9 people, 6 days, a tribe and a mug

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9 people in a room for six days.  Like really, really in a room.  Not leaving. And days are 12-14 hours long. That’s what it means to work for our election as an officer facilitating advanced voting opportunities for the masses.

I don’t care who you are, it still takes a big inhale and twinge of expectation and anticipation mixed up with the tiny insecurities we all pack around when you commit to in this case, 6 days of intense group dynamics. 

I like what Seth Godin teaches us about tribes and leadership and ourselves in his book Tribes. The principles he talks about in forming a tribe to achieve results can apply to teams long-term, or in our case a short term of 6 days.

The common purpose brought us together and gave us titles, paired us off and gave us a leader. The forming of our own tribe within this structure is what was so interesting.  Within the first couple days we found our leader could  and would lead our trek through the forest of challenges; he quickly earned our confidence in ability to  keep the tribe productive and together.  He wore the mantle and robes of tribal leadership with humility, humour and respect for each of us. We conquered the test of whether the tribe would stop and help when one stumbled and broke their spear, or whether they would cut a swath wide around.  The tribe stopped, help repair the metaphorical spear and continued on as one.

We found the shaman in our tribe who brought the gift of laughter and welcome to ourselves and those visiting our room. We found our young warrior who bonded with different generations with much respect both ways.  We found our providers who brought nourishment in more than food. We found our quiet steady tribe mates who were a levelling supportive framework. We developed our own tribal customs and the care and respect shown to everyone we served was our shared mission.

I signed up to do this because I like difference makers. I like being around difference makers. I like being part of difference making.  And I was.  It was 6 days of being part of a tribe.  I liked it.

Oh, and the mug…….my partner for six long days as we sat at our table working hand in hand managing steps in an intricate process, sometimes stressful, sometimes frustrating, …… well…….she gave the mug to me.  She makes beautiful pottery things and at the end of six days she knew me well enough to surprise me with a gift that I like very much. Kindness is cool.  Thanks, Arleen.


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