How to build a tribe of supportive women as a working woman

It takes a village. Not just to raise a child, but to live our best lives as women. It’s challenging to be truly successful alone, if possible at all. As much opposition that there seems to be among women, in and outside of the workplace, the truth is, we need each other to be fully flourishing and successful, whatever our definition of success is. As working women, we do need a tribe of supportive women to surround and accompany us on our personal and professional journeys.

As the proverbial independent woman, I was taught that you can accomplish success alone. However, the more I was around other powerful and strong women in their own right, the more I realized that our impact is not diminished but rather multiplied when we’re in the right tribe of women.

Yet, it can be challenging to find the right tribe for us, especially considering the barriers and obstacles imposed on women in and outside of work. From the “Queen Bee” syndrome, which mandates that only one woman can hold the power in a given organization, to the many false stereotypes and preconceptions about women being unable to collaborate and work together, there are indeed many challenges. This is not about being part of a clique or exclusive group of women reminiscent of high school. Rather, it’s about building an empowering circle whose main goal is to help the women in it maximize their potential and fulfill their God-given purpose.

Through my discussions with my women friends and many working women around me, and by experiencing myself the power of being part of a tribe of supportive women, I learnt about what it takes to build it for ourselves. If like me, you’re always looking to build or strengthen a tribe of supportive women around you, these pointers may help:

  • Work on yourself first

Any relationship you may have starts with you! Before even thinking of entering or building a tribe, you must first consider working on yourself. You can’t pour out of an empty cup, neither can you be a full part of any relationship unless you are full yourself! When I say full, I mean filled with your own authenticity, purpose and worth. This is not to say that you must be perfect, no one is. However, you must work on yourself to clean up any mental or spiritual clutter that may affect your relationships with other women, and be accepting of yourself so you in turn can accept others.

One recurring message I heard throughout my youth is that you cannot trust other women. As a result, I grew more distrustful of my peers, which created a block in my relationships with other women for a long time. It took self-exploration and self-work to understand these mental patterns, and eradicate them from my mind. It also took working on my self-esteem and self-worth in order to accept myself as I am, so I in turn could be more accepting of others.

  • Look for leadership characteristics

Building or strengthening a tribe of strong and powerful women requires certain leadership characteristics in all parties involved. You cannot build strong relationships based on weak character. This is the reason why relationships and friendships are so crucial, as they mirror who we are and help us develop into the people we need to be in order to have healthy and fruitful interactions.

This is also why it’s so important to look for leadership characteristics in your fellow tribe sisters. The goal here is to empower each other, so we must all do the work on ourselves. Unfortunately, we also all have seasons during which we may not be a right fit for each other, and it’s ok.

  • Be open-minded

Very often, we miss out on wonderful connections and relationships because we’re not open-minded enough. A tribe of supportive women is made out of all different women with different tastes, likes, dislikes and abilities. The more open-minded we are, the more we can build fruitful and positive relationships that help us empower and strengthen each other.

The most positive relationships are most often those in which opposites are connected and help strengthen each other through their differences. Be open-minded enough to get to know women who do not look like you, do not move or think like you. You may find out that there is such a wealth of perspectives, knowledge and wisdom to be found around us.

  • Don’t be afraid to walk away from relationships that don’t fit

Building a tribe of supportive women also means knowing when to walk away from interactions that are simply not the right fit for us. This is not to condemn anyone, or cast a judgment upon anyone. The reality is we all need to work on different areas of our lives. As we go through different seasons, we must also realize that some relationships and connections, and by extension some tribes, are just for us. We must also muster the courage to walk away from these and seek the tribes that are truly for us.

There’s always some level of guilt associated with walking away from certain relationships. However, it doesn’t have to be a conflicting situation. Rather, it can simply be a peaceful understanding that it may be better to explore other relationships for the time being.

  • Support, not competition!

The point here is to foster a supportive, not a competitive community. Unfortunately, we’ve been conditioned as women to compete against each other, as we were made to believe that there is only room for one of us at a time. This is one of the greatest fallacies of time, which seeks to pin women against each other, and thus diminish our influence and impact.

Instead, seek to build a tribe that is focused on supporting each woman reach their potential and accomplish their purpose.

  • Honesty is key

Honesty is crucial when it comes to building such a tribe. Often, in attempts to protect others or ourselves, we shy away from being our most transparent selves. A solid tribe of women who support each other is one where honesty is the rule and not the exception. Dare to speak up and confront your fellow sisters when necessary, and establish a foundation of trust.

While certain conversations can be hard to be had, it’s important to get past the initial discomfort to address potential or existing issues. It’s also one of the best ways to get to know your fellow sisters and learn to face challenging situations together.

  • Honor yourself

Last but not least, always honor yourself. Being part of a tribe of women doesn’t mean denying oneself. On the contrary, it’s an act of self-love and communal love that says: “I value myself enough to surround myself with strong, supportive women whom I support and who support me in achieving my God-given purpose.”

Now your turn: How have you built your own tribe of supportive women?

To Your Success,

The Corporate Sister.

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thecorporatesister

Helping #women maximize their potential at work and in life to unleash their purpose and live life on their own terms.