Religious gatherings. Branches of the military. Alumni organizations. Browns Fans. Rotary Clubs. These tribes all operate a network of people who have past or current experiences, a common thread. Having this connection can make it easy to move to a new town. Are you new to town? Well, if you’re missing Boston, all you need to do is put on your Tom Brady jersey and head to the closest Patriots bar on gameday and you’ll find your people. For Goldie and I, when moving to San Diego just under a year ago, all we had to do was show up to the tribe and we had officially arrived. This is a luxury. It is.
This new-to-town vibe, challenge, and obstacle is an interesting hurdle in life and I couldn’t stop thinking about it yesterday.
It was Monday morning at November Project San Diego and I was in a group with my hot wife Goldie, our local tribe pal Kevin Steinbuch, and our old friend Lauren Klinker. The workout was a unique team circuit that involved member 1 sprinting up a giant grassy hill tagging the street with their foot and returning back to the group, while member 2 did pushups until they were tagged out by the returning member 1, while members 3 & 4 did deep throw & catch pumpkin tosses back and forth. It was fucking hilarious and insanely hard.
I was happy to see Lauren as she isn’t really a part of the SD tribe, but instead has belonged to many tribes. Lauren was a core NP Boston member back when things were getting wild in 2012. She’s since taken her educational journey on the road and has ended up in multiple NP cities where she quickly jumps into the closest tribe. She’s going to be a doctor one day but in the meantime she’s a member of November Project Baltimore.
On one of my hill sprints I shot a look over to an overly smiley human who I recognized right away. Jennifer Taylor, or Jen, has been a core member of the Madison tribe and is currently on a quarter year soul/job/city searching effort to find her passion, her new home, and her people. When talking to Jen later in the day one thing was clear as day, “I’m going to end up in a place that has an NP tribe or a city that is at least pledging to one day have a tribe. These are just my people and I feel it in each of these cities I’ve dropped into over the last few months.” Jen is one of those people that shoots bolts of energy from her eyeballs when she speaks or listens. She is going to be fine in this world but for now is roaming with her car and her list of NP cities to visit.
Last but clearly not least, this new-to-town hat-trick theme was rounded off yesterday with an intro phone call with the newest Co-Leader in the #Iron26 November Project movement. Her name is Kelsey Duckett and she’s co-running the show at November Project Seattle, one of our newest tribes. We FaceTimed for a while before I shot her straight: “Why do you want to do this?” She was ready for that question as if she wakes up thinking about her main reason. She didn’t bring up running, fitness, or even hearing all too much about it – In fact, she never even went to the November Project Madison group when she lived in Madison within the time that the tribe was alive on Bascom Hill. She didn’t say that she was inspired by other leaders or that she had been a member of the tribe in Seattle since day 1. She said that she was new to town. She said that she loved the way she felt heading to, during, and after her 60 mines at Gasworks Park (where NP Seattle does their thing on Wednesday mornings). She said that she felt amazing in a time when everything was new and not exactly easy or nice or welcoming. She said that this gave her, and the few fellow Seattle newbies that she brought along, a way to unlock the city and really get to know people who, “must all be people we want to know based on the fact that we are all here at this hour doing NP.”
After getting to know an amazing family of pros, and true powerful BRAND, like The North Face over the past year, we’ve found ourselves in conversations where people are calling November Project a brand. It always makes me feel odd. We never set out with thoughts of being a business or even a start-up. But people keep making that call, the BRAND of November Project. After all, we have a way in which you can earn the logo, pitch our workouts, a way in which we do things, and a heavy list of characteristics that separate what we do each morning from other gatherings in town while simultaneously being a thread that keeps us all connected as one 26 city tribe. November Project as a brand still doesn’t feel right but on a day like yesterday I was feeling like we have even more of a place than simply a workout group.
You ask someone who knows about warm weather gear to name a few of the best brands in the world you’ll be sure to hear them say “The North Face” within seconds. They will. It is a well known brand with that reputation.
You ask anyone who knows the power of November Project and what it is like to move to a new city that has a November Project tribe waiting for them and they’ll say that they’re eager to get there. Lauren on her way to being a stud doctor never misses an NP workout when she’s waking up all over the US. Jen, on her way to finding the job/home/city/purpose in this part of her life will take her next step with a sturdy 26 city framework. And our newest co-leader in the family Kelsey Duckett will always keep an eye peeled for the next round of new-to-town faces on the edges of her tribe that need an in. Tip of the cap to Kosta, Tantek, Toni, Pickles, FlashMan, Andrew Ference, Pete Kruse, Jess Lovelace, The Point Loma Family, Lauren Goodman, Goldie Graham, and the many others who globe trot with NP as the pathway or dropped into their new hometown alarm clocks first. November Project makes me proud regularly and generally but yesterday was about admitting that we are very fucking good at being a way for people to land in new cities. Can we be that kind of brand? Is that a brand? The new to town brand? Can we jump right to the top with our hugs the most fun brand? The most smiley brand? A brand of good, real connections? The hardworking all-paces brand?
Brand or not, we provide a luxury for many people out there because of the kindness, hugging, intensity and fun that awaits them at November Project. Hats off to those of you on the move and an even larger salute to the Co-Leaders who keep these communities carved into stone as a place that newbies & visitors can land and immediately feel at home.
(Your New Phone Background Pattern Design by Bryan Maniates Baysore of November Project Los Angeles)