Find your like-minded tribe
and let the positivity lead to success! Last week we had dinner with a group of tiny house dwellers here in Portland. They have created a community that centers around one shared "common" house and having similar minimalist lifestyles/mindsets/goals. It was a fun evening experiencing a slightly different slant on the freedom we are all looking for, and we learned a ton from the experience. How awesome for these people (most of which are well younger than us) that they have stumbled upon a group that shares their vision and goals, that they can share stories and dreams with around the dinner table. A group that makes their lifestyle seem completely normal even if the rest of society would call it and them extreme. We felt like we fit right in and could meet them at that table every night. We support them in their efforts and hope that portland finds a way to make that lifestyle an option for anyone who wants it. Mostly for us, the evening was simple a reminder that similar minds can easily find common ground and that there's power in numbers.
I'm not sure at this point in our lives we could find our way into living in such a community, one of people we don't know (or didn't know prior to moving in). Setting up a similar community made up of friends we already know and love however... brilliant! This conversation came up a bit last week as we bought a lottery ticket for the (all time high) 1.5billion dollar jackpot.
Funny that for the first time in ages we bought a ticket, and realized while the winnings would obviously be awesome, that we for the first time actually didn't NEED them. How ironic, given our path. We actually bought our tickets with the express intent of paying off the mortgage of everyone we know (ours included). What fun would it be to approach friend after friend letting them know that we were paying their mortgage off in full so they could be free to chase their dreams and passions, and (selfishly) to travel and play with us! Now we just have to find a neighborhood or island to take over and claim for our tribe!
On the other side of the emotional/positivity scale... A few nights last week we hosted an AirBnB guest that would turn out to be our worst guest to date (in fact, our only bad experience in about 100 guests). She was in good communication throughout, but one night had apparently forgotten to lock the door and someone from the unit next door walked in on her by mistake. We have no doubt she was alarmed by the incident, and when we called to check in on her she was fine, but mentioned that the people next door were having a noisy "kid party". We called and asked them to be respectful of any noise and thought the conversation was over. The young girl wrote us the next morning to tell us she had decided to stay at a hotel because of the walk-in and the noise next door. We felt horrible, and despite it being out of our control immediately offered to reimburse her a night of her stay. She replied that it had all worked out because she spent a terrific night with a boy she met as a result... and even asked if she could extend her stay because she bought the wrong train ticket home. We allowed her an extended checkout, but upon our return to the studio the place reeked of smoke (despite our clear no smoking policy), all of our belongings had been tossed about/moved and the dishes were stacked high in the sink with cigarette ashes in them.
Jen also realized that a new pair of yoga pants was missing as well as some other odd items. When we wrote the guest about the pants, she quickly found them (and apparently a few other of our items) and claimed that her sister must have packed them thinking they were hers. Sadly, a few emails later she outright refused to return our belongings because we had made her feel like a horrible guest for smoking in our home. We again asked for our things back and she cut off all communication. We talked to AirBnB about the incident and were told that short of filing a police report on her there was little we could do. We chose not to take that action over a couple pieces of clothing and then set about the only course of action we were left with- writing a review.
It was difficult for us to send an honest review. We have no desire to make things difficult on this girl and thought maybe we should just remove ourselves from this conversation. But then we realized that someone who rented to her before might have had a similar experience, but was afraid to write a truthful review. We sat on it for a few days before realizing we had to be honest in case we could save another host the type of experience we just had. We removed a few of our comments to soften the review a bit, and then proceeded with posting it.
Not that we should be surprised, but she quickly reopened communication with us. She sent us an email letting us know what horrible people we are. How unprofessional we are. That we were downers who want nothing but to tear someone else down to make ourselves feel bigger and more powerful. She ended her email by wishing us well on our "path of destruction" and hoping that karma found retribution for us. Wow.
I can't remember getting such a direct negative and hateful communication from anyone who has actually had interactions with us (negative comments on the web from strangers, sure...but not someone we actually had interactions with). We both felt attacked and a bit bummed. We allowed someone to stay in our home only to have her rifle through our personal belongings, smoke in our house, lie to us, use our dishes as ashtrays, steal our clothing, admit to it then refuse to return them... and then tell us what low-lifes we are. Just, wow.
On the other side of that equation, we were lucky enough to receive these emails while at a lovely dinner with old friends. The same friends who happen to be quitting their day jobs because they worked their asses off over the last couple years with a plan to be able to do just that. It not only numbed the harshness of her email, but also allowed us to see it for what it was...and let it go just as quickly. Our present company made it easy for us to focus on the positivity and excitement for our friends' new adventure rather than focusing on the negative experience reappearing from earlier in the week.
If anyone tells you that you can't set a goal to change your life and achieve it in a very short period of time; they're just plain wrong and these two are living proof. In less time than we've been living back in portland (under 3 years) they have completely dreamt up, planned out, fought for and now achieved their own freedom. They also did so in the same way we did - by starting with almost nothing, with no financial backing or a backup plan, but confident that they could get there and willing to work for it. They also appear to have done so in a small fraction of the time it took us... and in what most would say is a horrible market. Good on ya!
Our conversations and dinners with them have always been fun, engaging and noteworthy...but now, they seem somehow even more electric. Similar minds discussing the highs and lows and pros and cons of this whole journey or evolution we're going through. Like minded passions for chasing freedom and helping others do the same. A willingness to push the boundaries of what we don't know to find something more than what society has told us is "normal".
They are leaving their jobs as we seem to be a bit too busy working lately... so we obviously spent ample time talking about balance, about finding that sweet spot where you thrive, about managing the multiple tabs you have open on the screen, and how that balance is different for all of us. What drives us, what lights us up, what energizes us. These are the conversations we could have daily. The ones we would schedule our entire weeks around if we could.
A constant reminder to us that while we are grateful for many things...the one that time and time again finds its way to the top of our list of gratitudes is that we have a terrific group of people around us. A tribe of loved ones that we can draw from and hopefully give back to. Those we can be completely honest and transparent with, those who we can laugh with (and cry with as needed), and those who have and will support us in our paths and dreams no matter how foolish or ridiculous those paths may seem. There isn't a day that goes by that we aren't grateful for this terrific group of people that allow us to call them friends, accomplices and acquaintances. I can't imagine trying to seek and find the freedom we've been after in our lives if our tribe was comprised of negative people.
I am more convinced than ever that mindset and attitude are everything, and those surrounding you can either turn that into magic, or spoil it with negativity and doubt. The single greatest step to success may just be finding, and surrounding yourself with a community of positive, like-minded people who believe in you and in each other. While you're ultimately responsible for your own success, it is greatly dependent on your ability to make change and take life by the horns. That requires the confidence to do so. Confidence that allows you to keep moving when times get rough, to have faith in your goals when they seem impossible, to keep marching in one direction while everyone around you seems to be running the other way. Confidence can be found deep within and without the support of others...but it's clearly harder to do so. Try to breed that confidence in an environment filled with negativity and it seems almost impossible.
I know not everyone is as lucky to be surrounded by a likeminded and positive tribe, but i suggest if you have goals of changing your life that this is the first goal you set. To spend less time with those who tell you you can't and more time with those supporting you to find your true happiness. To seek out and find others with similar goals and aspirations. To join meetings and chat groups, to watch lectures and attend seminars, to travel to find them...to interview them and ask the hard questions, to spend a day living in their shoes.
Find a way to show yourself that whatever part of your dreams or goals seem impossible... there is almost certainly someone or some group out there already doing just that. Go find those people, make them your tribe and before long you'll realize that what seemed impossible not long ago is suddenly your reality as well.