Developer growth

Tribes – a search for belonging

Finding your tribe isn’t easy. It’s a long journey of many missteps. You may be part of a tribe your entire life. You may wander to look for other tribes out there and dive back into your old tribe for safety. Other times you need to find another to call your own. Sometimes you need to start your own with your closest around you. Other times you need to just start, and hope others will follow.


But, what do I mean with a tribe? In this context I’m using it as a community where you feel a sense of belonging. Originally, tribes were defined by proximity, the land you belonged to. So changing tribes was a physical action. Moving from one area to another. Going through rituals and sacrifices to leave your original tribe and be accepted in your new one. It took a lot of friction.

In society today the sense of belonging to a certain part of land isn’t what defines our tribe any longer. We define it in other ways like: race, nationality, gender, faith, community, workplace, hobbies etc. Some are hierarchical, like your team, that resides within your department in your organization and others are virtual, like social media groups, forums, interests, programming languages.

In our digital age there is a lot less friction to switch between tribes. You can find a virtual tribe, where switching could be as simple as joining another group. You can physically move across the world and still stay in the same virtual tribe, even though you may change your physical one.

A sense of belonging

As we grow and mature, we all go through our own versions of “the hero’s journey”. Moving through life, searching for a place of belonging.

My family tribe has always been important to me, it’s the most rock-solid tribe I belong to. Our shared values define the core of my belief and value system, and in extension is the lens I see the world through.

Another tribe that gives me a sense of fulfilment is meaningful work alongside caring individuals. Working to make a change in this world for the better. It’s what’s guided me unconsciously so far, and now what I’m starting to become more aware of and act upon.

The search

It’s become easier than ever to find and change tribes. It’s also easier than ever to get distracted in your search. The best we can do is follow our heart, and not settle. As we grow, so do our needs and finding a tribe that allows you to grow to your full potential is something I think is worth searching for.

As I’ve become more aware of my journey and what is important to me, I’ve also been more aware of what I want from my tribe. I’m sure this will evolve and change as I grow, and I’m sure that no tribe will be a perfect match. I do know that when I see something that is closer to my own values I need to make the move. How else will I know if it’s what I need?

“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.” ― Steve Jobs

So, if you’ve found your tribe – cherish it, nourish it and consider yourself lucky. If not, work through the friction and don’t settle.