There is a disease at work in our marketing. It’s afflicting everything we do. It is chronic short-termism.

The desperation to succeed at my new launch, so that my ego doesn’t get kicked in the teeth, and my bank balance doesn’t dip into the stress zone. The eagerness to get as many people to sign up on my list as I can, so that I don’t have to deal with my loneliness and insecurity.

The disease of short-termism narrows our eyes onto the immediate need in front of us. And it can come with a whole host of side effects…

  • egoic manipulation
  • failing integrity
  • cringing inauthenticity
  • slimy sales
  • clichéd copy-writing
  • uninspired offers.

The antidote is realizing the bigger game you’re playing.

The game where you create a thriving tribe. One that endures. One that will ultimately go way beyond you and your work. One that is here for decades to come.

There’s an African proverb that says: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

A tribe will go far, reach far, and make an impact we can’t even conceptualize from where we are.

When you cultivate a thriving tribe, you create a thriving ecosystem. When you devote yourself to the service of your tribe’s growth, they will grow. When your tribe grows, they will serve you in return, and support your leadership of them.

A thriving tribe is not only the basis of a truly successful business, it is the basis of a truly successful movement. One where your business can spawn business for others. One where collaboration and cross-pollination feed something entirely new.

So, here are 4 principles that you want to cultivate, as you cultivate your tribe. 4 principles that when cultivated, will create a thriving tribe.

1. Intimacy

I feel you. I feel connected to you. I feel close to you.

Intimacy is making the inmost known. It’s the closeness that is created when we show ourselves to one another.

When we are intimate with one another, we are weaving a pattern of interconnectedness. When we are intimate, we create community.

You create intimacy with your tribe when you show yourself. You start the dance of intimacy when you take the first step.

When you are truly vulnerable, your tribe will be truly vulnerable in return.

My most uncomfortably revealing articles have been the ones that people have emailed me about the most, sharing their own tender stories. Intimately showing your inner world creates a space for others to intimately show theirs.

Intimacy is about the space between us. Intimacy is the sensation of deep connection. People no longer want adequate. People no longer want useful. People want deep meaning.

Create deep intimacy with your tribe, and you create something meaningful to which people can belong. Create intimacy, and you create belongingness.

2. Authority

I’ve witnessed your expertise. I’ve felt your power. I’ve followed your advice, and it worked.

Authority is what you must practice, if you are to lead your tribe.

Authority is what is created when you speak your wisdom and serve those who have gathered. Authority is what is revealed when you tap into your natural power.

Authority is authoring new wisdom.

As you continually discover more of what you have to say, and your tribe are continually helped by your teaching, your authority will be established.

Authority is not power over someone. Authority is not assumed or abused.

Authority is what people recognize in you, when you consistently step into your own genius, and create wisdom and insight that helps them.

Your tribe give you authority only when you demonstrate your competence to lead them. You step into that authority, when you trust in your ability to create life.

Authority is what enables people to follow you. A leader leads through wisdom and power. Disseminate your wisdom. Channel your power. Lead your tribe.

3. Trust

I know you. I believe you. I can rely on you. I trust you.

Trust is what all marketing should be designed to create. Trust is what very little marketing actually does create. Most marketing erodes trust, fast.

If I’m focused solely on maximizing sales for my new thing, then all I need to do is create enough trust that I get you to click buy. After that, I don’t care.

Trust takes time to create. Because trust is what I feel when I’ve related with you over time, and believe I can rely on your integrity.

If your actions are in alignment with your espousal, if you walk what you talk, and you do it consistently, you’re enabling me to create trust for you.

When your tribe trusts you, you don’t need to use marketing psychology to persuade them to buy your new thing. You can just tell them about it, and they’ll buy it if serves them.

When your tribe trusts you, you don’t need to shout loudly about how amazing your latest offering is, and why it’s going to change their life. You can simply share your heart, and they’ll listen.

Trust is the antidote to a loud and crowded marketplace. When you have a tribe that deeply trusts you, you can whisper rather than shout. You can offer rather than push. You can create rather than take.

4. Permission

Change me. I give you full permission.

Permission is the agreement to let things through.

Permission is what your tribe gifts to you when they believe in your authority. Permission is what they activate when they trust you, when they know you, when they choose to follow you.

Permission is the agreement to be permeable. When something is permeable, it lets things through it.

A permeable membrane is one that lets water through. A permeable tribe is one that lets you impact them deeply.

They give you permission to change them.

They give you permission to love them so fully that they cannot remain the same. They give you permission to challenge their assumed smallness. They give you permission to beckon to their wholeness.

Permission is what opens up a giant space. One in which we can all change one another. One in which the tribe can establish a whole new way. One in which we can transform things. Forever.

You Can’t Fail

Your work is your Work. Your work is to create what you’re here to create. That’s not a short term game, that’s a life-time game, at least.

You can’t fail at it. You can only turn away from it.

Go and feed your gathering tribe. They’re hungry for your wisdom. They’re aching for your power. They want to trust you. They’re eager to know you, get intimate with you.

Go and serve them today, so that they give you even deeper permission to change them tomorrow.


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Ewan Townhead

I hope you enjoyed the article. If you're interested further in my work, you can find out more about me here, and my coaching here.