One Author’s Quest for Tribal Leadership

This is a guest post by Mary DeMuth. She is an author, speaker and book mentor with eight published books, including her most recent, Thin Places. Mary also mentors writers on her Wanna Be Published blog. She is also active on Twitter and Facebook. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

The quest started over dinner with my agent. “You need to stop,” she told me. “You’re doing too many things. Stop spreading yourself so thin.”

Aerial View of a Crowd - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Nikada, Image #10098861

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Nikada

That was last summer, culminating a stress-induced year of running after every opportunity, not considering if it fit the way God made me or my mission. I see now that so much of what I chased after was based on fear, particularly worry over money. So I said yes to everything. And gave myself a nice little ulcer.

So I gave a few things up, but as winter crept forward, I turned off my “No” and embraced my “Yes” again. Which was fine, since I am one of those crazy high-capacity people. But eventually burnout erupted, and I decided it was time to revisit my agent’s advice. But how?

I read Tribes, by Seth Godin. And I resonated with his words. Tribes are the people we lead. A tribe can be a small group or large. It’s the group of folks you influence.

A little background: I’d been through a lot of marketing training by this point, but I hadn’t given myself permission to truly allow myself to decide who I am. I tended to bend to the experts and acquiesce to their words, yet deep down I knew the tribe I wanted to lead. And since it didn’t fit a particular “safe” model, I was afraid to name it. So I kept safe, twittering and Facebooking all over the map.

Enter Thin Places. The book of my heart. My memoir. I poured my life, my soul onto the page. When I read for the audio book in Nashville, the producer stopped recording partway through. He said, “Why did you write this book?”

“I don’t want people who struggle to feel alone.”

Something resonated when I gave that answer.

And when I started getting email upon email (far more than I’d ever received from other books) and phone calls and gifts from strangers. I knew the readers of Thin Places were my tribe.

Still, I needed direction. So I orchestrated a few strategies that may be helpful to you as you discern your tribe:

  1. Ask your tribe. The readers of my ezine, Inside Renewal were the closest folks to my tribe in one place that I had.

    So I asked: “What is my one thing?” My inbox flooded with answers, almost all of which had to do with communicating in an authentic way so people who struggled would find healing. Bingo!

    You can do this same thing by sending a wide variety of people you know an email asking them to help you define you and your ministry.

  2. Seek professional help. My friend Guy Richards at Abiah walked me through this process. In the end, after he asked me amazing questions, I wrote this: “To craft and communicate stories in such an authentic way that strugglers find healing and no longer feel alone.” Wow, that was so me! But it took someone gifted in brand management to get me to that place.

    I also asked my friend Sarah Markley for her expertise in analyzing my blog. Her input helped me change the way I do things. Just this week my traffic tripled because I wrote posts specifically geared to my tribe.

    My friend Randy Ingermanson spent several hours with me helping me define my tribe and how I could better minister to them. These were folks God placed in my life. My hunch is that He’s placed strategic people in your life who can take you through this process.

  3. Do some soul-searching. Frederick Buechner says that the place that you ought to serve is “where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.” So define that.

    In your opinion, what is the world’s greatest need? (Everyone’s will be different). What is your greatest joy? How do they intersect in your life right now? How would you like them to?

    Another exercise: List your three favorite movies. (Don’t think about it; just list them.) Now look over your list. What is the common thread in all three? That common thread is typically your passion colliding with the world’s greatest need.

So what does this mean? It means I had too many tribes, so I’ve had to say goodbye to some followers. It means I finally have given myself permission to be the woman God has called me to be—to share with men and women the healing God can bring to broken lives. It means I now have focus. It means that my story has meaning in the great scheme of the kingdom of God.

And it means I can rest in God’s sovereignty as I pray for the success of Thin Places. My hope is that it hand sells, struggler to struggler, much the way Blue Like Jazz or Same Kind of Different as Me touched folks. I have no doubt those authors knew their personal collision of the world’s greatest need with their greatest passion. And it’s my sincere prayer that you would discover the intersection too as you seek to define your one thing, your tribe, and the direction of your ministry.

Questions: What do you see as the world’s greatest need? What is your greatest passion?
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  • http://sandraking-beholding-god.blogspot.com/ Sandra King

    What a perfect picture to illustrate how our lives can blur when our boundaries blur!

    That quote by Buechner is one of my top 5 favorites.

    As far as my one passion, I've finally, after 60 years, narrowed it down to writing, which means a lot of other passions have to go. I don't have the "why" nicely packaged yet, but it has to do with helping others get excited about what is within the pages of the Bible and to get a glimpse of His hand working even through their pain–that He is in still control when everything seems chaotic.

