Seek

As the first days of the new year have us pushing ourselves to do more, stretch further, and grow bigger, consider that sometimes less IS the more that we seek. Today’s wisdom of women and “Tribe Stories” contribution comes from our friend, Hannah, who wrote these words and told us we could share them with you. Thank you, Hannah, for sharing your story. Thank you, Tribe, for listening.

girls-writingDear 2016

Thanks in advance for indulging my long-winded stream of thought. I’m sure you’re completely overwhelmed by many people who are yelling at you right now. So I’ll try and keep it short and polite.
Here’s what I’ve taken away from you, and resolve to learn from and do better with after you’re gone:
I’ll be focusing on a smaller group of people I love dearly to give to. I’ve learned from you that I don’t have to give to everyone. Only those who appreciate it or can give back.
I won’t be giving myself away for free. My heart, my knowledge, and my experience is valuable. And it’s ok for me to ask other people to value that as well. And I’ll learn to value it, too. There are people out there who want those things at too great a cost for me, and too little a price for them. And those things are just not for the taking anymore.
I won’t be underestimating kindness or compassion. They’ll never be out of style or overrated. And I’ll continue to lead by example when I can afford to give those things.
I’ll be spending more time getting freckles on my nose in the sun, and letting my feet get wet in rain puddles. I’ll quit stressing about our lawn being overgrown, and try to keep my flowers watered. I’ll scratch our dog in all the right places that make his foot tap.
I’m going to try and be present for this beautiful tribe of people we have. And always be on call for them when they’re in need. As they have for me.
And I’m waiting for my cue from the universe to stand on the front lines of a revolution, the revolt against hate and thoughtlessness and quick reaction. I’ll be punching my fist in the air to fight for fairness, democracy, and kindness. Because that’s the life I’ve chosen for my family. And my son has a whole life ahead of him. And that’s the lesson I want him to take away from me.
carousel-hand-holdingI’m going to try and stop balancing my life. I’m going to just ride this carousel of crazy filled with people and things I love, music that makes me dance, and events and volunteer positions that fill my soul. Even if this adventure kills me. Because I built this Merry-go-round. And I like it this way. Even if I can’t find clean socks and the kitchen remodel never gets finished. I’d rather die knowing I did the things that were important to me and fill the chapters of my book with stories that others want to read.
So, it’s been fun, 2016. And it’s time for you to head on out. You can take your meanies, miscommunications, complicated fixes to seemingly easy problems, and I’m going to build on bonfires with new friends, asking for what I need, skipping laundry if I don’t want to do it, diving in head first on gut instincts, and fighting for what I believe in.
Thanks so much,

Thank YOU, Hannah.

We love to hear from the tribe. Share your Tribe Stories at http://www.arrobinson.com/tribe-stories/

Tribe on!

Trusting Your Inner Voice – How Do You Find It? Why Should You Use It?

Speaking Up

Flashback to a conference room table. Seven men, two women sitting side-by-side, and a presenter are gathered as a professional peer group. Introductions are being made by the leader of the group. He starts with the man next to him, says his name, his company, and what he does. He then proceeds to the first woman, says her name, that she is the girlfriend and better half of her boyfriend, and moves on to the next woman to introduce her as the better half of her husband. He moves on through the rest of the group, introducing each man and including their company and skill-set.

The second woman is older and more experienced, and the introductions of her colleagues is starting to be drowned out by the blood rushing to her ears and her inner voice is saying, “This is wrong.” while the voice of doubt chimes in, “Maybe I heard that wrong or am overreacting.” supporting the voice of society whispering, “I don’t want to sound bitchy.”

Things come back around to the group leader who is preparing to have the presenter speak. “Excuse me.” says the older woman. “I’d like to take just a moment to make sure our presenter has the same background information about everyone at the table.” The ocean sound in her head has cleared with only one voice remaining. She proceeds to share the professional profile of the young woman next to her as well as her own. When she’s done, she smiles, says thank you, and gestures to proceed. No anger, no fist pounding, no name calling. It just needed to be done.

Afterward, the older woman is talking to a male colleague from the group and asks if he noticed the skewed introductions. Nope. Again, the heat rises in her ears in a combination of disbelief, frustration, and anger. Maybe she should have been more forceful, more obvious, and more blatant so that the oversight and correction would be noticed! But someone did notice.

Giving Back

Flash forward to six months after the meeting, the young woman asks the older woman to coffee. They know one another better now, and consider themselves to be friends. The coffee is casual, but the younger woman seems to have something specific she wants to talk about. “Do you remember that meeting?” she asks, describing the day of the sexist introductions. “I couldn’t believe it was happening. I questioned my own sanity and didn’t know what to say or do.  And then you spoke up for us. It woke me up to what happens to women every day, that what I’m experiencing IS real, as well as what I can do about it. I can speak up for myself, and others. Gracefully. Tactfully. But definitely, and without apology.” So, while the older woman was fuming over the fact that the men in the room had not noticed, the person who mattered – who would go forward, listen to her own inner voice from that point forward, affect change, and do the same for others – did.

