Are you offering a seat or hoping to fill one?

In the movie, Forest Gump, there is a scene where Forest first meets the love of his life, Jenny. As a young boy, he gets on the bus for the first day of school. He walks through the bus, looking for a seat. Each kid informs him that all the open spots are taken. At that moment when he seems broken and just stands in a daze, a small voice says, “You can sit here, if you want.” As Forest recollects this moment, he refers to Jenny’s voice as “the sweetest voice in the whole wide world.”

As awesome as Forest was, this moment is about Jenny. Jenny had plenty of her own issues and things going on in her life, but she still made a space for Forest.

Here are a few reasons why we should all be making a seat for others and not waiting for them to make a seat for us.

If you’re waiting, you’re just daydreaming.

In the same scene above, after Forest has met rejection, he stands there gazing off into the distance. He wasn’t sitting. He wasn’t moving. He was just there; pondering. Often, if we find ourselves waiting on others, we aren’t actually doing much, let alone what we hoped to accomplish. If you haven’t gotten started on what you want to do in life because you are waiting for the right people to come along and help, you are doing nothing but wishful thinking. It’s time to get going and take action.

If you’re not on a journey, you won’t meet any fellow travelers.

When I was about 7 years old, I had a dream that Janet Jackson pulled me on stage with her at a concert. We sang and danced and rocked peoples faces off. But, it was a dream. Janet never found me in real life. And she never will. Because that was a dream and she has no idea who I am. I never went on a journey to find her (mostly because I am not a stalker & Janet has nothing to do with what I do now).

Also, outside of pesky salesmen, I have never had a traveler come knock on my door at home and tell me that they are looking for somebody like me to join them. If they had, I might call the police on them…because that’s creepy. Just as Janet might have called the police on me, had I done the same.

However, throughout my journey of life, thus far, I have met some incredible people. These people have imparted incredible wisdom and insight into my life. Had I not had moments where I put myself out there and made the trek, our paths would have never crossed.

Meeting other travelers is a worthy investment of time.

I would actually argue that it is the most important investment of time. A few years ago, I took the trip of a lifetime and traveled to the UK with my best friend. We went to a lot of places in the span of 2 weeks. I saw incredible sites and ate some delicious food. But what I remember the most are the people that I met. Tea time with fellow travelers and their perception of Americans. Tattoos in Glasgow with Ferg. Dinner at the pub with Marion. Moments in time that are now precious in my heart. People I would have never met or made an impression on me if I wouldn’t have gotten on that 10 hour flight and flown across the world.

It’s the same when we talk about the pursuit of our dreams and passions. When we are open to sharing a seat, people will show up to accompany and strengthen us along our journey. We aren’t meant to do this alone. We have things to share and things to learn.

Photo by: The Amberlight Collective

Your tribe is out there.

Often in life, we believe that our journey should be with particular people. And so we wait. This group of people, in popular culture today, is often referred to as your “tribe.” It’s a group of people who may do what you do or think how you think. It’s the people that you surround yourself with and who spur you on. When we keep a seat open, it’s much easier to discover who these people are. They may need your help, you may need theirs. You may just need some company along the way.

Be careful not to force yourself to fit into somebody else’s tribe.

There are a lot of people out there doing some great things. You may deeply admire these people. Don’t let the admiration overshadow the fact that you have your own gifts and talents to offer. Your tribe should be people on your level who can be honest with you and you with them. If you attempt to force yourself into somebody else’s tribe you run the risk of not staying true to yourself and your gifts, out of a need to be accepted by this tribe.

Don’t get caught waiting for a tribe to ask you to join. You could be waiting a long time or even forever. And remember, if you’re not moving forward, you’re just daydreaming. This is your life. Waiting to fit in somebody else’s tribe could cause you to completely miss the bus altogether.

If I chose to continue daydreaming with Janet, I would never have met my tribe. I’ve met my tribe by taking action and surrounding myself with like-minded people. And so will you. You probably already have a tribe and haven’t even realized it. Your tribe will continue to evolve and change throughout time. If you don’t have a tribe yet, be Jenny. Be on the bus, going in a forward motion and keep a seat open for others. Don’t wait for community, create it.

Are you keeping a seat open along your journey? Have you been hoping to fit into somebody else’s tribe? What lessons have you learned along your journey? Please share in the comments.

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