On my birthday this year, I received an invitation to speak at the #LeadLikeAGirl Conference. Little did I know that this invitation would be the start of something much bigger. As I prepared for the conference and for my words of wisdom, I started thinking about the message I wanted to share with the aspiring young girls and women I would be in the room with. I began reflecting on the things and people who helped me on my own journey of growth, specifically as a woman in STEM. What became clear were three things: the tribe of people who supported me, the love that I have for my passions, and the courage I grew to persevere.
Tribe. Love. Courage.
These three words, though simple, are the foundation for growing into a leader. It is the basis for a mutually beneficial community that one both gives and gets. When others lift us, it gives us the leverage to lift others in return. This is the #TLC way. Realizing what it is, and what it has done for you, leads to infinite possibilities. It leads to the creation of new ideas, the resources to achieve your goals, and a profound impact on your personal life and industry.
TRIBE. Webster defines tribe as a social group of dependents. This can look like family members or people with common interest. For me, a tribe is a collection of people and influencers in your life that are there to encourage you and help you grow, each playing a specific role all for the benefit of your future. I had the unique pleasure of talking to a member of the Choctaw tribe who shared with me some of the traditional roles found in a tribe. The one that stood out to me the most was the emphasis on teaching and sharing core values and life lessons. For me, my tribe is the circle of people that I trust to teach me new perspectives, as well as accompany me through life lessons. Everyone needs a group of people that they can depend on like this.
LOVE. Love is one of the most complex words for us to understand and express. Love is about romance, feelings, and passion. Love starts within ourselves and is shared with others. For those who believe, God is love. I believe we start with being loved by our Divine Creator in conjunction with a love for something that improves the world we live in. This love is our purpose for being, and when we find it and surrender to it, life makes sense. There are so many distractions in life, which make it difficult for some of us to discover our love. Once we find it and cultivate it, we soar.
COURAGE. In an increasingly complex world, courage is necessary just to make it through each day. It’s important to have the courage to live your own life out loud and stand up for your values. Courage is that mental and moral strength to proceed—regardless of your own fear, intimidation, or insecurity. In small or large situations, you decide to speak up or act. In many cases, you did it at the risk of ruffling feathers or the potential loss of something of tangible value to gain something eternal. That’s courage at its core.
Now, as I told the young girls and women at the #LeadLikeAGirl Conference, it is time for you to cultivate your own #TLC. Find your tribe or form a new one. Find those people who will lift you up and help you find that thing that you love. Test your strength and courage by taking risks, and trust yourself to take the reins and lead. Once you start, you won’t be able to stop.
When you find your #TLC, share your story with us on Instagram and Twitter by using #TribeLoveCourage. I have faith in you.
Author: Sonya Pryor-Jones
Link to social media: Instagram @syncconsult