Live Your Brand

Buzz words have a shelf life. They cycle in and out of popularity and the frequency of which you hear them rolled off the tongues of those in business, from entrepreneurs and in social media, can be a bit numbing. We talk about our brands, but do we commit to honing in our the act of being beholden to them? It’s time to live your brand.

We’re nearing the end – if I may say so myself – of the use of the word community, as it is becoming a bit overused and diluted. Collaboration is likely soon to be on the clearance rack. Adding to the rotation of buzz are the words “authenticity” “thought leader” and “influencer.” Those words will likely also soon be blue light specials, if I do dare say.

One of the more loudly shouted buzz words over the past two years is branding. In the United States, in some locations more than others, business owners use their vehicles as a form of advertisement. Company names become abbreviated onto license plates, awkward square magnets that often don’t match the color of the vehicle proclaim the industry of the driver of said car. Recently, window vinyls have gained in popularity. When you’re trying to stand out in a sea of businesses who are doing the same thing you are, it’s imperative that you get creative with your marketing and advertisement choices. I’ll admit that it’s brilliant to use your vehicle as a way to let people know what you do and what you can offer them.

I happen to be a slightly aggressive driver. I blame it 100% on three factors. My grandfather, who taught me how to drive, instilled a really solid sense of confidence behind the wheel. While I sat on his lap, he pressed the gas pedal and I learned to work the steering wheel, how to signal with my blinker and look over my left shoulder.

Another reason I happen to be a bit snarky behind the wheel is due to my driving habits in Singapore. The kiasu method of life is a bit mind-blowing and it is definitely a get ahead or fall behind mentality. I refused to be the foreigner who got inched out of the spot I had rightfully earned. The third factor is simply because I believe when driving (as I do with most things in life) that when you hesitate on a decision, often that thing passes you by.

I say all of this to bring you to the reality that I readily admit I am an aggressive driver. I know it. I own it and I am quietly a bit proud of it.

Having said that.

My children also are very aware of this reality. Back in 2014, as I began perusing my opportunities to market my new real estate and relocation business, I started asking my daughter her opinion on window vinyls. She has been my biggest cheerleader all along the way and her opinion is highly valued as I go through this journey. She was instrumental in the creation of my logo, and gave thumbs down on several website designs before the final version. When I asked what she thought about advertising my business on my rear window, she tilted her head to the side and said “Well, I guess it’s ok, but you know that you’re going to always, always have to be nice when you’re driving, right?”

I didn’t quite get what she meant right away, but later it sunk in.

She was forewarning me that as soon as I place my business name and website on the back of my car, I would be judged accordingly, based on the brand that I lived out when behind the wheel of my car.

I would forever be holding myself accountable EACH and every time I sat in the driver’s seat. No texting while driving, no applying lip gloss in the rear-view mirror. No reckless driving. No aggressive driving. No rude parking maneuvering.

EVERY time I got behind the wheel of the vehicle that proudly sported my business name on the back window, I was careful to appropriately represent and live out the brand that I wanted others to adopt.


Along the same line of discussion, there’s another brand that I’m adopting for myself. That is the strange thing called Jeep culture. I didn’t know what it was when I chose my beautiful red Jeep Wrangler. We had to order it, because I was insistent on RED. The used dealership transported it to us and as I drove home that first day, I had the oddest of experiences. People kept waving at me. Two fingers up, lifted from their place on the steering wheel.

Jeep Harley Naomi Hattaway

Later that night, I told my Husb, “Babe, it was the weirdest thing, people kept waving to me as I drove home from the car lot today.”  Being a Harley guy himself (another vehicle type deeply rooted in a very specific culture), he knew immediately what I was talking about and said “Ah! The Jeep Wave.”

There’s a belonging, a sense of community with fellow Jeepers. Simply by virtue of selecting the same vehicle, we’ve beholden ourselves to each other. We will likely never meet … and our only connection will be that of belonging to a greater community.

(to my fellow Jeepers, did you know there’s a Jeep Wave Calculator? My score was a 27 “Jeep Trail Rider”)

To the points brought up in this video, to what do we owe each other when it comes to our personal beliefs?  If we’ve found our tribe, do we expect them to tow the line, or simply come up for air after the fact?

