The Brilliant Tribe

How to avoid burnout by building a tribe
May 26, 2021 Updated: May 27, 2021

The human body’s sophisticated response to stress is nothing short of a miracle. But the reality is that we overachiever stress junkies spend quite a bit of time being “plugged in” and in fight-or-flight mode, maneuvering strategically between one highly pressurized situation to the next. It’s like a time bomb.

Most people have heard of the fight-or-flight response. To put it clinically, fight-or-flight is the way your brain perceives, your nervous system activates, and your adrenal stress system prepares your body to react to incoming danger or threats. However, this multi-system response to grave danger is also the same group of reactions that manage your day-to-day encounters with high stress.

While our bodies are meant to react to perceived stress on occasion, they’re clearly not capable of withstanding longer periods of fight-or-flight without going through some sort of breakdown.

This elaborate “stress response”—with multiple internal alarms going off—typically occurs on a regular basis throughout the day for most women. This constant state of activation and overstimulation requires continuous effort in order to preserve and restore your adrenal glands. This is incredibly taxing on them, causing their entire system to become sluggish.

So here is where the TRIBE comes in to save the day!

Do you have people close to you in your life who “see you?” Do you have a few people who will call you out and set you straight, love you no matter what, and be there for you when you can’t go one more step?

Do you have friends who have your back when you can’t pull your load, will provide for you when you can’t do so for yourself, will prop you up, will defend you, go to bat for you, or cry with you whenever you need it? Do you have someone you can call at the last moment to go out and just laugh with them? You should. You need a tribe that “sees you” exactly as you are, so that when you can’t see yourself, they can help you find your way.

Tribes are essential for success and personal sanity when you’re busy changing the world. But this support system doesn’t just magically appear and can take quite a while to construct. To be clear, your tribe isn’t just helping you get work done—their role is much deeper than that. The fact that your tribe “sees you” is, in my opinion, the reason why you need them in your life.

So how do you build your tribe?

Start with a clear intention and desire to have the group you want.

Consider listening to women or men talk, and see how you feel in their presence. For example, do you feel “up,” supported, enlightened, or engaged when talking with them? Can you see this person standing strong for you?

Start small and stay focused.

Pace yourself, and don’t feel obligated to bring a member into your tribe if you know they will be more work than you the have time or energy for. Think of the qualities you want your tribe to have. For instance, start with things like: doesn’t judge, has a sense of humor, is an artist, lives with wide-open passion, and is loyal.

Take an inventory of your current friends, family, etc.

This will help you determine if there is already the start of a tribe right in front of you. Stay true to what you want in your inner circle.

Listen to your inner voice and instincts.

Listen to that “gut” feeling about a person. Your body will tell you. Do you feel drawn to them right away—like you’ve known them for years—or do they make you put up your guard?

Pay attention to their social media posts.

This is a great way to root out the crazies.

Consider doing something you are passionate about, besides working.

Go to a class, join a club, or learn something new that you’ve always wanted to learn. Doing this might enable you to meet other people with similar interests.

Begin spending time with these people and make it a priority to do so.

Find a common interest between your potential tribe members and you, and invite them over. Keep it purposeful.

If you take these steps, you may reap some fantastic rewards:

  • Support when you feel like giving up.
  • More energy and strength than you could ever generate alone.
  • Enrichment through many life-long relationships.
  • An encouraging community that allows you to make your passion your livelihood.
  • Feeling like the luckiest person in the world to be surrounded by those who care about you and have your back.
  • And perhaps the greatest—and most unexpected—gift is that leading a community will serve as a catalyst for you to become a better human being.

Best of luck to you on your tribal journey!

Nisha Jackson is a nationally recognized hormone and functional medicine expert, renowned lecturer, motivational speaker, radio host, columnist, author of best-seller “Brilliant Burnout,” and founder of OnePeak Medical Clinics in Oregon. For 30 years, her approach to medicine has successfully reversed chronic problems such as fatigue, brain fog, depression, insomnia, and lack of stamina.