I remember walking into gym class, returning to the school that I had attended through 4th grade. Over the summer I had moved and I started 5th grade in another school in the district. But a custody change between my parents led me back to the school I had known all my life. After my dad enrolled me, the principal told me I could go join my class in the gym.
I walked into the gymnasium just as they were beginning to pick teams for kickball when my friend Robin spotted me and yelled “Lori’s back! Suddenly, I was surrounded by a mob of pre-teen girls screaming at the top of their lungs as they hugged me and welcomed me home. The reunion was cut short by the shrill of the gym coach’s whistle and his stern instructions to get lined up. He announced, that in honor of my return, I would be the captain of team A, and I proudly took my place in front of all my classmates ready to pick my team. (This was an honor generally reserved for the most athletic persons in the class, a drastic contrast to my being the last one standing; finally going to a team by default, not because I was picked.)
Looking back, I think that was the moment that defined the friendships I would take with me through Jr. High. I remember how wonderful it felt to be back in the comfortable surroundings of people I knew. How, for that one moment, I felt like a rock star. How quickly the moment changed when suddenly I was faced with the dilemma of: do I choose a team to win, or do I choose a team of my friends, who, (after all these years I’m sure I can say this without offending), suck at physical fitness.
The gym coach, beginning to lose patience, yelled at me to make my pick, and I was stuck. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to pick to win or pick my friends. I could look at the line, and see that the true athletes were hoping that I wouldn’t choose them, and my friends – my true blue, ride or die, friends – were anxiously waving at me to pick them. Of course, I did. I picked Robin, Teresa, Jenny, and Kelly. I don’t know who else I chose, but I know that these classmates were the right choice because today, 45 years later, Robin, Teresa, Jenny, and Kelly are still my friends.
Moving forward 40 years I have surrounded myself with many Robin’s, Teresa’s, Jenny’s, and Kelly’s. Some have been in my circle for a long time, others have already broken away and a beautiful few are entering. I pride myself on the tribe that I am part of. For many, being part of a tribe is necessary, for me, it’s an honor and a blessing.
Being part of a tribe, however, is not always easy. Maintaining deep relationships is more than clicking on a little icon to let someone know you like their photo or meme, sending a group text to announce your birthday party location, or a Snapchat to share what you’re having for dinner. Social media is a great venue to keep in touch with casual friends, however, I wouldn’t invite all my electronic friends to a pow-wow in my blanket teepee. In fact, there would be very few. And I would choose them today, in much the same way I picked my kickball team all those years ago.
As the years have evolved, I’ve gotten to know myself better, and love myself for who I am. While this step is an entire blog in itself, it’s probably the most important step in building an amazing tribe. This doesn’t mean that when I was 10, I knew myself in depth, but I did know that I had nothing in common with the kids who could pass the annual physical fitness test on the first try every year. I was much better suited to the kids who would much rather tie-dye scarves in art class or belt out the chorus of every song on Casey Kasem’s top 40 countdowns.
Get to know your potential tribe
I belong to a networking group, and for two years, I met these people every Tuesday for breakfast. Every week, I sat at a different table until I found myself gravitating to one table more often than others. There was something about the people who regularly sat at this table. Just recently, one of the persons at the table told me about his excitement that Jesus Christ Superstar was going to be on, and he couldn’t wait to watch it. When I told him that my son was going to be “Roman Soldier #1”, he was even more excited. This was all the confirmation I needed that I was at the right table. I could lead this table into any kickball game, and know that we would have a great time! This doesn’t mean that the other people in the group are not tribe worthy, it just means that this table is MY tribe.
Jenny was my first friend in life. I met her in kindergarten when I had transferred from another school. She was in the office and showed me how to get to our classroom. Once we got there she introduced me to Kelly and other girls who were friends of hers. Quickly we all became friends. Today’s connections may not be as organic or simple, but we build community when we help others make connections. Dig in. Get personal. Find like-minded people and skip the small talk. Expose your inner self.
When I think about how the best members of my tribe came about, I realize that everyone is there because of a connection. It’s been a wonderful discovery to grow together, and even if Kindergarten is the biggest connection we have, Jenny, Robin, Teresa, Kelly and I, are a tribe to be reckoned as together, we continue to expand our tribe, and yet we know that there is a grand peace pipe waiting in the Chief’s teepee when we all get together again.
