If I had to sit down and write out my skill-set for my resume, the thing that I am most proud of is my ability to connect and network. I don't identify as an extrovert, nor am I an introvert - I do thrive on interpersonal connections, but I'm quite selective in how I build my tribe.
Sometimes in life, you just need a support network so I'm going to share a few stories with you about how I have built my own "villages" and how I build my network.
Finding a parenting tribe
Back when my children were very young, Facebook was brand spanking new. Internet forums were all the rage, and most of us still connected by phone!
My parenting model has been gentle and respectful to my children, and I found that I didn't fit into my council assigned mother's group, who seemed very focused on routines, crying strategies, and getting their babes to sleep through the night.
As someone with a more or less breast-attached baby I needed a nurturing environment of people who encouraged and enabled my parenting style. So I did a few things:
- I started a blog
- I networked with other bloggers
- I started a Facebook page
- And I began chatting to people who associated in similar circles - I connected with doulas, and other attachment parents, and "baby wearers" and folks who used cloth diapers on their kiddies.
This was nearly 9 years ago now, and I have since sold my blog and facebook page to another amazing mama, and moved on in my life.
The friends I made in that time have mostly remained in my life - some of them are my closest, most dear friends. Some have taken entirely different journeys, some are still having babies.
My Entrepreneurial Network
Soon after I had babies, I started my career as a work at home mum. I started what was one of the first sites for Work at home mothers in Australia - and that has grown into something entirely different now. Back in the day, we had over 1000 members who networked, chatted, and learnt from one another.
I produced webinars and seminars, and even ran events.
I wrote blog posts, and provided as much value to my tribe as I could. Again, some of the women I met in WAHM Network Australia have become my lifelong friends.
Educating my Kids
The next phase of my life was educating my children. From very early on we knew that we would home educate. It's what suits our lifestyle and it's what suits our way of doing things.
- Again, I'm picky about what fits in my model! So I created an unschooling page for families in Perth, where I lived at the time.
- I networked around in other educational forums, seeking out other unschoolers, seeking out other families who might have common interests.
Supporting My Fitness Goals
Recently I moved my entire family across the country to a new state. At the same time I started my newest fitness journey.
To begin with I joined a Facebook group with who I thought would be supportive, wonderful, inspiring women, and for a short while that facebook group was exactly what my networking soul needed.
I made fast friends, by being myself, and chatting and being occasionally ferocious.
My ferocity sometimes gets me into trouble - and saw me unceremoniously booted out of the group without warning. This also took away my entire friendship network.
So to find my tribe this time around I took a similar approach to networking.
- I started to blog about fitness and body image
- I built my Facebook network
- And I connected with anyone that I felt I had something in common with.
- I talk in places where I feel loved and supported, and I do my best every day to make others feel loved and supported.
Basically if there is one take-away message from this post - proactively dig your well before you're thirsty.