    Love you, Mary! And thanks for this.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Sandra, that's a great journey you've been on. I pray right now that God would fulfill His plans through you. May He strengthen you to help others get excited about the Bible!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

    Mary, I am fast approaching a crossroads with my blog, so I'm grateful for your input. I'm almost finished writing my book through my blog, and now I have to come up with a plan to maximize my traffic as I put together a book proposal and query agents. I am considering making a design change and expanding my web site to include more than just my blog. I covet your prayers

    The world's greatest need and my passion intersect in the understanding of God's absolute love. If what the Bible says is real, then God's love will obliterate the power of evil. Since I am eager to be part of that victory, I am passionate about helping people understand the depth of what Christ accomplished on the cross and about encouraging them to manifest God's absolute love.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Wow, Patricia, that's a great task you have. It's hard to understand God's love. May the Lord help you frame His love in such a compelling way that others can't help but realize His love afresh.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

        Thank you and I agree with your prayer.

        • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

          Amen!

  • http://sandraking-beholding-god.blogspot.com/ Sandra King

    Oh–off my head. Three favorite movies: Sound of Music, Independence Day, Twister.

    Yikes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      The thread: Outsiders realizing their potential through trials and then overcoming huge obstacles. Does that describe either your life or your heart for others?

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/heidibylsma heidibylsma

    It has been so great to see this process unfold for you for the past couple of months from my thought of 'Wow, she is everywhere and doing everything," to receiving your email asking the question, to seeing you (in obedience) scale back…and now your explanation. Thank you for not only verbalizing what the process has been, but for obeying the Lord and giving an example for others of us to see. I am new to this entire "tribes" thing (learned a tiny bit about it for my first *real* book proposal) and you have just taken my very fundamental, skeletal understanding and put some meat on it. I feel better able to pray about this, in fact. Not only that, but I want to avoid burnout, so you have given me plenty of motivation to be sure I am intentional. Continued blessings on your ministry and mission, Mary. THANK YOU.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Heidi, I am so glad you're asking these questions now before you publish. I wish I could go backwards in time and shake myself! But the journey has been helpful to bring me to this place.

  • http://cherylbarker.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Barker

    Mary, thanks so much for sharing the insight you've gleaned from your journey thus far. What a helpful post — showing us how to discern our one thing and develop our focus. Thank you!

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      You're very welcome, Cheryl. So, what are your three movies, and what is the thread that ties them all together?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/LauraLeeShaw LauraLeeShaw

    Mary, I thought I left a comment already, but I guess I didn't. I've been seeking advice and praying over what my one thing is…I'm spread too thin already, and I haven't even published a book yet! Apparently, I don't have the same threshold as you. :0 So thankful for the example you are setting, as well as the ministry path you have chosen. I just finished "Thin Places" a second time, and it was even more powerful.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      You read it twice? That's really cool to hear. Thank you!

      It is a crazy journey we're on, isn't it? Be thankful that you're thinking strategically NOW about these things!

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/therealmotherlode therealmotherlode

    Wow Mary. You put the cherry on top of the many musings I've had lately. (That, defining my tribe.) I especially loved the three movies questions….the common theme for me…redemption in the midst of difficulty. I write about learning differences in children and find great joy in encouraging parents to reframe the many challenges differently wired kids will bring into the home.

    Thank you so much for helping bring more clarity to my dreams….you're pretty amazing!

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      What a great thing you're writing about. Godspeed on that! The world needs your words!

  • http://mochawithlinda.blogspot.com Mocha with Linda

    Mary, You are such a blessing. While I have not personally had the same journey of struggles and heartache that you have, this is such an encouragement to minister where God has led. I first got an inkling of this when we joined our church 6+ years ago. They want folks to serve according to their gifts, experiences, and passion. What a joy to serve in such a capacity rather than feeling hounded all the time and unable to say "no".

    Thanks fro you authenticity, your vulnerability, and your obedience.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Linda, I love that your church is thinking this way!

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Kudos to your church for helping people find their passion!

      • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

        Sorry for the repeat comment. The first one didn't go up, or so I thought.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/merrilewis Merri Lewis

    The worlds greatest need, and my greatest passion…how do they intersect right now…. Well, I'd have to say at this point in my life, the worlds greatest need is to know a Savior that is bigger than our circumstance and loves us with a crazy passion, and has us in his hand at all times. My greatest joy or passion right now, is in learning about God through my kids-2 have autism. God is showing me so much about how parenting a child with autism is so much like God caring for us. How do they intersect now? I started blogging about it athttp://merrilewis.wordpress.com I want in the future, to be able to reach more people on more topics than just autism… cults, sexual abuse, ptsd, etc. To show Gods love and redemption through the trials of my life.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Merri, that is an amazing niche! So great! I love the idea of God teaching us about him through our children. Dan Allender wrote a great book about that called, "How Children Raise Parents." Keep up the good work.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/merrilewis Merri Lewis

