Q&A With Lori Harder: How To Build Your Tribe

Hello Empire Builders! I recently got the chance to catch up with my good friend Lori Harder. I went to her book launch back in May and it gave me so many ah-ha moments and I couldn’t believe how much I learned. Lori is giving us tips on how to find our tribe and so many more insights!

I finally wrapped up reading Lori’s book, A Tribe Called Bliss and I was so excited that I got to go to her book launch event. I’m so bummed that I even waited to read it because it was so incredible so if you guys have not already purchased a tribe called Bliss or if you were like me and you had it but you weren’t reading it you need to go back to it.

Now, I would love to kind of have you just share a little bit of your story, your journey, how you got here and what made you write the book.

Lori: “I’m from a really small town in upper Michigan and I think what people see now is you know it’s like I’m an entrepreneur and living in Los Angeles I had this fitness career now I’m doing speaking and events and it couldn’t be further from where I started. I really believe it’s because of where I started, so I’m really grateful for having such an opposite beginning where I’m at because I really believe that is how I’ve been able to understand people. So getting so grateful for a perspective which is something that I feel that’s what I do in everything that I do now.

I came from a really strict religious upbringing and I was also homeschooled through high school. So I lived a really isolated life but I didn’t have a lot of friends to choose from because there were only a couple girls in my church growing up. I wasn’t allowed to associate with people outside of my religion and it was a small town so I really lived in a small bubble. I also had a lot of anxiety, a lot of fear because this is what was in my circle, it was in my in all my mom’s sisters felt this way my mom had massive anxiety had panic attacks and so soon as I realized what was happening to her, that started happening with me.

My family also struggled with weight and that then made me believe that I was struggle with my weight my whole life because I heard that it was the fact that we had bad genetics and I say fact because it truly felt like a fact when I was younger it was said factually it was believed it was just, this is who we are. We gain weight. We struggle with food. So in my teenage years I remember thinking there’s got to be a way that this is not going to be my future.

I had a couple aha moments in my life that really shifted gears for me and one of them was I met a girl who was outside of my congregation. Her family had a totally different perspective on you know just health and wellness and finance and all of these different things. I went and stayed at her house for a week that I realized oh my god, people don’t eat three platefuls of food all night long and these people eat three meals a day and you know they’re totally cool with making money like they think it’s a great thing, they want to send their kids to college. It was like this eye opening moment of wait, you come from kind of the same idea but you’re totally opposite and just watching that unfold in front of me just shifted is huge for me.

I was a really avid reader of fitness magazines, I would beg my mom to go get me fitness magazines at every opportunity. And I was like Okay so according to this this woman on the cover does not eat anything like we eat and she does all of these activities and if this is our genetics then wouldn’t it be that she’s able to eat all that we’re eating. So to me I thought OK well if I do this I could get these results. Why not? So I really started going in that direction, but man let me tell you everything that I teach on was built in the times of changing my habits and patterns because it probably took me a good 10 years of figuring it out. Trying to change your habits and patterns while still in the environment that forces the old bad habits is just about impossible.”

Did you have to secretly live this other life because you didn’t want people to see you doing these new habits because you were different than them? What was that like?

Lori: “Oh my goodness! I mean to an extent. Some parts of it were out in the open like I would tell my parents or my sister, you know I want to do this or I can’t eat that way anymore, can you support me in this? They didn’t understand it because that’s just the way that everything was. While they would try to be supportive I think people who are in that same frame of mind or who don’t believe it’s possible, you can only be supportive to an extent.

So even as a teenager they would all be eating dinner every night and eating pizza and I would go for a walk or be like I’m going to have a salad and go for a walk. It was like I have a choice here, I can either go down this path or I can decide to have a different life. That was super painful and I know that that’s where so many people are right now.”

Sometimes it’s a difficult answer. They don’t want to hear it because they go I’m probably in the wrong tribe, I’m probably in the wrong environment because as you’re describing this I’m sure somebody is saying this is me. How can I do these new habits, implement new ideas and just have a different lifestyle when I’m still stuck in the old lifestyle I want to get away from.

