The Power of the Tribe
“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb
As an endurance athlete I have spent years training alone. Bike, run, swim, weights workouts all designed with specific metrics of power, pace, heart rate, etc. to hit made these training sessions a “party of one” activity. To be honest I didn’t mind it, I got to be by myself, focused only on me, and my goals for the training session. Outside of a few weekly group master’s swim workouts, I would say about 95% of my training for an 8 year span was done alone, and I will admit that even though I actually enjoyed 6 hour solo bike sessions, it was much more fun and motivating when I had a training partner, or partners, with like minded goals and abilities with me. That’s where the tribe comes in.
Some call it a community, some call it a tribe, you can call it whatever you like, the point that I am trying to make is on the importance of linking up with like minded individuals, with like minded goals, that “get” what you are trying to accomplish and are there to support, encourage, and constructively critique you when needed. The power of the “tribe” as one of my good friend’s says is that “the is the collective work of everyone for the good/growth of the community. At any given point the weakest member can become the leader and visa versa, but the tribe always works together to make sure everyone involved is successful”. After years of training alone I found myself unmotivated and honestly a bit lonely, which was a rare feeling for me. I began to search for groups, Cross-Fit gyms, anyone that I could connect with on both a physical and mental level that would be able to push, encourage, and critique me. I NEEDED community, I needed a tribe, and so do you. Here’s why.
- Support & Accountability:
You know those days when you’re tired, sore, etc. and just don’t want to go workout? Those are the days your tribe gives you strength. You walk through the door and learn that many others may feel the same way, but they showed up and so did you. That may be the day you learn a new trick to overcome the soreness and/or mental and physical fatigue. If you know you have a tendency to slack off on your own, knowing that others are depending on you to show up holds you accountable for being there, even if it is just to offer moral support. Just showing up and encouraging your tribe mates could have a huge positive impact on their performance that day, and this is a good example of when you are feeling weak, you show up to for moral support, and you end up becoming the “leader” by emotionally encouraging your friend(s).
I can’t tell you the number of times, if left to my own decision, I would have skipped a training session because I was too tired, too sore, or just didn’t want to do the workout, but because I had training partners counting on me to show up – there’s that accountability piece again – I showed up and got after it. Often times, to my surprise, I would end up having a really great training session because we would challenge each other, tell jokes, and make the “hard work” fun.
Surrounding yourself with like-minded people that share your same interests and goals is paramount to you becoming the best version of yourself possible. This, or any of the aforementioned points don’t have to be sport related. It could be any type of group, club, or community – it doesn’t matter -find YOUR tribe. A lot of people like to give Cross-Fitters a hard time saying they are a cult, and “look at them, they all eat Paleo and talk about WOD times, etc. etc.”. Here’s the deal. Cross-Fit athletes could give a shit about your opinion and/or what you think of them. THEY are excited about what they are doing and THEY are excited about life and about motivating the members of their tribe to be the best they can be. The same can be said for triathletes, OCR athletes, speed walkers, or people who REALLY dig a good book club. As long as it’s feeding your soul and helping you become better and returning the favor, keep doing it. No one else needs to understand and you surely don’t have to defend or justify yourself or your goals to anyone that doesn’t understand.
In closing I will tell you this: in all my years as an athlete I have never ran, biked, or swam faster, nor have I lifted more weight, done a few more reps, and therefore pushed beyond my perceived “limits” than I have than when I have been surrounded by my tribe on that day. As such I have become stronger. I have been able to lift up and encourage my friends to do the same. We have all grown stronger mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially, and THAT my friends is the power and the importance of the tribe.
If you live in the Dallas/Ft Worth area and need a tribe to train, and do life with, check out www.linkendurance.comand join us for one or more of our group sessions.