    The worlds greatest need, and my greatest passion…how do they intersect right now…. Well, I'd have to say at this point in my life, the worlds greatest need is to know a Savior that is bigger than our circumstance and loves us with a crazy passion, and has us in his hand at all times. My greatest joy or passion right now, is in learning about God through my kids-2 have autism. God is showing me so much about how parenting a child with autism is so much like God caring for us. How do they intersect now? I started blogging about it athttp://merrilewis.wordpress.com I want in the future, to be able to reach more people on more topics than just autism… cults, sexual abuse, ptsd, etc. To show Gods love and redemption through the trials of my life.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/merrilewis Merri Lewis

    The worlds greatest need, and my greatest passion…how do they intersect right now…. Well, I'd have to say at this point in my life, the worlds greatest need is to know a Savior that is bigger than our circumstance and loves us with a crazy passion, and has us in his hand at all times. My greatest joy or passion right now, is in learning about God through my kids-2 have autism. God is showing me so much about how parenting a child with autism is so much like God caring for us. How do they intersect now? I started blogging about it athttp://merrilewis.wordpress.com I want in the future, to be able to reach more people on more topics than just autism… cults, sexual abuse, ptsd, etc. To show Gods love and redemption through the trials of my life.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/merrilewis Merri Lewis

    The worlds greatest need, and my greatest passion…how do they intersect right now…. Well, I'd have to say at this point in my life, the worlds greatest need is to know a Savior that is bigger than our circumstance and loves us with a crazy passion, and has us in his hand at all times. My greatest joy or passion right now, is in learning about God through my kids-2 have autism. God is showing me so much about how parenting a child with autism is so much like God caring for us. How do they intersect now? I started blogging about it athttp://merrilewis.wordpress.com I want in the future, to be able to reach more people on more topics than just autism… cults, sexual abuse, ptsd, etc. To show Gods love and redemption through the trials of my life.

  • http://writingwhilethericeboils.blogspot.com/ Debbie Allen

    Wonderful post, Mary. Thank you for your transparency, which helps all of us who are still on the road to publication find a less bumpy path! It’s refreshing to see an example of someone who says, “I can’t do it all!” in a world where we pretend we can.

    My three movies are August Rush, Ever After, and The Blind Side. A definite theme of orphans overcoming in all of them, probably due to 15 years of working with single parents and their kids. Every one of my stories features an orphan.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I loved August Rush. Many people thought it was cheesy, but I was inspired. I especially liked the guitar music.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

        Yeah, that music was truly inspired and fresh.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      I certainly can't do it all. Interesting comment about orphans! I believe Jesus is in the face of orphans, no matter what form they take. Kudos to you for working with single parents.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      I certainly can't do it all. Interesting comment about orphans! I believe Jesus is in the face of orphans, no matter what form they take. Kudos to you for working with single parents.

  • http://forrest-long.blogspot.com Forrest Long

    What a great post, particularly for me right now. I’m getting spread too thin. I have been writing and painting and now returning to pastoral ministry and am at the place where I really need to prioritize. I need to take the advice I have given to others- “The need is not the call.” Then just do what my heart is focused on. Thanks for your advice!

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Yes, love that, "the need is not the call." I have so many needs around me and can easily feel overwhelmed.

  • http://www.flurrycreations.com/theblog John

    Mary, that was so well communicated. I have the great opportunity to speak on these subjects and every time see God change lives through the message. It is the first time I have really understood what Christ meant by abundant life. I think I will really enjoy Thin Places.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      John, Thanks for purchasing Thin Places. I pray it blesses you. Let me know what you think about it. Thanks for your kind words about my post.

  • http://lifeofashley.wordpress.com Ashley Johnson

    Wow. That spoke to a very raw, deep place in me today. I need to go read Tribes…Thin Places let me know it's okay to have hurt and a painful past. Since I finished the book, God has thrown opportunities at me to share my pain with young women and let them know it's okay, and that God will use this time for good, even if they can't see it right now. I think they are my tribe. My three fave movies-The Blind Side, My Best Friend's Wedding and The Godfather…theme-being willing to sacrifice in big ways in order to see others achieve great things. Thanks for this post. I didn't know I needed to hear this today, but thankfully God did.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Ashley, I am so thankful to see that God used Thin Places to help YOU minister to others. Wow. Thanks for sharing that.

      The theme you mentioned, does it weave its way through your message? Your writing? Just curious.