Lori: “It is the hardest thing in the world. But it is the most rewarding thing that you will ever do. And the reason that it’s so hard is because all of the joy that you associate right now is connected to that old life and it’s connected to those people. When you think of changing, you don’t yet understand the joy and reward and the purpose and who you are on the other side and what that will feel like. What happens is when we think of changing all we think of as the pain so why on earth would we start changing when we think, oh this person is going to be disappointed in me.

So you have to start number one by starting to do different things that are outside of the things that don’t bring you long term happiness. You have to start doing small things that bring in either healthy rewards or mental rewards or whatever that looks like, every single day. So whether that’s a class or whether that’s going to coffee with a friend who doesn’t have the same beliefs or whether that’s something where your learning or something where you’re getting outside, something that has a positive reward on the other side, so that you can start to imagine your life in a different way.

I would start envisioning a different life and I would reinforce that vision so much that it started becoming really real to me. And it made it a little bit easier to make smaller choices that were challenging.”

Can you explain your passion and the reason behind the why of this book?

Lori: “The reason behind the book is exactly that. The only way that you’re going to get to the life that you can visualize, get to the life that you believe is on the other side of where you’re at now or get your goals, is through your environment and the majority of your environment consists of the people who surround you and that’s your tribe.

These people are your reinforcers. The people that are around you the most are literally reinforcing in you, whatever habit or belief they have. You’re becoming them and they’re becoming you. We all just rub off on each other. If you’re around a bunch of people who don’t believe it’s possible to do what you want to do or don’t believe it’s normal to be happy or whatever that is that you’re trying to transcend, there’s no way to break that belief if that’s what you are around the most and that’s what you’re listening to.

That’s why I’m so passionate about making sure that you are learning how to start getting the tribe that you need in your life so that you can transcend into this new place in your life, otherwise they’re going to pull you back in to your old beliefs and patterns.”

You’ve got to figure out these strategies and what to say and how to do it because it’s just as important you know just as we take it as serious as having a spouse or significant other, a tribe is just as important to have that positive influence around you so I love that you’ve written a book all about just how to do this. Now, you came from Upper Michigan to L.A., what was that like for you? Did you know people already and were you trying to find friends when you got there?

Lori: “When I came to L.A. I will tell you it was just like moving to another country. I mean they even spoke a different language. Yes I was very English but I wasn’t understanding what was coming out of their mouths. I was like wait what are they even saying?!

First of all I had to change my perspectives. That is always the number one thing that is stopping us from making any friends or the friends that we want. When I moved toL.A. I had the lenses on that women were flaky or that we didn’t understand each other or that we wouldn’t have anything in common. Whatever those lenses are, they’re the things that are stopping you. So you have to first take those off completely and be open, completely open even to that girl that you’re like oh there is no way her and I are connecting!!

What if you just went into it as if this person has something to teach you. There is always something that this person can teach you. And I started to find that when I started to walk in situations or classes or anything more open as if what does this person have to teach me and I ask questions that were a lot more open ended, I started to learn that the people that I thought were for me, yes there still for me but I wasn’t learning as much as the people who I thought were not for me were bringing into my life.

I started really taking off the lenses and looking honestly at what’s stopping me from connecting with people and it’s always me. It’s always, always you. So when you start being open it’s really crazy how the universe just provides, which I talk about in the book I literally go step by step on exactly what you can do. I even provide some scripts. So the script is only there so you can get an idea of how to form your own or read it and say okay I get it, I can see what she was doing here.”

While you’re in person even asking them to you know have a virtual chat next week or get it on the calendar or just take the next step because they’re probably just as nervous as you are and they want to connect. If you’re on the same page for sure.

Lori: “You know, if you’re worried about it coming off as weird or you know aggressive whatever you’re worried about it’s a if you do it in a soft enough way and you give them an out it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if they think you’re a weirdo. It doesn’t matter if someone says no to you. I will tell you if you do that enough you are going to find the most incredible tribe but you can’t imagine your life without afterword. It’s mind blowing what happens when you just put yourself out there.”

I want to ask you what types of tribes are you a part of or what does that look like for you? Do you have an accountability partner? Do you have like a mastermind that you meet with like peer to peer? I know you’re in Lewis Howes mastermind with me so you have a paid one, but does that look like for you?