Relocation Assistance: I think you should do this

I think you should do this relocation assistance thing, she said.

I know, but I’m … for some reason, I’m scared to just say yes.

You’re scared to say yes? You don’t strike me as the type that’s scared to say yes.

I’m not scared, I’m more … afraid, I think?

What are you afraid of?

I mean, I don’t have a leg to stand on, you know? I’m so super new to all of this.

But what are you afraid of?

Well, I feel like I need to have my feet a bit more soaked and entrenched before I jump into the foray of people living overseas and relocation. Or maybe that I need to work with just one family here locally with traditional real estate before I tackle something so big.

But what are you afraid of?

I’m scared of changing my every day so quickly and leaving my family in a tail-spin.

Ahhhh. They know you should do this, and I think you should do this.


This conversation was had over two years ago in January of 2015. One of my fellow networking friends had recognized something shifting in me and was willing to spend some extra time to really push (sweetly and gently) to get to the heart of the matter.

During our conversation, I realized that I was afraid that I would alter – negatively – the safe space that I created in our home. I was afraid that by stepping outside of what I had created, I would remove the availability that I currently offered my children. I would let things slip and certain habits would slide. I was afraid that making this leap towards actively pursuing a career in relocation assistance was going to really be big and impactful and I wouldn’t stay the same person. I was afraid I would intimidate my husband. I was afraid something would end up impacting our roots and we’d end up moving again.


In spending some time recently working on my business goals for 8th and Home and I Am A Triangle, I recalled this conversation.  The past two years have been incredibly challenging. Challenging doesn’t always mean negative, however, and a large portion of what I experienced over the last two years was hugely inspiring!

relocation assistance naomi hattaway

I was first licensed as a real estate agent in September of 2014 and I made a big leap in February of 2015 to join a new brokerage. It was an eye-opening experience as I learned about authenticity, promises that weren’t kept and what it meant to feel free in beginning to reach for my business goals.

When I first decided to pursue real estate, I always knew I wanted to wrap in a relocation component as well. I seek out my connections through a relationship based system and nurture those relationships in a very real and natural way. I do not accept paid leads and I feel strongly about not partnering with any large relocation companies. Having those agreements in place water down my ability to best serve my clients. Each and every time I talk with colleagues who practice in traditional real estate about my aspirations to also serve international / relocation clients, I am met with a quizzical responses.

I know in my heart that there is a big hole in the relocation industry and I know in my head that I can fill it.

The fear and struggle that I felt during that conversation two years ago came from a combination of the knowledge that I can do something big in this space, as well as the honest fear of what that success will mean for my family. I have watched my I Am A Triangle community continue to grow by leaps and bounds, and I watch the same conversations come up on repeat

The first thing that needs to be addressed is the fact that individuals moving with a corporate package of any type, when it comes with relocation assistance, have the right to choose their own real estate agent.

The second thing that needs to be addressed is that relocating a family overseas is a much bigger process than simply a look-see visit and a quick drive to point out the nearby hospital and dog park. It’s also a bigger commitment than assigning a relocation agent to a family who has themselves never left their postal code.

Remembering back to that conversation, where I doubted my abilities and skill set to truly hold court in this space, I turned to my LinkedIn profile to make some adjustments. As I listed out my past volunteerism, board roles and job information, and soon realized that every thing I have signed up for, had a part of, or committed to in my life – in one way or another – matched up to create a vast experience, a beautiful tapestry that says I am indeed qualified.

I have a big goal to assist 50 families in a beautiful match with vetted and tried-and-true Realtors as they make moves to new locations. I have amassed an amazing network of Realtors all over the United States and in some specific locations around the world as well (with that network growing every day). I quickly became known as “the Relocation Expert” and the “Community Builder” in Loudoun County, Virginia and it’s time to ramp that up to a national level, and international past that!

There are three ways you can help me achieve my goals and I would love your assistance!