  • http://ironmakeover.blogspot.com/ Sara Cox Landolt

    I write encouragement for triathletes. Thanks for this post! I've read several of Mary's books and was excited to be an influencer for Thin Places. My review of Thin Places touched another woman (Brenda) who leads a healing ministry at her church. I can't wait to meet Brenda this October – we're both attending a women's only triathlon conference (GOTRIbal) in San Diego! One reader at a time! Powerful work Mary!

  • Robbie Iobst

    Mary, I'm reading Thin Places right now and loving it. So rich and textured, it's like being served up a banquet of story. I love this post so much I am going to print it and put it up. I haven't read Tribes but maybe I'll pick it up. The other day I had a discussion about my "tribe" and it occured to me that I hadn't defined who that group is. I'm excited to do some work on this. You are an amazing woman and writer Mary and once again you've influenced my little world. :0)

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Thanks for printing the post! I'm glad it's been a positive influence. Keep writing, Robbie!

  • http://www.deemms.wordpress.com Deanna Albrecht

    Wow, this post felt like it was written for me from the first word to the end!

    Like you, I want to do it all and God continues to patiently remind me that all the things I desire are good, but He has the BEST thing in mind for me.

    I loved that you asked these questions too. My answer to the world’s greatest need: to be assured that everything that our hearts search for can be found in a relationship with God.

    Thank you!

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Yep, I wrote it just for you, Deanna! :)

      So, how do you specifically address the world's greatest need, Deanna? Writing? Speaking? One on one?

  • tricia

    hello and greetings. My name is tricia and my tribe I believe are those that are in the darkness still and for those where God's mercy might be lacking. My greatest passion is to encourage others in a positive way, if only somehow ~ though I do not share in a complete story/testimony at this time which calls for people not to head to my honest encouragements and thoughts from the heart because they don't believe in me and my relationship with God. Thank you for sending this blog entry to me. Love, Trish.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Lucy.Ann.Moll Lucy Ann Moll

    This is awesome, Mary. I needed this. . .especially today. I may not have an ulcer — I hope you're feeling better : ) — but I'm stressed over work: particularly my direction.

    I'll try the movie exercise. This could be tough. I don't think I have favorites. Wait, I just thought of one: Kung Fu Panda.

    Thanks again. You're precious.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Lucy Ann, the ulcer's better, thankfully. And what exactly resonates with you about Kung Fu Panda?

      • http://www.facebook.com/Lucy.Ann.Moll Lucy Ann Moll

        First, an admission: I have a black belt in karate so I get into martial arts films. However, Kung Fu Panda is one of the very few DVDs I've ever purchased.

        Digging deeper, I like the theme that someone who has been dismissed or set aside can and does achieve that to which he is called. I guess the story of struggle and victory resonates with me.

        I like Blind Side for the same reason. The HS boy is dismissed/forgotten then someone believes in him and he achieves much. Again, struggle and victory. It's not achievement that matter to me as much as someone took time to notice, to care, to come alongside.

        • http://www.facebook.com/Lucy.Ann.Moll Lucy Ann Moll

          In my childhood and teen years, my parents were absorbed in their own difficulties (person and marital) to pay much attention to my brother and me. I learned to do things at an earlier age than most kids out of necessity.

          The positive: I became self-sufficient and achieved much. The negative: I became self-sufficient and suffered more. With God out of the picture, what's the point of life? I put him out of my picture and turned to people-pleasing and pretention. Then I allowed him back in and found real hope.

          Thanks for asking, Mary.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

            Oh, such good insights here. And I bet your life message has something to do with letting go of control, giving it to God and letting Him be the strength within.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/amysorrells Amy

    Incredible and inspiring post, Mary. Certainly puts a new spin on "birds of a feather." I'm so grateful for you and your message; your humility in seeking hard after God and His will for your life; your courage in leading the broken . . . no wonder I want to be like you when I grow up. :) Between the wisdom packed into this post and listening to Amy Grant's new song, "Better than a Hallelujah" for the first time yesterday, my passions are renewed this morning. Oh, and three favorite movies off the top of my head? School of Rock, Pride and Prejudice (Kiera Knightly version), and Up. I don't know if I want to know what the common thread is . . . lol! (Oh, and at first glance, I thought you said Guy Ritchie was your professional help.)

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      I'm glad your passions are renewed, sweet Amy.

      Ha ha, yeah, that Guy RItchie has great things to say! :)

      The common thread: people on the fringe coming into their own and changing other people's lives who live on the fringe….

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Peter_P Peter_P

    Mary,

    You rock!

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Thanks Peter!

  • http://lynnmosher.blogspot.com Lynn Mosher

    As one of those you questioned, I’m so glad to hear that you’re seeking and prayers have been answered and you have a clear focus. And I pray the ulcer is healing. I have obeyed God from the beginning when He called me to write, so I want to continue writing to give Him glory and to be of benefit to others through their pain and in their relationship with the Lord.