Woman thinking about love and standing with blackboard behind herOne of thousands

This is one of thousands of stories women experience every day. Opportunities to support other women. Our colleagues, our friends, our daughters of birth or of our heart. Sometimes they are as unconscious as how you conduct yourself. Other times, they are as intentional as reaching out and lifting up through mentoring, volunteering, advocating, or having a work-place strategy like the women of the White House. They all start with trusting your own inner voice, then navigating the jungle of doubt, judgement, and crazy makers to use that voice in speaking up for ourselves and others.

Let’s Talk!

What have you done or experienced in finding, listening and then acting upon your inner voice? What stories do you have? What wisdom can you share? Speak up! Comment on this post or submit your stories at our website. We’re listening, and we hear you.

Fierce Friends – The Top 3 Goods and Bads of Loyalty

Fierce friends. May we have them, may we be them, and thank goodness for them! When we think of fierce friends, there is usually a lot of finger snapping and “Oh-no-you-didn’t just [fill in the blank] my friend!” that comes to mind. In the context of friendship, fierce (“intense emotion”) goes hand-in-hand with loyalty (“feeling of strong support”). The differences are so subtle, but so important.

r-ashlynne-ivy5The Goods

Fierce friends are great. They are the ones who came to sit by you at lunch on the first day of elementary school, stood by you when you fess up to a lie, stood up for you when you’re wronged, and stood with you when you’re trying to right wrongs. But life is long, and so much happens between elementary school and our attempts at adulthood. Somewhere along the way, there was (or will be) a guy or girl that changes you, a job that challenges you, an illness that tests you, financial hardship that stress you, society that upends you. And they will be there.

During the trying times of life, a friend listening to and standing by us can be the difference between surviving and thriving. Someone firmly rooted by our side, with dagger eyes for anyone who dares to come near us in a moment of weakness, or echoing our indignant cries loudly along side us at a time of outrage, can bolster and inspire the very core of our being. The “goods” of this are the tenants of deep and lasting friendships:

  1. Affirmation: We’re okay. We’re “normal”. We’re not (entirely) crazy. There are things that happen to all of us.
  2. Support: We’re not alone. We don’t have to be all things to all people. We don’t have to be strong all of the time.
  3. Bonding: We’re connected through common experiences, or, simply, the willingness of another to empathize and (at least try to) understand.

The Not-So Goods

Bad boy/girlfriends or divorce, job loss, death, kid-raisin’, mean-girl dealin’… We will all experience some of this, in some form, and we all need that tribe that will yell, cry, laugh and endure with us through it. But, what about when we don’t exactly agree with what’s happening? What if our friend is the one who cheated on her spouse? Is always late for work? Is not seeking alcohol/substance abuse help, or taking responsibility?

ww-hell-noThe “bads” of unwavering loyalty are when our fierceness lacks honesty and boundaries. Otherwise, we risk:

  1. Self-sacrifice: Giving too much of ourselves and not leaving enough to sustain our own needs or priorities will suck us dry.
  2. Values misalignment: If we go too much against our own compass, it will eventually catch up with us and implode in resentment.
  3. Enabling: Too much understanding or agreement can perpetuate a problem and burn you out in the process.

This is where that fierce finger, may need to be pointing our friend in a different direction and could put our loyalty into question. But sometimes boundaries are the truest form of love and loyalty for ourselves and for others. So, when our “intense emotion” and “feeling of strong support” is best expressed by creating boundaries, will they understand? Will we, when it’s done in return? If we are truly fierce friends… Aw HELL yes.

Author, Amy Reeves Robinson, is the Founder of Tribe of Women



The Healthy Habits of Tribe – What Are They & Why Do We Need Them?

Imagine a point in time – a day, a night, a weekend, a single moment – when everything is just as it should be. Everyone and everything you need and want surrounds you. There is love, laughter, security, and peace. Close your eyes. Do you see it? Do you feel it? What does it smell like? What is the temperature? Are you inside or outside? Now, who is there? Look around. What faces do you see? What are they doing? What are their expressions saying to you? Who are they in your life?

Igolu Cycle One Certification, AZ 2015
Igolu Cycle One Certification, AZ 2015

This is a sampling of a visioning exercise from Igolu, an intention based program and part of a larger body of work to explore personal legacy and goals by remembering your best self and living toward it. Chances are that your tribe of women is there as part of your vision of your best self, and in that ideal vision they “are my forward movement when I can’t face the day and my respite when I’ve run too far, too fast.”

Who are these women in your best self vision? How do you cultivate them? How do you maintain the health of your tribe? We had the privilege of coming across a post of a women’s circle on Instagram. We were captivated. “Yes! This is how you tribe.” We contacted Sarah Peck who took the picture, and she shared that it was from a Thousand Network women’s retreat they designed . “The theme was replenish + restore and we all came together for rejuvenation.” wrote Sarah.

Thousand Network Retreat & Women's Circle
Thousand Network Retreat & Women’s Circle

Sarah gave us permission to use and share the photo with you to inspire you to share your “healthy habits of tribe”. Is it a regular phone call? A yearly gathering? Attending conferences? Weekly yoga, happy hour, walk in the park, or dinner? Do you learn together? Get active together? Or simply be together?

Tell us your story! Share your healthy habits of tribe in the comments below, on Facebook, or submit a full story at Your Stories. Have some great pictures send them to info@tribeofwomen.modthink.net or tag us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. This is how we tribe!