In 2013 my husband and I relocated from the Chicagoland area to Louisville, Kentucky. If you have ever moved far away from home, to a new city where you only know two people, then you know how scary it can be. However, within three months of our move I had fallen in love with Louisville. It’s a city that has the perfect blend of small-town southern charm and big-city feel. There are great restaurants, arts and culture that you’d expect to find in a large city, but the people are polite, kind, and hospitable.

I found a job within my field of expertise, made some new friends, but I still felt as though something was missing, until recently that is. In March of 2018 I signed up for a free month trial at a new specialty gym. They offered unlimited classes, complimentary child care, and one-on-one nutrition guidance with the lead trainer. I figured I would do the first month for free and then move onto the next fad that popped up. But then something happened that I did not expect- I found my tribe.

What I mean by that is I found a community of like-minded people that support one another. I was working out regularly again, which was great, but what was even better was the atmosphere of support and encouragement. There were women of every shape, size and fitness level. Like a lot of women, many of them had been putting their family first for so long that they had lost their sense of individuality. The gym had become a way for them to make themselves a priority again.

On most days, the trainer will you partner up with someone else in class so you can cheer each other on when things get tough. This is great and gives you an opportunity to get to know a new person almost daily. We regularly give one another high fives and encourage each other to push out of our comfort zones. It is remarkable what you can achieve when someone believes in you.

When the free month was over I signed up for the membership. Not because I was losing weight and getting healthy again, though I was happy about that. I joined for another reason. I had found my tribe. The friendships I have made are genuine and deeply meaningful. What I have come to realize is that this tribe of women was the “something missing” that I was longing for. The connection and sense of community was what I needed to feel like I was home.

When you workout as hard as we do (there’s plenary of sweating, cursing, laughter and crying) you bond. The connection we all share builds confidence, and we feel safe enough to share our insecurities with one another. I cannot overemphasize how powerful and emotionally liberating this is.

When you can talk out loud about your insecurities in an environment you feel safe in, amazing things happen. You realize that you are not alone and can support one another through life’s issues. You realize that there are others facing the same things you do, which only deepens the bond. We can share how we deal with our emotions, or what we did to get through a situation. The result is that we all become stronger, more confident women.

The more I get to know the women in my tribe, and their families, the more my love and respect grows for them. There are nurses, corporate executives, bakers, photographers, massage therapists, t-shirt makers, purse makers, and one woman creates her own artsy invitations. Now, the physical and emotional support that started in the gym has spilled into our personal lives. We have begun to support one another outside of the gym by hiring each other for different services.

It’s beautiful to see people jump at the chance to help someone whenever the need arises. It may be something as simple as needing a ride because their car is in the shop. More recently, one of the women had a stroke. She is a wife and mother of two young children. By the simple act of posting a message on our board, we were able to start a food train and get donations to help her and her family. I am happy to say that she is home and will be starting her recovery, grateful for her family and tribe.

It is human nature to want to socialize and be with other people. Why not find a group of like-minded people that are passionate about the things that matter to you. The results will allow you to grow emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. So what are you waiting for? Go find your tribe!