    This post could not have come at a better time for me. I have felt stirrings in my spirit to widen or change my focus. I’ve been pondering and praying on what this might be. Your words were a God-send. I am always blessed by what you write. Thank you for following the Lord! May He bless you in all you do!

    Now, I just have to figure out what the heck these three have in common: The Bishop’s Wife, It’s a Wonderful Life, and You’ve Got Mail!

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Thanks so much, Lynn.

      Hmm, on the movies. There is a romantic element in each one….

    • http://www.creationinspirations.com Cheryl Pickett

      Hey Lynn, we haven't met up virtually in quite a while, so fun to see you here! Hope all is well.

    • http://www.creationinspirations.com Cheryl Pickett

      Hey Lynn, we haven't met up virtually in quite a while, so fun to see you here! Hope all is well.

  • http://www.noveljourney.blogspot.com Gina Holmes

    Mary, what a great post! What a cool way to get to know yourself…the 3 movies. Clever! Mine off the top of my head were: Shindler's List, Motorcycle Diaries and Life is Beautiful. To me a clear thread between these. I don't have time to meditate on it at the moment, but I will revisit this after my deadline. You have a clear brand and are reaching many of the people you are hoping to. I wished you were writing books back when I was struggling. God bless you, Mary. Thanks Mike for letting her share.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/marydemuth marydemuth

      Thanks Gina. Your thread seems to be a character triumphing over overwhelmingly dark obstacles. Does that typify you? (Not that you're a character!).

      • http://www.ginaholmes.com Gina

        I think you may be right: :-) and self-sacrafice. Love a good sacrafice. Um… not human… or foul… you know what I mean. Ha. gina

        • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

          Yep, I know what you mean. Sacrifice is a huge one. So important. And it's hard to find people who are willing to sacrifice.

  • Shari

    Thank you, Mary! Without knowing how to define it, this is exactly what I have been searching for as well… focus. It is evident from the strength and truth in your words that you have found it.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/marydemuth marydemuth

      That's a great way to put it, Shari: focus. I'm letting go of the good to focus on the place where God wants me to be great (in His strength, of course).

  • John Miller

    Mary, you are such an inspiration. Your post drips with honesty in your searching and great passion to help others find healing in Christ. Surely, this is God's "purposeful" gift to you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Thanks so much, John. Great words: "drips with honesty."

  • Kathleen

    This is a useful tool ~

    "You can do this same thing by sending a wide variety of people you know an email asking them to help you define you and your ministry."

    I also liked thinking about my three favorite movies. It nails it down. This is a practical post-usable. Thank you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Thanks Kathleen. I used the movie exercise yesterday when I taught at the Evangelical Press Association. It was so fun having folks come up and say they learned something about themselves in the exercise. It makes sense. Movies that connect deeply with us connect to our mission.

  • http://www.aspiritedmind.com Catherine

    I loved this post, Mary. The three movies seemed not to work for me at first, since my top three are When Harry Met Sally, High Fidelity and The Great Muppet Caper. As I thought more about it, I realized that the common threads in the movies are humor even when things aren't going right, and people searching for what they think they want, only to find it in what they already have close to home. That happens to be the major theme of the novel I'm working on too, though I had not made the connection between my book and my favorite movies!

  • http://www.aspiritedmind.com Catherine

    I loved this post, Mary. The three movies seemed not to work for me at first, since my top three are When Harry Met Sally, High Fidelity and The Great Muppet Caper. As I thought more about it, I realized that the common threads in the movies are humor even when things aren't going right, and people searching for what they think they want, only to find it in what they already have close to home. That happens to be the major theme of the novel I'm working on too, though I had not made the connection between my book and my favorite movies!

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Wow, that's insightful, Catherine! Finding humor in life, yet realizing the blessings in front of you. That'll preach!

  • http://www.maxyourprofits.blogspot.com Michelle Baker

    Beautiful and insightful, definately what I needed to hear this morning. I will continue to follow your blog.http://www.maxyourprofits.blogspot.com

  • http://www.charismatacoaching.com Anne Costa

    Wow, for the first time in weeks- I feel inspirated and invigorated. I was one of the people who responded to your orignial questions… I guess I am one of your tribe and it is so exciting to see how you have gone about honing your purpose and finding direction. I SO NEED THE SAME in my life. Mary, you are a blessing and a beautiful instrument of God!