A few things about me. A mother of two beautifully successful children and 3 grandchildren. Member of Slow Roll Mansfield planning team. I enjoy the Performing Arts, cycling, cooking and sports. I am a caretaker of my space in the universe and, like my grandma who named me, loving people is the reason I am here.
I, too, yearn to live a wholehearted life, and according to Brené Brown, that means engaging our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage and compassion and connection to wake up and think, no matter what gets done and how much of it is left undone, I AM ENOUGH.
The achiever in me often thinks I HAVE NOT DONE ENOUGH, therefore I AM NOT ENOUGH. I’ve worked hard to set boundaries. The coach in me talks to clients often about not just “doing enough”, but “being enough” – choosing how to be as often, or more often, than choosing what to do. This is hard. This requires me to be vulnerable and not just do it to check another thing off my list.
Rising Strong was another affirmation for me that I can STOP. I can PAUSE. I can be. I can say I am enough and I’ve had enough. Being mindful and vulnerable is a journey. Many times I fail at it. That’s often my First Attempt In Learning.
Here are some of the tenets discussed in the book that I have been able to start or continue to focus on that resonated with me as I read the book.
Be a badass
I always wanted to be a badass. I love the words.
Badasses don’t blame others when things go wrong. I need to be less judgmental and do more of that.
I have to share the story I have made up and have those tough conversations that describe how I am feeling. I need to get curious about it and focus in on the assumptions that I have made that probably are not true.
I have learned that I can start a conversation by saying, “The story I have made up is… ” to better check in to assumptions versus blame.
Focus on compassion and cultivate trust
Dr. Brown’s research shows that compassionate people ask for what they need. They set boundaries. They ask for help and support. They give help and support to others.
They recognize that “no” is a complete sentence.
My high achiever often puts me in a state of “over functioning.” I won’t feel, I will do. I don’t need help. I help. I’m a mentor and a coach to many. I have started surrounding myself with mentors and coaches for me. I need them to help me move forward in my life.
I am learning that we don’t have to do it all alone, and I don’t think we were ever meant to. There is value to say what I mean and mean what I say. There is value in being part of a tribe.
I have started building trust by recognizing and owning my mistakes and apologizing. I give thanks more and catch people DOING THINGS RIGHT instead of catching them doing it wrong.
Many years ago I intentionally made the decision not to focus on regret or jealousy, two emotions that I thought I could live without.
What I have learned is that living without regret is living without reflection. Sure, I said I learned and could move on, but maybe that was just the story I was making up.
I have found that there are amends to make. There are opportunities where I could have been braver and more courageous in my life. There are times I choose to be liked versus defending someone or something or taking an unpopular position. There were times with classmates, friends, and strangers that I did not stand up for someone being berated, bullied, or abused.
I have done lots of work with my own values, and that is helping me to learn that living outside of my values is no longer for me.
“People who wade in discomfort and tell the truth about their stories are real bad asses.” Dr. Brown states that people learn how to trust based on how they see us treating ourselves.
Set boundaries and be good to yourself. Shit happens and I AM ENOUGH.
Cindy Biggs is a leadership development expert working as a certified coach, mentor, and trainer. She started her encore career in 2012, as President of C. Biggs and Associates (www.SEEBIGG.com) after making a commitment to follow her dreams to be an entrepreneur and focus her top leadership strengths. She was CEO of Planned Parenthood of NC Ohio, based in Mansfield, for 20 years and VP of Organizational Development for 5 years after architecting a 5-way merger in NE Ohio with 4 other women to create a large, regional non-profit, Planned Parenthood of NE Ohio in Akron. Her volunteer work focuses on women’s empowerment and leadership development with nonprofits, including Central America Medical Outreach in Santa Rosa de Copan and the League of Women Voters. She lives in Wooster and Howard with her husband Jeff and cat Colt.
One of my favorite “save myself” lines that I say to myself after a failure is, “Oh, it is okay as long as I have learned something from it.” But who am I kidding? It is still a fail and learning doesn’t typically prevent it from happening in the same way again. That is an example of one of the rumble discussions Brene’ Brown refers to in her book, “Rising Strong”. It is a term to describe honest discussions with yourself.
Dr. Brown details three easy steps to “Rising Strong” including paying attention to what you are feeling emotionally and physically, writing down the story you are telling yourself – whether it is real or not – and taking insights from the “rumbling” talk with yourself. She says, “the goal of the rumble is to get honest about the stories we’re making up about our struggles, to revisit, challenge and reality-check these narratives.”
