Now is the perfect time to reconnect with your tribe.

I love the word tribe.  There is no other word quite like it. It’s stronger than the words family or friends. Which are vanilla descriptions. The word tribe has energy, magnetism and exclusivity. And if you want to accomplish great things, you better first find your tribe. Because it is a tough go on your own. Just ask David Coverdale.

What Is A Tribe?

A tribe refers to a distinctive, close-knit group. The distinctiveness is often clearly established and easy to articulate. You grew up together. You are sorority sisters. You are family members. You were teammates, bandmates, playmates or primates.

Hit Squad
The Hanover High School Hit Squad. So tough. So young. So tan.

However, the close-knit-ness of a tribe is complicated. It isn’t automatic. Just because you were classmates or roommates doesn’t mean you were close. Which begs the question, How do members of a tribe become close-knit?

There are a few important factors:

  1. You have meaningful shared experiences.
  2. You have spent significant time together.
  3. You find value in your distinct relationship.
  4. Your common thread is highly important to you.
  5. Members want to remain close to each other.
IMG_7651
College roommates who made it out alive.

Time To Gather

Now, during this period of historic social distancing, is the time to gather your tribe. In the midst of our isolation we could all use more positive and supportive social interactions. Luckily, thanks to modern technology, it is easier than ever to gather your tribe without catching corona-cooties. or violating government ordinances.

IMG_9736
Atlanta neighbors. It’s not a party without a bottle of Pellegrino. 

Here are 2 things you can do right now to bring your tribe together.

1. Create A Tribe Text

It is extremely easy to create a group chat. I have a wide range of chat groups with college track teammates, high school football teammates, my sisters and parents, college roommates, former coworkers (which I always read as cow orkers) and more.

This is a quick and easy way to huddle up your tribe and remind them that they are part of a special group. It sends a message that you value them and want to hear from them. In challenging times it creates an open forum for sharing your feelings.

IMG_3303
Badger track teammates from UW Madison, and alcohol.

These group chats can provide a rapid-fire feed of good news and comedic commentary in good times. And they create a quickly deployable safety net when someone (or everyone) in the tribe is going through tough times and needs support.

2. Create A Video Conference Meetup

There are a multitude of platforms you can use to create a video meetup for your tribe.  I use Zoom, or Google Hangouts. You can also use Webex, Skype and others. Simply invite the members of your tribe to call in at a scheduled time, and show up. Depending on your tribe, you can gather early in the morning, at coffee time, lunch hour, happy hour, or in the evening, Led Zeppelin-style.  Keep an open mind and find what works for you.

IMG_1016 2
Badge-wearing members of my CEO roundtable.

Structure

I like to structure my meetups, whether in person or online, to get the most out of our time together. This involves an introductory routine for everyone to offer their latest updates, usually limited to 1 to 3 minutes per person. Then we move through a discussion of various topics, either predetermined, or group-sourced during the meeting. Each topic discussed has a time limit. Which allows you to spend time discussing several different topics of interest and value to the group.

C9ACD14B-FF5E-4FCA-AED6-5FD5A98ADBA4
My original tribe.

Key Takeaway

Now more than ever, we can all benefit from our tribes. Connecting via group text is easy to do. Yet the results can be profound. Now is a great time to start a video meetup for more meaningful discussions, with real faces. Then continue the meetups online or in person once our social distancing prescription expires. At the end of our days, the only thing that matters is the impact you have on others. And that impact is much needed right now.

IMG_5706
Some of the Albrecht Tribe. #werolldeep

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

The best way to develop stronger relationships.

I recently watched the movie Green Book. The film is about a blue collar caucasian who who becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour through the 1960s American South. You know, the typical Hollywood formula… I enjoyed the movie and recommend it. But the highlight for me was a great quote from Viggo Mortensen’s character that jumped off the screen and sucker punched me in the earhole:

‘The world is full of lonely people afraid to make the first move.’ – Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga,  Green Book

GreenBook

Make The First Move

On a planet of 7.5 billion digitally connected people, none of us should feel lonely. Yet we often do. Most people wish they had more, deeper or more fulfilling personal and professional connections. But we fail to recognize that the easiest way to make this happen is to make the first move.

