Mindsets shift through community

10 things I learnt leading a coworking tribe in Bali


My nose is running. My sun-tan is already fading. I’m even shivering a little.

Its not mid-winter but spring in England and British Summer Time has just kicked-in. So why the duldroms? Well, I’ve just got back from 3 months of fun and fulfilment in Bali piloting a new Tribewanted project focusing on coworking. I’ve learnt post-tribe fatigue is inevitable. I’ll be back in the game shortly.

So, in this moment between tribes (I’m back at The Escape School next week) — what did I learn?

1. Check-ins are the superglue

At least 4 times a week we would meet at Hubud and ask 2 questions to everyone:

What are you getting done today?

How can we help?

The simplicity and regularity of these sessions helped us take small steps forward daily and accelerate towards our goals.

2. Location. Location. Location.

I knew from my research that Bali, and Ubud especially, would be a good destination for coworking and startup inspiration but my expectations were smashed.

Bali’s spiritual, creative, natural culture is powerfully seductive — you can’t help but be wrapped up in its glow. This layered onto a canvas of volcanos, ocean, reefs and the bright green quilt of paddy fields and its popularity is unsurprising.

My daily commute cycling through Ubud monkey forest in the early heat, hopping round cafes for meetups, into galleries for inspiration, hiking through paddy fields, disappearing into bamboo paradises and the endless swimming opportunities meant that you couldn’t not feel energised. The challenge is fitting everything in — life was full in Ubud (I didn’t even make it to ‘ecstatic dance’).

3. Sunshine (& thunderstorms) are caffeine for the soul.

The island climate at this time of year is dramatic — one minute intense heat, the next a monsoon. At night cracks of thunder that would crack into the core of your being. I found the drama of the weather an energizer. Bugs aside, there’s nothing like a tropical rainstorm to awaken your senses and reflect on what you’re doing. You can’t detach your work from the natural environment in somewhere like Bali and that’s a very good thing.

4. Give and you shall grow (pay it forward without expectation)

We did a lot of skill sharing. I can’t think of an occassion when this didn’t build stronger relationships and increase impact. We planned to split our time 50% (our projects) 25% (each others projects), 25% exploring Bali. With this mindset I saw a lot of people supporting each other with no questions asked about ‘how much time’ or ‘will I get it back.’

5. Tools rule

Whatsapp is our watercooler (we’ll get to ‘Slack’ at some-point), we gather round it to share our meetup plans, pictures, jokes and rapid feedback.

Strikingly is our ideas accelerator — the difference between people talking about their ideas before they visualised them was always obvious.

I watched Loretta, a consumate international development professional unleash her inner entrepreneurial creativity once she got a handle on a couple of tools and the permission to go wild with them — now, she’s an ideas machine.

6. My weakness is your strength. Baby.

Tommy: Young travel blogger taught himself how to build a following and engagement on instagram and then shared his lessons with us. In under a week he had become the ‘instagram’ expert.

Philippa: Teacher and novelist shared her creative writing tips and in return was motivated by the tribe to churn out her novel.

Bob: Corporate HR guy turned ethical recruitment missionpreneur shared his hiring tips and gained feedback on how to keep it lean.

7. Random acts of storytelling are exactly what you were looking for

Every Thursday we invite a guest to share their story with us. These included:

Vlatko: How (and why) I spent 6 years filming the Croatian coastline.

Kadek: Why I started Yoga Barn and the Bali Spirit Festival

Eiji: What I learnt making ‘The Happy Movie’

These might seem like irrelevant interruptions in our busy schedules, but often we found these fresh perspectives and inspiring stories would reinforce or shift our thinking around what we were doing.

8. Feedback in the tribe is rapid (and crucial)

Lisa: ‘So I’ve spent all night thinking about changing the name and brand to ‘your news assistant’. What do you think?’

Tribe: ‘But we love ‘Newspresso — your shot of daily news.’

Lisa: ‘Really?’

Tribe: ‘Yes!’

Lisa: ‘Ok, Newspresso it is!’

9. Not everyday is perfect. Even in Bali.

I’ve been to enough islands to know that paradise is a state of mind and not a perfect place. Bali is a handmade society, still struggling with corruption, traffic, pollution, rampant tourism, poverty, climate change and more. It looks perfect on the surface — this is what makes it a great holiday destination.

But when you’ve come to explore your future career or kickstart your business idea, there are days when the wifi is too slow, the bugs bite too much and, yes, when its just ‘too hot.’

This is when your tribe matter the most — they pick you up, remind you why this decision was a good one and that you’re not on your own (even if most people ‘back home’ think your in paradise).

Our Chief Experience Officer, Gusti Badra

10. Mindsets shift through community

This is something that Rob from The Escape School (my next tribe) said to me. It resonates perfectly. For all of us in the ‘behaviour change’ game we know that the key to making a positive and sustainable impact on someone is by connecting them meaningfully with others who share their outlook, intention and values.

If we can build a community — a tribe — around things that matter to people, then minds and behaviour will shift. Its a huge lesson and one that is becoming clearer by the day.

Thank you to my tribe buddies from Bali for leaping into the unknown and sharpening this conviction for me. Loretta says it best:

A Tribe is a powerful thing. Being part of this one is an experience I’ll never forget!

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Tribewanted Startups Bali in numbers (so far):

In numbers….45 tribe members. 60 ‘check-in’s. 62 new ideas (in one night). 3 volcanoes climbed (in one day). 30+ strikingly pages. 4000+ juices. 1000+ downward facing dogs. An unlimited amount of hugs…

Meanwhile, just beyond the monkey forest, the adventure continues.

Join Danielle and the tribe today.