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  • Writer's pictureTribes Team

Its ok to take the lead, rejoice in it, be grateful of your blessed abilities

As the founder of, it was a daunting task to pull all the pieces together. Talk about doing business all over the world, in big cities, working globally with investors, programmers, and experts. Working in different time zones and time clocks. To do it well and to take it this far, I had to go all in. As a student of tribal history, I admire the honorable trade networks that once existed throughout the world. The networks were based not just on goods but on sharing culture/teachings/songs/dance and ceremonial thought. I always thought about recreating inter-tribal trade systems patterned on this history of honorable trade. I never realized that in today’s advanced technological world, I would be at the center of creating a system based on this valuable honored system through a global commerce platform. To develop this, beyond my regular job, I had to work many hours, burned many late evenings, traveled to major world cities, and learned a completely new field.

I was thinking about the journey I am on the other day and realized that doing something like this is very similar to running a race and taking on the honor to lead the pack. Ever since grade school, I have been a competitive runner. I have never been afraid to run upfront, to lead the pack, to hurt. Every time you do this, it’s a big risk. Somedays it is really painful, especially on a hot day and when the trail is sandy and hilly. As you set the pace, you don’t know what is going to happen. You don’t know if a runner is just drafting off you as happens on a windy day. Some runners stay back and relax as they have strong ending kick and sprint speed. Some do well uphill. Everyone employs different strategies. As a 50+ year old runner, I offer thanks every day to our Diyin, Holy ones, for enabling me to still run/race hard at this age. In fact I still win many 5ks I enter.

In a race, when you decide to lead, when you decide to risk it all, you are up front. You feel the pain, you experience the thoughts and the challenge of your competition. You think about many things like whether you have gone out too hard, trained right, rested well, ate the right breakfast, drank enough water, whether someone has trained harder, etc.. This is the especially the case if you open up a gap. Every thought imaginable goes through your head. What I have discovered is that if you do it enough you start enjoying it. You start loving the idea and rejoice in that you even have the ability to run up front, that you can push the pace. This is more so as I get older. In my estimate, there is a 50% chance that you will win or lose. So why not give it a shot and go all in.

I was reminded of this recently when I was running a race in one of our tribal communities. I was running with two young men and we opened up a gap on the field. They were a lot younger and I noticed that they kept staying behind me, staying close, and they were really hurting, had their heads down and were sweating and breathing hard. So I started talking to them. I told them that you guys have to enjoy being in the lead, you don’t know what is going to happen. You are already here, so enjoy it. Enjoy that you are pushing the pace and that you are challenging other runners. It’s the only way you are going to find out if you are going to succeed or not. You have put in the work, you’re in shape, you’re disciplined in your training. So don’t be afraid of leading and being upfront, enjoy it. Don’t be afraid to make me hurt. After that, they both came to life, they found a whole new gear, almost like they found meaning in their running. They took off on the uphill and beat me handily. I was very proud of those boys as they embraced leading. I was cheering them on from behind as they crossed the finish line.

At the highest level of running, to compete requires discipline in all areas: careful diet, meditation, good rest, relaxed mind, cross and strength training.

As with leading a race, starting a companies like and in new fields is similarly challenging. Especially for someone like me. I was raised by my great grandparents in a Navajo Hogan with no running water or electricity far from any urban area, and spoke only our traditional language. Herding sheep in the canyons of my youth and reading about the world, I never knew I would someday be doing what Im doing. Over the years, I have embraced leading and have been rewarded by our blessed Holy Beings many times for that courage.

So whatever it is you are doing, whether its starting a new venture, have an unique idea, want to do something totally out of the ordinary, make the decision to take the risk. Enjoy how it feels to lead the pack, and rejoice that you have the ability to even do that. Yes there are risks. Sometimes things work out though. If you work hard, are prepared mentally, spiritually, physically, you will achieve. In our tribal way, we are taught to offer morning prayer to give thanks for what we are blessed with and to plan our day, our interactions, our goals. We ask that the journey be light and beautiful. If you do just this one thing on your journey, you increase your chances of success in carrying out all facets of being prepared to lead the field in your chosen race. Ahxehee!

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