I was the one who hated high school. I had just a few friends. I enjoyed our time together. But overall, I hated everything about high school.

I wasn’t me.

I didn’t feel like I was in my right space.

I didn’t know who I was yet, but I knew the people around me weren’t a part of it.

I went to college and hung out in a dorm for a year. Yep, hated it. So I returned home and drove to and from my local university for three years until I finished school. I don’t have any lifelong friendships from college days because once again, I hadn’t found my tribe.

So I went to work. Got married. Started building a life. Had a daughter.

And life changed along the way.

I started discovering who I was.

And every step led me closer to a spot where I grew into who I was supposed to be.

I discovered my voice.

I discovered my passion.

I discovered my value.

I discovered my reasons for being me.

And every definition led me closer to finding my tribe.

Tribes come in many different functions, different places, to fit different aspects of your life.

I’ve found them in my personal life and my professional life.

When I enter, I sit back and watch.

Are these my peeps? Are these people that get me? Do I get them? Am I comfortable?

Because when you find your tribe, the feeling is the best thing in the world.

After we sold our forever home, got rid of two-thirds of our stuff, and moved up to the Pacific Northwest to slow travel three years ago, I pushed writing to the top of my list.

I’d already published more than a dozen nonfiction, but I wanted to fulfill my dream of being a published fiction writer. So I started writing. And looking for my tribe.

Funny thing about writing tribes. I’ve been to groups filled with people writing their epic novels. They’ve spent years – decades – perfecting their greatest story ever told. They write. And write. And never publish. They spend years looking for a publisher that will never come their way. They write a few words every day, edit them, and throw them away.

That works for some people. More power to them.

But I knew my tribe was different. Because I don’t do anything without looking at the bigger picture. And for me, it was all about the business. I wanted to write – A LOT – and grow a serious business in the process.

But more importantly, I wanted to be a storyteller.

That’s what I did in my photography business. And that’s what I’ll always be.

Only now, I tell stories with words instead of photographs.

And I wanted to do it in a BIG way.

I found it. And I went to visit my tribe for the second year this past week – The Smarter Artist.

How do you know you’ve found your tribe?

You’re nervous about entering a very large group of people, but they pull you by the hand into the community and say “welcome.”

You hear “me too” over and over again.

You feel yourself breathing deeper, knowing you’re in the right place.

The community speaks to you. There’s this feeling of being able to let your hair down and just “be.”

Even when you don’t talk, you still feel comfortable.

When you find your tribe, you have more energy than ever before. Because your tribe gives you the confidence and courage you need just to be able to “DO IT!”

You have a more solid plan because you know people are behind you to succeed. Even if you don’t talk to them. Or share every little detail. Or even talk on a regular basis. The tribe’s energy is what you need to take that next step.

Haven’t found your tribe yet?

That’s okay.

Just know it’s out there. It is. I promise.

Spend a little more time defining who you are. Or what you want.

Google a keyword one more time. Find someone you admire and follow their trail – they’ll lead you to their tribes, and sometimes it’ll be your tribe too.

That’s how I found The Smarter Artist.

Two years ago, a woman I follow who had been traveling the world settled in Spain. She started writing romance novels and wrote them quickly based on a concept she was learning. I was mesmerized as I beta read her first two books. I wanted to know more.

She led me to The Smarter Artist, and the rest, as they say, is history.

When you find your tribe, join.

When they offer new thoughts, take their ideas to heart.

When people outside your tribe tell you it can’t be done, turn to your tribe and let them energize you.

Because this is the start of the rest of your life. Why listen to anyone that doesn’t GET who you are?