Lori: “I have that one which I love because it’s more accountability to business, which is great because I also need that where I can be accountable in front of a group to say my goals and then trying to meet them.

But I also love that one just because it really gets me around big thinkers in a room who I typically wouldn’t necessarily pick to be in my tribe. Some of the biggest rewards and surprises comes from the people you wouldn’t necessarily be most comfortable around.

I have another mastermind just two other women. So the three of us we meet every other week we have for the past four years and everything about business, that’s emotional, that’s relationships, that’s an hour to just say where are you at and I might talk more about more things to them than sometimes I do to my husband just like a broader range of things!

I actually have another master mind that I’m a part of that’s more like a traveling mastermind, just like life adventures. As you can tell I need a lot of accountability to get out of my shell! I swear to you I have some weird thing and I know it’s a secret gift but it’s like a week later I’ll be scared again. I’ll be like oh god I’m scared to travel or I can’t go, I don’t want to speak for all those people, I’m nervous!! I was like okay, God I could totally do with out all of these nerves that always come back.

Immediately I got this download and it was like, you would not be able to connect with people and you wouldn’t know what to teach if you didn’t have this. It’s why I need accountability and why I have so many masterminds. You know my podcast’s forces me to connect with people that I wouldn’t typically connect with and I also try to get out and connect with women maybe once a week or once every other week on like a coffee or a lunch date to try to keep growing my network because I’m not going to grow without bringing new ideas into my life.”

Sometimes it can be the best surprise or you meet somebody that you just completely connect with and it’s a great relationship and I never thought about it that way but that’s such a good point. You just gotta keep doing in finding what works for you. In the book you have these seven agreements to have with your tribe and they’re all phenomenal, but I want to pick one of them specifically where I actually had this breakthrough at your book launch party and it was about gossiping.

When you explain what gossip was and are you having these bad intentions or are you maliciously trying to say something negative about somebody OR are you trying to work through a problem? Are you trying to work through whatever the situation is? So I realize now there’s a big difference between gossiping and working through something.

Lori: “I love, love, love that you said that because I have had those guilt feelings as well. I think that as soon as you can name it as good gossip, bad gossip or you know malicious gossip. Which malicious was like you said, it’s really you know when you’re doing it you’re actually trying to change the opinion of the person that you’re gossiping to. You’re you’re trying to make them look down on that person or not like that person.

You know it inside of you, it’s an actual feeling. When you go into the good kind of gossip, you also come from a different place. When you say okay let me clear out trying to sway this other persons opinion and let me actually just get through and try to find a place of peace with this person. You really talk about it and come at it with completely different eyes. I do believe it gets solved a bit quicker.

When I’m about to do the good kind of gossip and work through a situation I say OK, here’s what I’m dealing with, my intention for this is to either you know in the next week or by the end of this conversation or in the next two weeks is to be able to forgive or let go or find peace.

That’s a completely different energy and I’ll tell you that you feel better when you are done, you can move through faster you have so much more clarity, you don’t feel like you have all of these energetic cords attached to everything.”

I think it’s so important that you brought that up when you’re talking about building your tribe and having these relationships with other women you want to set the expectations and make sure they’re on the same page and that it’s this positive environment.

Lori: “I will say the reason for the agreements is also, I wanted to write this book because I also wanted something to blame. Like when you get off track you know sometimes we have these amazing friends and I know I’ve gotten off track plenty of times and it’s like you know in my mastermind where maybe you know we go down the road of gossiping or maybe we go down the road of fear or whatever that looks like and it’s time like we bring each other back by saying, OK, so I love you…but we have these agreements in order to keep all of us happy and moving forward. So kind of like having the book or the agreements to blame and say this is what we agreed on because otherwise what happens is we just tend to go back to our old ways. We’re all guilty because we’re all human. So it’s really there for us. And that is why I really decided to just put them on paper.”

You guys you’ve got to go check out her book. There is so much good stuff in there! We could talk about this for hours and hours and we went through one of these seven agreements and want to make sure you get the other six!!

You can grab her book, A Tribe Called Bliss on Amazon and if you want to connect more with Lori you can find her on Instagram, @loriharder! If you want more of this conversation be sure to listen to episode #287 of the podcast with Lori!