Learning simply to notice our true feelings takes hard work! We first have to give ourselves permission to feel and be vulnerable and to ask, “why” we feel a certain way. It takes courage.
Keeping it real
Keeping it real with yourself means asking yourself some questions. I LOVE THIS! The story that you are telling yourself? Wow! That hits home! We tend to know when someone else is telling us their version of a story and we allow it. Gut check.
When I was given the assignment by Mind Body Align in early January, I was to write a blog on the topic Rising Strong. Following the steps that are outlined in the book, I determine the story that I’m making up is that “January is the worst month of the year for me. I am not ready for a new year to begin as the previous one is not over yet. Surely, I know people are planning, filling out their schedules, and they have closed the books on the previous year. Nope, not me.”
I check in with my emotions and they tell me that I have had so much to do on my own. It is hard running a business, a household, and raising a 17-year-old daughter by myself. I have been too busy to catch up. I will get there. No one understands.
My body is feeling as though I am running on empty. I am hurried and going in circles. I have so much I want to do but so little time.
Next, the book suggests that I assess my thinking. I feel as though my thinking makes sense. It is rational of course to feel this way. I am justified and “no one knows the trouble I’ve seen.”
Lastly, I observe my actions and say to myself, “Let’s just ignore the inner self-emotions. I do not have time to stop and think! No time for planning, meditation, or sharpening the saw. Just keep going! Do not stop to think.”
Hearing the truth
The point of her lesson is to clear the rumbling, come out with a clearer result and to “add positive changes that create a new revolutionized result.” Interestingly, the truth is I DO THIS TO MYSELF. Cheryl Carter’s January blog quote said it best for me, “But in the stillness, I began to see truths that had eluded me.” It was all so clear. By going deep into my own feelings, I was able to hear the truth. I had forgotten to stop and observe!
In truth, I have had a few tough years that have continually taken twists and turns from good to bad to worse to KEEP GOING. I have lived in a self-proclaimed bubble. It was created years ago (without having a rumbling self-discussion technique to rely on.) I was very proud of it too. Hiding from my own self. Not feeling failures deeply because I was learning something from them so – “let’s just keep riding them out.”
My 20-year marriage ended and I moved back to Mansfield, my hometown in 2010. A couple years later, I was fired from working as a consultant for a whole food nutritional company. It was a commission only based position so I was devastated. The next year in 2014, I lost a very close friend.
2015 brought many changes. I lost my mother in law during the same month I was diagnosed with thyroid disease. My RED VW Passat Turbo car was totaled and I was without a vehicle. So to hide more, I started caring for a 90-year old Purple Heart Veteran. September 2015 I opened my Healthy Transformation downtown Mansfield office.
I lost my biological father on February 18, 2016. For the majority of 2017 my Dad was in and out of the hospital with major health issues that continue today. There are no words to describe the feelings of trying to RISE STRONG in spite of not being able to help with his pain.
Yes, I have had opportunities of wallowing in fear and failure. The potential that can be realized when you allow learning to arise out of challenges is amazing. I am no different than the next woman who is learning how to RISE STRONG. I have learned that paying attention to our true emotions allows us to get to a place within ourselves that guides us to a better tomorrow. Even after we fail.
Next time you feel down about something, go through this exercise – asking yourself about your own story, checking in with your body, your emotions, thoughts, and actions. You will see how observing your truth can actually bring you out of the trap you set for yourself.
“One day at a time – this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering.” Ida Scott Taylor
Renee M Schambre is first and foremost a Mother to her extraordinary daughter, Reagan. Renee is a Homeopathic Practitioner, an empath, and a Corporate Wellness Coach and Holistic Health Advisor. She founded Healthy Transformation in 1999. She is pursuing an advanced nutritional certification. She is a 15 year experienced Young Living essential oil educator. Renee has been a Nationally recognized BioScan MSA trainer for the past 13 years.
Her professional experience comes from her God-given ability and intuition to help teach people how to live healthy lifestyles, her commitment to ongoing education, formal training and clinical work.
Healthy Transformation’s Mission: Education for those passionate about educating our communities and future generations through the use of Homeopathy, Whole Food Supplements, and Essential Oils.