This time last week I was on cloud 9, cushioned, floating, buoyed by 30 breaths of fresh air from 30 wonderful women who attended my book launch. Now I’m back on terra firma, but my head is still in the clouds a bit (except when my daughters pull me back down to their level – which when you’re lying prone as sick patient to their doctor, is as far away from the clouds as you can get!). I’ve been on radio, news publishers are interested, there may be a piece on Breakfast TV, businesses have reached out to collaborate, and I’ve signed up 7 local stockists in 7 days. But I’m not here to promote my triumphs.
Rather, I want to talk about Tribe. Because I’ve reaffirmed through this book launch, what I write about in my book: that you make yourself strong by surrounding yourself with a support network, your “tribe”. In my book, I refer to these mostly as friends and family – but I’ve learned something this week. My tribe – and yours too – is bigger than we know. As mums we have hundreds of thousands of people who have got our back, and are only too happy to prop us up. I experienced this:
The day before launch I sent a reminder email to attendees, and in it I admitted to being a tad nervous. I got this in reply from Heather Vermeer, Editor of Channel Magazine – who I hadn’t met yet: “Relax. You’re enough! And so is your book.” Then on the day of launch I got a lovely uplifting email from Eleanor Ozich owner/author of Petite Kitchen – who I also hadn’t met before: “Happy book launch day! I look forward to meeting you soon!” I hadn’t met them, and yet here they were, propping me up before what was to be one of the biggest events in my adult life so far.
ALL the women who were invited to the event, turned up. On time. And with an enthusiasm I hadn’t anticipated – but very much welcomed! The words of Vanessa Rehm from The Bubblino Kitchen in her instagram post the next day summed up the vibe perfectly:
“The energy in the room yesterday was bright and positive, filled with beautiful women, each on our own journey of life, celebrating and uplifting each other in our unique decisions on the way we choose to journey and parent, and I left feeling lighter than I have in a while about my own parenting journey.”
It was bright. It was positive. It was celebratory – not just in recognition of parents but of women. I’ve never felt such togetherness, camaraderie and feel-good-buzzy-vibes from a group of women who didn’t all know each other. It did feel tribal. And it felt good.
Part of the event involved a panel of 3 mums who helped bring to life and demonstrate the relevance of the content in my book. They had prepared, they were full of wisdom, and they were funny. They helped, they supported, they were a key part of my tribe that day – and again, two of them I’d never met before that day.
I’ve launched: a book. It helps mums. But I’m still in the thick of it, myself learning. So my intention with Dear Mummy is to keep sharing new musings with you, to help you on your journey to reclaim and restore yourself; to help guide you to your best potential – to be an incredible mummy and an incredible woman.
I’ve learned: that as mums the tribe we can tap into is big, and spans far and wide. So it makes sense that my first blog post-launch reflects on this and pays it forward to help you. Here it is…
SIX STEPS TO GROW YOUR TRIBE:
- KNOW YOURSELF
Tribe, as with so many things in life, is about quality not quantity. You want to connect with people who are like you; to make meaningful connections that will add value to your life. In order to do that, first thing’s first: you need to know yourself – what’s important to you, what interests you, what lights you up, what do you desire. (There’s more on this in the first section of my book).
- FISH WHERE THE FISH ARE
Use social media to follow and connect with people and businesses who are aligned with your goals and desires. For me I had goals around promoting my book and connecting to like-minded mums who I could springboard ideas off in the future. For you it might be a desire to connect with people who have a similar interest.
- BE VULNERABLE
We’re all human. I personally have found that when I expose myself, share what could be seen as weaknesses, open myself up to help, in actual fact people tend to find it disarming – and you in turn, likeable.
- SPEAK FROM THE HEART
The first 3 tips are more about acquiring a tribe. This one is about retaining your tribe. In your busy life, you will lean on your tribe more or less depending on your need. Equally, people in your tribe will come in and out of your life according to their availability. The key is getting them to remember you, and to want to keep reconnecting. Feelings are remembered long after thoughts are forgotten. So when you speak from the heart you will speak to the heart of others, and invoke a more emotional response and memory of you. As Maya Angelou said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
- IF YOU DON’T ASK, YOU WON’T GET
Self explanatory! People aren’t mind readers.
- GIVE BACK
A tribe isn’t a one-way support system. If you grow a tribe of people who prop you up, you need to put the effort into supporting them back. It’s a continual cycle: give and you shall receive.
Mummying can be lonely. Especially in the early weeks and months, or at times when you’re going through a stage experiencing challenges that none of your mummy friends are. Finding yourself again can be hard after giving yourself over so completely to your little one/s. Starting a business or getting a project off the ground can be tough. Believe me, I understand all of these things. But we needn’t feel alone. The world is a big place, made smaller by technology (so much easier to connect). All you have to do is reach out.
If I can do it, you can xx
Special thanks to the following people in my tribe for your support at the launch event:
Melissa Jack – panelist, The Best Nest
Lorraine Scapens – panelist, Pregnancy Exercise
Jo Pilkington – panelist, First Scene
Jo Hogan – roving masseuse, Bella Mama
Carly Flynn – for writing the Foreword and endorsing the book, www.carlyflynn.com
Gretchen Lowe – caterer, My Weekend Table
Lauren Watson – photographer, and for The Collective goodies
Invivo Wines – for the beautiful Bella Rose wine, www.invivowines.com
Phoenix Organics – for the sparkling water, www.phoenixorganics.co.nz
Abby Maire, Angela Batistich and Kylie Nancekevill for your hosting help