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Melyssa Griffin’s Pursuit with Purpose podcast is one of the most inspiring podcasts I’ve found and one of my personal favorites to listen to when I am in need of inspiration and motivation to follow my dreams.  This week I listened to Episode 36: “How to Create Friendships That Help You Become Your Real Self” with Lori Harder.  It was exactly what I needed this week!  Isn’t it funny how that happens sometimes in such a serendipitous way, you get the message you need at the moment you most need it?

I have been mulling over the idea that my female students need help creating support systems.  They need advice on how to create authentic friendships, finding female mentors, and setting healthy boundaries with relationships that are toxic or burdensome, but they must sometimes navigate and engage in because they are eleven- and twelve-years-old and can not choose who raises them.  I immediately dropped Lori’s book, A Tribe Called Bliss in my Amazon shopping cart and pressed Proceed to checkout.  

Here’s what I learned:

  • Lori Harder is an impressive individual as a successful entrepreneur, author, cover model, and three-time fitness world champion.  Her website offers practical tips on self love, healthy living, and entrepreneurship.

  • This book is for us!  “The women who are already leaders and change-makers in the world, as well as those who are still early in discovering their paths.”

  • We must find value in ourselves, know ourselves, and trust our internal voice, our gut feelings, our heart, and our Higher Power that keeps us on our path.

What is a Bliss Journey and why Do I need to be on one?

Author, Lori Harder, defines “bliss” as “fully accepting of all that is, where you’re at peace.” She expands on this by adding, “Bliss to me is not just at peace, it’s being fully you.” I think she is trying to help each of us recognize that part of our reason for being is to share the gifts we are given, to learn from life so that we can then teach others how we worked through our challenging moments and became better humans because of the experience. And, we are not meant to do this alone. We need our sisters, our tribe, to help experience our true bliss.

How to Cultivate Your Tribe (and getting over the use of that woo woo word)

I know, it sounds like you are on an episode of Survivor using the word “tribe” and doing things like having “tribe discussions,” but trust me, it all makes perfect sense.  Your tribe is your people who get you. These are the people you feel a heart connection with, the ones you share an interest and beliefs with such as teaching, running, yoga, church, book club, or any other credible endeavor.  Lori actually recommends having multiple tribes to foster the many different and authentic aspects of yourself.

How the Book Works

Once Lori gets the reader caught up with what this whole “tribe” thing is all about (and the fact that you need one -- or more), Chapters 7 through 13 are broken down into Agreements, Soul Assignments, and Tribe Discussions.  Agreements are your non-negotiables, the values or life rules, you need to be successful as a tribe leader. Soul Assignments are the work -- my favorite sections -- the stuff you will privately dig deep to discover about yourself and then {hold your breath for this one} share it with your tribe at your next meeting.  Finally, Tribe Discussions are the reminders of meeting protocols and how to be respectful of each other’s time and agreements.

Why do I think every teacher-leader needs to read this book?  

Teachers work all day in their individual classroom world motivating students, managing behaviors, and cleaning glue from the tables.  Many of us are guilty of transferring our teacher voices and behavior expectations on to our spouses and family members (you know it’s true -- we all do it unwittingly).  We need adult women we can connect with on a deeper, more meaningful level.  We need to be challenged to grow, and learn, and trust in ourselves and our friendships.  We need women we admire and trust to motivate us to be our best selves.  I also believe if we find our own tribes, we will be better equipped to teach our young students how to create authentic connections and achieve their full potential.

An added perk I discovered after reading the book: Lori Harder has her own podcast called Earn Your Happy.  I have to admit she is a little too perky for my early morning commute to school (as bubbly and sunny as one would expect a three-time fitness champion to be).  Her high-spirited personality is a little jarring on a school day for my taste, but the perfect level of motivation for an afternoon walk or a Saturday morning drive!

I can’t wait to hear how A Tribe Called Bliss encourages you to reconnect with old (or cultivate new) friendships, inspires you to reach out to women you admire and want to learn from, and empowers you to meet your soul.

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