On having your own tribe.

‘No man is an island’ said some poet, high on absinthe and his own ego. And as cliche as it may sound, life proves that it is indeed a true statement, however we interpret it.

KakaoTalk_Photo_2018-07-01-23-11-11_9You are not ment to be doing the fighting all by yourself
– my coworker, by MA.

Living in Seoul, one is surrounded 24/7 by people. The streets, the subway, the buses, the fancy coworking office, the numerous ‘networking*’ events. Yet you have that daunting feeling that all those people around you feel disconnected and very very lonely. Not here to pump each other up with good vibes but more to rain on each others parades. I could come up with statistical algorithms as how this translates to people desperately navigating towards community-enabling institutions like sports clubs (*cough* crossfit), churches. And how those who were not so lucky to come across these often suffer from a whole spectrum of depression-related disorders which sometimes translate to disturbingly high suicide rates. But this would be just pulling numbers out of a hat and making up facts to fit them, that would be at most partially true.

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Random picture of mango sticky rice – a life essential.
– by MA.

The fact is, I have felt lonely oh so many times. I have felt like it was me against the whole world, that wouldn’t even care if I disappeared in a *puff*. There were and are many reasons for that, some of it to due to the fact that I was letting too much negativity into my life, both in form of other (shitty) people, but also in form of the crazy I was letting go and have a party in my head.

However as sad and lonely as I felt, I was blessed to be surrounded by some amazing people, that have always accepted me the way I am, both physically (which is still an issue for me) and personality-wise. Who may have different opinions, but share the same passions and energy, that give me strength that I should accept more willingly (I tell myself I don’t deserve the positivity..).

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One of my tribes – Startup Weekend Seoul crew (Jay, Chris, Songyi)
by TechStars/Jay Kim

I’ve only really realized this over the past week in the vibrant city of Bangkok, Thailand (you’re wonderful but please do something with your transportation system!). I was lucky to be invited to TechStars APAC Summit, as a delegate of Startup Weekend Seoul crew. I could go on on the inspiring sessions (I hijacked ‘Hardware as a Service’ session to pitch my company). On how the evenings were random crazy funness of river boat Punjabi dance-offs and opium bar poker games (it was an ex-opium bar turned cocktail bar!).

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All the love in the room and than some more
– by TechStars

But I will go on about how the atmosphere in the room was like walking into a bowl of skittles: vibrant, full of intense energy and diversity (we had people literally from all over APAC, from Australia to Mongolia, from Bhutan to greater China – name a country and they probably had a rep at this event). Despite all those different backgrounds, cultures, languages, mentalities – all these people shared one thing that brought them together: ‘Give first’. Community leaders for whom other than earning a living and having a comfy life, creating an ecosystem, a strong people-minded foundation for aspiring entrepreneurs and system game changers. Who are not afraid to see a bigger, long term picture, that requires patient work with the foundation groups (the young, women, the elderly, minority groups… that add up to be the majority that just wasn’t given a voice) of the society, through education, motivation and positive encouragement, not just mindless throwing in money and bureaucracy (I’m looking at you, Korean government, looking at you straight in the eye!). That know that their efforts won’t probably be ever recognized (in fact some will try to discredit them and undermine them), but the fruits of their hard work have a chance to pay off in generations to come. These were the incredible ~150 people in the room at Hubba. Those who really do come from the ‘long line of truth seekers, lovers and warriors’**. If I could color the energy in the room it  would be bubblegum pink with streaks of magenta and sky blue (fyi. I’m colorblind). It was like Woodstock sans the drugs (that I know of). In this shitty world full of bullshit lies, violence and hatred, it was all that was needed to restore your belief in mankind. At least for those 3 blissful days.

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‘Girl down’ as opposed to ‘man up’ – let your emotions go and embrace them!
– by MA.

As community leaders take #givefirst too much emphasis, often that not forgetting that before they can love the world they have to love and care for themselves, a lot of the Summit’s activities was focused on self-development and self-preservation. On how to maintain that burning fire inside, without slipping into the devious circle of burnout and anxiety. Lessons were learned and hopefully will be implemented not only in community, but in everyday jobs and lives. Because really #givefirst starts with giving yourself the strength and confidence and love to step up and become the courageous fighter, that we all have inside of us. We are not alone and are not meant to be.  

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My partner-in-crime, Jay, making a presentation on future of work
– by TechStars.

With +150 new Facebook friends from all over the world, some unforgettable memories and restored energy batteries, I am ready to pick up my game with Django Girls Seoul and Startup Weekend. But most importantly I am ready to celebrate the joy of giving with my own little tribe of amazing people.

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So proud!

 

 

*real networking events are still somewhat a foreign concept here.

**the equally incredible, albait insane, Hunter S. Thompson.

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