Make Contact

If you want more or better professional contacts be the one that makes contact. You are the one that should make the first phone call, send the first text, or write the first email. It’s that simple.

Connect

If you want to reconnect with your high school friends, cousins or former co-workers from that place where everyone bonded over the stupid boss, you should do the connecting. Your mobile phone offers at least a dozen ways to make this happen. If you are not weird, and there is no guarantee that you are not, chances are very good that others will be happy to reconnect with you too.

8 Easy Ways To Create New Connections Or Reconnect Old Ones:

  1. Coffee/Chocolate Milk Meetings  You don’t have to drink coffee. I don’t. Heck, you can eat caramels or enjoy them apples. It’s all arbitrary. #namethatfilm
  2. Afterwork Happy Hours  My friend Susan Stearns’ Happy Hour game is super strong. She gets a group of former co-workers together a few times a year. Thanks SS!

    IMG_2927.jpg
    Bar time in Madison at State Street Brats with Badger track guys.
  3. Book Clubs  My friends Betty Garrot and Stacy Sollenberger are both half bookworm, and are in 3 book clubs right now. It’s a great way to facilitate social interactions and improve your bookmarking skills.
  4. Dinner Parties  This is a great way to jumpstart or turbocharge personal relationships. My neighbors Yassir and Ghada are excellent at this.

    IMG_4780
    Ghada (front left) and Yassir (back middle) are great at getting people together.
  5. Video Conference Meetups  I created a monthly video meetup with my college track teammates. It’s now a highlight of my month. On Wisconsin!

    0461dd9f-cfec-43de-8c80-41f8df729864.jpg
    A scene from one of my monthly online track team meetups.
  6. Group Texts  Several of my high school classmates and I have a group text that regularly flares up with jokes. Like it did this week when our classmate Dan Richards was interviewed on NPR. Thanks to Marcus Chioffi for starting that one!
  7. Meeting At A Restaurant or Bar. In a 2-day span this week in Atlanta I met with 10 different people at restaurants: Stephanie Herbst-Lucke, Diana Keough, Theresa and Jabari Pride, Harper Cornell, Nicola Smith, Scott Jenkins, Heather Hudgins, Kim Hoey and Mark O’Brien. I am pretty good at this game. And lucky that people agree to meet me.

    IMG_6085
    This week Scott Jenkins and I made last minute lunch plans across the street from his tiny little Atlanta office (in the background).
  8. Go for a hike or ride. This is a healthy way to multi task. The opposite of #7.

The Golden Age For Human Connections

Never in history have people lived so close together, had such phenomenal resources to facilitate interactions, yet felt so isolated. This is bullshit. And it’s all because most people are longing for someone else to make the first move.

apple applications apps cell phone
These things are like magic wands for facilitating human connections.

Don’t wait for anyone. Be the initiator. Create an alumni group that consists of people from a school, employer, program or organization you enjoyed. Invite people to be part of the group and watch how positively they respond.

Form a group around shared interests. Develop a professional organization of people who do what you do. Be the spark. Be the glue. Heck, be the who dang craft closet that brings the project to life, and see what happens next.

Phone A Friend Friday

I have long considered Fridays, Phone-A-Friend Fridays. So every Friday I contact someone I haven’t talked to in a long time. You can this too. You are sure to surprise and delight someone. All while reducing global loneliness levels.

15BE937E-AE5B-49D5-B149-07BD99EF9742.JPG
My friend Amy Meadows was one of my first Phone A Friend Friday calls.

Key Takeaway

There is nothing more important to your personal and professional happiness than meaningful connections with other humans. Don’t be afraid to make the first call, text or send the first smoke signal. Start today. Because we all get ahead when we get together.

*Please don’t just read this. Do something about it. You can start by sending someone this blog post as an icebreaker. If you send it to me, you will make me laugh, and cause my ice to break.