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Anne, your words really blessed me. I love that you feel "inspirated" (great word) and invigorated.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/mdwegner mdwegner

    This is an excellent post. I wish i had asked myself those questions a few years ago, and am just now in the process of defining who my "tribe" is. Way to go Mary, and way to call the best out in others along the way your journey has been leading you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Thanks Michelle. I started publishing in 2005, but it's only now that I'm getting this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1260484565 Donald James Parker

    I often ponder the ability of a magnifying glass to concentrate beams of sunlight and start a grass fire. What a perfect example of focus. If we want to set the world on fire, it appears we need to focus our efforts on one small piece of turf at a time. That is not to say that our focus needs to remain in that one place. Once the fire is lit there, we may wish to diversify and refocus on a new objective. Thanks for reminding me of a principle I had brushed up against but never embraced.
    Donald James Parker
    Author of Reforming the Potter's Clay

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      That's a good analogy, Donald. Just today I had a conversation with an encourager who helped me (again) remember to keep on my focus. It's very easy to stray.

  • http://www.snipurl.com/WriteWhereItHurts Jo Ann Fore

    Mary, It's always so refreshing to see your name on a post. I've grown accustomed to your disarmingly vulnerable slices of truth. Each random glance into your journey gently propels me to my own soul-searching, whether it is emotional healing or learning the craft of writing. It's funny — I always knew through the power of your stories you were helping people (me) "find healing and no longer feel alone." So your exercise to ask our "tribe" about our one thing resonates with truth and is an excellent way to help me focus at this primary stage of my own publishing journey. Once again, thank you. As a member of your tribe, I'm thrilled that you are now "free to be the woman God has called you to be!"

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Jo Ann, so glad to have you as a tribe member! And may God truly, truly show you His direction and focus for your ministry.

  • Karen Wevick

    Eureka Mary, you have found it and I sense great peace from your post. You have the tribe you minister and I sense that you also have a tribe where you get ministered to. This is where your passion is focused. When I ask God each day what I need to say 'yes' to and what should be 'no', I stay balanced. When I make the decisions, burnout seems inevitable. Many blessings.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Love that word, Eureka!

      I love your practice about asking God what to say yes and no to.

  • http://ironmakeover.blogspot.com/ Sara Cox Landolt

    I write encouragement for triathletes. Thanks for this post! I've read several of Mary's books and was excited to be an influencer for Thin Places. My review of Thin Places touched another woman (Brenda) who leads a healing ministry at her church. I can't wait to meet Brenda this October – we're both attending a women's only triathlon conference (GOTRIbal) in San Diego! One reader at a time! Powerful work Mary!

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Sara, you can write to encourage me! :) I'm training for a sprint triathlon right now.

      • http://ironmakeover.blogspot.com/ Sara Cox Landolt

        Sprint-distance triathletes are my specific focus, especially first-timers. But as I remember, you have tri experience! Excited for you Mary! :-)

        • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

          Just two under my belt. I still feel like a novice.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Sara, you can write to encourage me! :) I'm training for a sprint triathlon right now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      BTW, I wrote a bit about my triathlete wimpiness here:http://relevantblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/percepti

  • http://flowingfaith.blogspot.com Mari-Anna

    Mary,
    Thanks for being so transparent. You're an inspiration! I'm trying to narrow my focus, too. Life is too short to do everything.
    Good Will Hunting, Dead Poet's Society, Simon Birch. I need to think about the common thread there. Thanks for getting us to think.
    Blessings to you,
    Mari-Anna

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Mari-Anna, don't all three movies have brilliant or artistic folks in it who don't fit society's mold, and yet, by healing, they overcome and touch others? Is this you? Is this your message?

  • tricia

    hello and greetings. My name is tricia and my tribe I believe are those that are in the darkness still and for those where God's mercy might be lacking. My greatest passion is to encourage others in a positive way, if only somehow ~ though I do not share in a complete story/testimony at this time which calls for people not to head to my honest encouragements and thoughts from the heart because they don't believe in me and my relationship with God. Thank you for sending this blog entry to me. Love, Trish.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Tricia, can you be more specific? Who, exactly, is walking in darkness? How, exactly, do they not understand God's mercy? What age are these people? And what do they need/want?

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/sandielzinga sandielzinga

    A great post Mary! You are not alone. I wrote about my burnout on GriefWalk: Hope Through The Dark Places. http://sandielzinga.wordpress.com.
    Keep up the wonderful focused writing!

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Great post, Sandi.

  • http://prodigalreturns.com mcProdigal

    I couldn't agree more. From a Christian perspective, we get the same prompting from Ephesians 2:10. We're told we're perfectly crafted by God to do good things that were perfectly laid out for us. Look around for need and feel your passion flare, you have found your mission.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Love that verse, mcProdigal.

  • Cara Putman

    Mary, it has been a pleasure to watch you on your journey to serve God more fully and completely — and yes, more honestly. He is using you. And I know He loves your heart for Him. Thanks for letting us see your journey and learn from it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Thanks so much, Cara. I look forward to hearing about your journey!

