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This Is How I Found My Tribe

We are all part of a tribe, and we even have what it takes to lead one. We must stand up and lean into the chaos, not away from it.

10/03/2017 04:57 SAST | Updated 10/03/2017 04:57 SAST
Marla Aufmuth / Getty Images
Spanx founder Sara Blakely, Gayle King and WCVB-TV Director of Public Affairs Karen Holmes Ward

"How on earth did Sara Blakely get me to buy a pair of Spanx underwear, follow her on Instagram, forward pictures of belly art and vote on a competition on her website? from listening to a podcast!" I asked myself on Friday evening after reality - a bank SMS - hit me. "What just happened?" I asked myself, aloud and alone. "This not part of the plan or budget!", my plan was to listen to a podcast while I worked on the business outline of a new idea; not to spend any money nor to give another person my attention on the Gram.

The answer in short: I found my leader and my tribe. Sara Blakely is the founder, inventor and sole owner of Spanx, the brand that is responsible for the panty line free butts and smooth silhouettes around the world. She gave women across the world confidence and comfort through their undergarments, personally, I think she should be sainted. Even more amazing than her miraculous product is her story. She was a fax machines sales person for seven years, this after her stint as a chipmunk at Disney World. Today she is a billionaire thanks to an idea the universe gifted her, with the help of a pair of white pants gone wrong.

Ok, so what? There are lots of billionaires who sell stuff, what made her so special?

Firstly, Sara was a door to door fax sales person, she was not an expert in fashion or design. Currently I am working on a project that is completely outside my sector and it is scary. Sara said what made her stand apart from professionals in the industry was that she cared more than them about giving women confidence, making them feel and look great. And she cares about connecting people.

Secondly, I recently lost my favourite pair of underwear at the gym. I have been subconsciously looking for another pair to replace it, so when she said she was giving listeners a 20 percent discount on all Spanx items, it was my gift from the universe!

Lastly, she is truly committed to women empowerment, either through giving money to charities that support the education of girls or giving microloans to women owned businesses. When she reaches 100K followers on Instagram she will give away $100K (R1.3 million) in donations to support the education of girls, and she has already given away $25K (R331,000). This is something that deeply resonates with me as a woman who is looking to make positive and powerful changes in the lives of women.

A tribe transcends race, gender, age, distance – all those things no longer matter and it becomes about the shared heartbeat.

All of this coupled together made it impossible for me to ignore Sara's clarion calls to action. She is my leader, and am I part of a tribe of women who want to change the world, wearing the right undergarments while we do it.

Many of us have seen the quote "throw me to the wolves and I will come back leading the pack", that's exactly what Sara continues to do even with her belly art project, of turning preggy bellies to beautiful canvases of art. We are all part of a tribe, and we even have what it takes to lead one. We must stand up and lean into the chaos, not away from it.

As we do this, it builds the courage we need to rally people around our cause, because its their cause too. Shonda has her tribe of people who love the thrill and rush in her storytelling, Lena Dunham has her tribe in the 20-something girls that are also trying to navigate life and find hilarity in seeing parts of their life on screen. Arianna has done it here with the Huff Post, with socially conscious people who want news but also want to share a worldview.

Go out there and find your tribe. It will be so easy to identify them when you do, in my case it was 40 minutes. A tribe transcends race, gender, age, distance – all those things no longer matter and it becomes about the shared heartbeat. This shows us what matters to us and in the universe!

All these seemingly random events - lost underwear, a podcast, starting a business in a different sector and passion for women, were leading me to my tribe... And to a great deal on Spanx! The universe has already begun to lead you, so follow!