• Tribes Team

Success with Harmony: Rise early, pray, grind, and grow always

Updated: Aug 21, 2019

You may ask yourself what does it take to succeed? There are many self help gurus in our world all offering good strategy from their experiences. We as tribal people are raised with values of adherence to culture, family, and community. We are taught not to be selfish, to be humble, and live a life of harmony with the living elements of the earth. To get our formulas for success then, we must look to our own teachings, model those that are successful maybe in things that are vital to the tribe such as a dance choreographer, a singer, and traditional home builder, livestock or farming expert. We also can translate some of the formulas created by the experience of high achievers in the world and figure out how to carefully integrate some of the tools into our lives. We are excited to offer you our version of success coaching entitled "Success with Harmony". We will offer articles and perspectives such as the one below on a fellow high achiever. Enjoy the series.


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After meeting Daymond John recently, I was excited to read his book “Rise and Grind”, which describes many of Daymond’s successful friends who don’t sit on their laurels as they enjoy the grind of working towards something. In his book, he writes about some of the most accomplished actresses and entrepreneurs in the world and what gives them the energy and strategy to carry on their grind. Like the individuals he writes about, I have accomplished so much from education, changing the Navajo Nation government for the better, constantly working to build our communities and people using every increasing innovation. If your reading this, you are probably a grinder too. You accomplish one thing, celebrate a bit, and are ready to do something else, to achieve another game changer. In our tribal communities, grinders are very common. It could be that aunt that takes care of the ranch, ensures all the farming is done well, that kids have the proper ceremonies, that ensures the cattle, sheep and horses are of the best breeding and health. They usually ensure a strong home and are the matriarchs of the family or community. They worry that all their kids have the best of jewelry and strong health and mind. Another could be that uncle that knows all the dances, sings at many ceremonies, is an accomplished mechanic or welder, and ensures that the family has firewood for the winter. He usually knows everything about livestock and can handle the wildest of horses with ease. In the modern day, we all have a bit of these two in us along with our modern professions and sometimes, many keep two homes: the rez home and the city home. Often times, we put on our rancher tribal community hat come Friday evening and our city professional hat back on come Monday morning. This is the modern day grind of our successful people: modern day warriors and princesses driven to accomplish and seize the day with gusto.

As you grind, its important to understand that our grandparents instilled their values of the grind into all of us. Yes, its their fault. Grinding was necessary for the tribe and families survival. But they also understood that we need to have a healthy balance. That we should have time for family time, to have ceremony and prayer, to be strong and healthy for the grind. We are supposed to have protection prayers because grinders can make others envious. One should run early in the morning, exercise, eat healthy, offer prayers and offering to the early morning Gods. One should be dignified with the decorations of mother earth and the sacred mountains. That is why its considered honorable to wear our jewelry as is the custom of most tribes. We should celebrate our hard work too, hence the social gatherings and dances. We are taught also the virtue of sharing the fruits of our success by helping relatives and community, to ensure that elders are warm and children are properly clothed.

When one gets out of balance, something inside, an inner voice tells us that we are overdoing it. Its important to listen to that voice. We may start over grinding or let things get to us which can happen to the best of us. The over grind can result in sickness, an unexpected cold, stress, drinking, unhealthy eating, smoking, and other behaviors. When one reaches this stage, its important to take stock of what happened. To understand its ok, that no one is perfect. To know that this mishap is a part of the longer game plan. To figure out a mindful strategy to get back into balance and health. Each tribe has strategy for this. In some it’s a prayer, sweat, smoke, dancing, rest, reviewing things, being patient.

We all have witnessed an older successful grinder: an elegant man or women that is dressed fine, has strong and calm demeanor, is physically and mentally sound, is honed by decades of grinding, has the presence of honor and respect, is noted for their accomplishments across many areas including tribal responsibility and professional achievement, and has raised a good family. Even at their age, they still give back to their community and serve as leaders in their family. In many tribes, we aspire to someday reach the white hair stage where we have ultimate contentment on the good life we have lived. For a grinder, when they reach this age, its ultimate joy. Its important to get there healthy and happily.

With Daymond John from the tv show Shark Tank

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