  • http://www.michaelkreynolds.com Michael K. Reynolds

    Mary,__You may be inadvertantly creating yet another Tribe of those of us who tend to over-commit and find ourselves unable to resist the next opportunity which heads our way. It's been inspiring to witness the journey of your "letting go" process. One of the most important elements of excellence is releasing from our grasp those pursuits which are better left in the hands of others.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Michael, that's an interesting point. Alas, though, I tend to gather tribes. Need to keep it to one or two. :)

  • http://www.creationinspirations.com Cheryl Pickett

    Mary, your words/experience as an author resonate with me so often. I'm still figuring out my place, my greatest joy, the greatest needs and your thoughts hit at just the right time once again. Blessings on your journey.

    • http://www.creationinspirations.com Cheryl Pickett

      Oh and though I'm not a huge movie person, two favorites since childhood are Wizard of Oz, Charlie & the Choc Factory (only the original) and more recently Finding Nemo or Disney's Earth.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Greasemom Greasemom

    It's a Wonderful Life, Homeward Bound and Fireproof…obviously my passion is marriage and family with a bent toward the down and out, or ones who feel excluded.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      But also there's a strong journey element there, and a fight against impossible odds.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Greasemom Greasemom

        oooh…hadn't thought about that…very true. That would be the story of my life…

        • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

          Isn't it interesting that the movies we choose often parallel our stories?

        • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

          Isn't it interesting that the movies we choose often parallel our stories?

  • http://www.thechristiannaturalist.blogspot.com Terri Thompson

    Thank you for allowing Mary to share here. This is such and encouragement in our busy busy world. To stop and think for a moment, define ourselves and then live with purpose is a great gift.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      It's important to really stop and take some thinking time. Here's praying God gives you that this weekend, Terri.

  • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

    I feel that the world is searching for something… That someone is Jesus. People want something to worship, but don't know what.

    Visit My Website

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      So how are you helping others meet and see Jesus?

  • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

    I feel that the world is searching for something… That someone is Jesus. People want something to worship, but don't know what.

    Visit My Website

  • http://twitter.com/meganwillome @meganwillome

    So good, Mary! It's about calling, not what the "experts" say. Of course, my 3 favorite movies are "Little Miss Sunshine," "Almost Famous," and "A Room with a View." Hmmm … I may need to ponder in my own blog post. Thanks for the food for thought.

  • http://www.wendysaxton.com Wendy J. Saxton

    Mary, I love WHO you are! I recently resolved to share my life in such a way that women who have similar stories of abuse and betrayal will sense God reaching for them. I want my tribe to know they are not alone and they are seen by God.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Wendy, that's amazing news, and so needed. Keep doing what you're doing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Wendy, that's amazing news, and so needed. Keep doing what you're doing.

  • http://twitter.com/meganwillome @meganwillome

    So good, Mary! It's about calling, not what the "experts" say. Of course, my 3 favorite movies are "Little Miss Sunshine," "Almost Famous," and "A Room with a View." Hmmm … I may need to ponder in my own blog post. Thanks for the food for thought.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      But it is good and helpful to listen to the experts. My branding friend Guy has helped me tremendously. And my friend Randy has given of his time to help me figure out ways to develop my brand.

      Enjoy analyzing your movies!

  • http://twitter.com/David_LeDoux @David_LeDoux

    Michael, thank you for sharing this. After reading Mary's post I feel as though another piece has dropped into place in the greater puzzle (for me) of figuring out the why's and wherefore's of the many forms of social media/networking and personal branding and how they all fit together. I sincerely appreciate your continued efforts of educating the uninitiated who are just beginning their struggle to figure it all out.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      David, I'm curious to hear how you see them all fitting together?

  • http://www.ccada.org Kate Johnson

    Mary, how timely. I have been struggling with this for a while now, saying yes to what I really don't feel called to and doing so much that takes me away from my passion – providing help, hope and healing through my writing and speaking. So this post will help me clarify… Dan Allendar says your passion is that thing which makes your heart shout YES when you do it! I need to shout yes more often.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Great idea from Allender! Now, to shout more today! :)

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  • Jenny

    Mary, I am so glad a friend of mind pointed me to your blog when I finally admitted I am a writer. You have been an inspiration and a instrument on my journey. I don't know what the world's greatest need is–enouraging fellow Christians. My passions: deep Bible studies, children, reading and writing. My top three movies: Mary Poppins, Lethal Weapons, X-Men. Hmm, not sure about a common thread there. I am working on being a regular contributing writer on Granola Bar Devotionals, my own Creatively Loving Kids blog (I want this to be a published devotional, i also want it to be a mainstream, non-devotional version just don't know how that will work), writing preschool Bible character scripts for my church, and I'm going to be doing reviews for Book Sneeze. I continue working on my christian children's sci-fi book. I'm not sure how it all fits together or works, but I do know I'm doing exactly what God wants me to do. i know I'm in the middle of God's will.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Great things you're doing Jenny. It sounds like a lot of what you do has to do with kids. Can you streamline that a bit? If you could have a line of products for kids, what would they be? Why?

      • Jenny

        I want to write stories that show kids how to live the Christian life everyday and the apply the Bible to every day problems. Because I think it can be hard for kids to figure out how a book with stories from thousands of years ago can apply today. I also want to help kids with self-esteem and help parents avoid undermining their children's self-esteem and discover new ways to build their child's self-esteem. i struggled with self-esteem issues and want to pass on what I learned to parents and kids.

        • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

          Let me push a little further. Define self-esteem. What do you mean when you say you struggled with self esteem issues?

          • Jenny

            Self-Esteem is feeling good enough about ones-self to be able to cope with basic challenges of life. In highschool I didn't feel good about myself. I never really fit in. I didn't understand the social code–I didn't understand inuendos or popular terminology (I grew up in the 80's/90's). My parents kept me sheltered from most things (popular movies, books, music) so I couldn't participate in small talk. I didn't know how to carry on a conversation. I was afraid to talk on the phone. I didn't think anybody liked me for who I was, they just wanted help with homework–I was a nerd. I also learned that I didn't understand my faith. My short temper flared in the face of criticism. Even when I was encouraged, I didn't know how to take it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

            Very interesting, Jenny. One of the books I wrote had to do with this idea of parents helping kids engage the culture. We start with a lot of control, then continue to release it as our kids get older.

  • http://www.alishasanvicens.com Alisha

    Mary & Michael, this is exactly what I needed to read this morning – thank’s so much! I was just sitting down to write a proposal for my own memoir (using both of your non-fiction tutorials of course!) and struggling to focus what I’m trying to say. This post reeled me in from my tendency to be all things to all people and challenged me to be and do what I was created for. Thank you so much for sharing your journey towards tribal leadership. :)

    Alisha

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      My pleasure Alisha. Thanks for using my proposal tutorial (and Mike's too). Combined, you should have a good representation of your book.

  • http://kathleenlmaher.webs.com/ Kathleen L Maher

    Funny how this post jibes so well with Rachelle Gardner's this weekend about what you gave up for writing. Passion is about focus, and focus requires narrowing and homing in. God must have really wanted me to get the point with this double barreled assault on my scattered focus. Ha! This deserves more exploration. Three movies. . . greatest need, one thing. . . I have my homework for the week. THANK YOU! :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Kathleen, I hope you find your focus. These exercises will help you. Also, do remember to ask your friends. That's very valuable information.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/success2you John Richardson

    Thank you Mary for an insightful post. I took your advice and put down my top three movies and it really opened my eyes up. What a brilliant strategy for personal introspection. I did a post about it herehttp://bit.ly/d8UC2Z

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

      Thanks, John. I saw your post. Good job! I went through the exercise over a year ago, and I've been using it ever since to help folks understand their mission.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/success2you John Richardson

        I've been asking the question "what are your top three movies," to my co-workers and friends. It's always a conversation starter and the answers have been very insightful. The results have been all over the place, but "John Wayne Movies," Shawshank Redemption," and "The Sound of Music," have been repeated over and over. Do you have any additional information or resources on this particular exercise? Someone should put together a movie guide that could help refine the outcome. Lots of fun!

        • http://www.facebook.com/mary.demuth Mary E. DeMuth

          I don't. I'm so sorry. I participated in it via a writer's loop a while back.

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  • http://charsteyn.blogspot.com/ Charissa Steyn

    Thank you for this post!! I just read the book Tribes and was very challenged to seek the Lord even more about how he wants to use me specifically in His kingdom. I know it starts in prayer, and walking in perseverance to touch the people he has placed in our lives. Nothing we do for His glory is wasted!

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  • http://www.dobox.com/ Bruce

    Kathleen, I hope you find your focus. These exercises will help you. Also, do remember to ask your friends. That’s very valuable information.

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  • http://sonnetbird.blogspot.com Ebony

    I really, really love this. I've been having some issues with moving forward because I have too many interests and share in too many different directions. My 3 movies are Rocky, View from the Top, and Music & Lyrics, just off the top of my head, Underlying theme I see? Pulling out your inner dreams and rocking your calling…

  • http://twitter.com/jasonvandehey Jason Vandehey

    Thank you for posting this link on coachradio discussion. I’m glad that I read it. Jason

  • Lisa

    OMG, I have had such an epiphany. Thank you so much for your posts.. I will now give myself ‘the luxury of field duty’… Might even work up the courage to blog about it..  non-annonymously.

    Thank you again

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