  1. If you know someone who is moving in the next 4-6 months, I would love a personal introduction to them. If they are located in Northern Virginia, I have an amazing team in place to take good care of them.  If they are located outside the Northern Virginia area, I have a short list of amazing Realtors that will help them achieve their real estate / relocation goals, help them actually enjoy the process, and have amazing representation to boot.
  2. If you know a stellar Realtor (someone that exceeds expectations, is client-first focused and actually listens to client needs), please let me know! We have room for 2-3 names in each major city or town.
  3. If you know of an individual or family who is in the middle of a life “overseas” or in transition from culture to culture, please tell them about the I Am A Triangle community and have them navigate to the Join Our Community page! We’ve recently left Facebook for an amazing platform called Mighty Networks and it’s magical!

Let’s do this!

I Am A Triangle Movement

I Am A Triangle MOTTO

Manifesto - I Am a Triangle

Click to enlarge or right-click to save

We seek out “stretch” opportunities, we don’t flinch at the sound of change. We look at relocation as an opportunity to expand our horizons. We know that everything feels hard before it becomes our norm. We are used to change. We are experts at managing the chaos that comes with the sometimes scary bits of our lives. We have the answers and wisdom not even Google has! We are the masters of what is to come. It’s our super power!  – Naomi Hattaway

 

As we lead up to the big reveal of the website and new community platform (we’re packing up our proverbial boxes from Facebook and moving to a new platform called Mighty Networks), it was important that I take an opportunity to share transparently and openly about all of the reasons for this move and what the future of I Am A Triangle looks like – from my vision and desires for the community.

To learn more about the details and rationale behind this decision: read the FAQ post

I have long been in love with the concept of community. I realized that my mother instilled this desire in me when she modeled the concept for our family early on in our lives in rural Nebraska. I was born to a black father and a white mother in the early 1970s when it wasn’t quite as accepted as it is now. Add to that, we were homeschooling (before it was legal to do so). To say that we needed community is an understatement.

Definition of Community I Am A Triangle

Today, ‘community’ has become a bit of a buzz word and may be considered to be overused, however that doesn’t change the way I feel about it. When it’s being experienced, it feels like a cozy blanket, a warm hug, a cuppa of your favorite bevvy. It feels like you belong, that you are welcome and supported. If you do NOT have it, it’s a noticeable void in your life. Community can take hold in different ways (online, in person, etc.) and can be geographical in nature, found because of similar or common identities and often takes shape when shared affinities or activities takes place.

tea

In each place I have lived, I have quickly latched onto community (in various forms) and then also intentionally sought out ways to give back to my communities. In Omaha, Nebraska, I volunteered heavily with Habitat For Humanity. In Cleveland, Ohio, I created Rock-N-Tot (a family dance party!), a mom’s only running club, and a Global PlayDate.

In India, I joined a small group of ladies to create Make a Difference in Delhi, and kickstarted a project to allow incoming families access to the American Embassy School when the grounds were otherwise closed for the summer and created a buddy program to help those new students feel a bit less alone. In Singapore, I led the charge to create a safe crosswalk for our neighborhood children to reach school as well as brought Senior Spirit to Singapore American School (a carryover from what other moms of Seniors had done in other international schools). In Northern Virginia, I assisted with the birth of Ladies of Lucketts, a thriving group for local ladies to come together for fellowship, support and to support local businesses.

These examples are not just initiatives I joined or started, but were in fact, community being created. Friendships were born, problems were solved, children and adults alike were positively impacted and — in each and every case, I was incredibly moved and inspired by the sheer beauty of watching a community come together. (Side note: have you seen Derek Siver’s Tedx Talk on how to start a movement?)

In the middle of this, our family moved back to the United States after four years overseas and I found myself deep in the cavern of no longer fitting in. I felt alone, confused and without any motivation or drive to do what comes naturally to me – create and seek out community. When we prepared for all of our past moves, I incessantly researched our new home. I pored over books at the library to learn all I could about our upcoming relocation. However, for the repatriation (or reentry as the process has been called) journey, I assumed I had it covered and didn’t need to spend any time learning about the reverse process of returning “home.”

My mom had since moved to Kenya to serve as a missionary and in a debrief session delivered by Mission Training International, she learned of the triangle analogy. When the same was shared with me, and when I allowed the concept to sink in, it immediately made sense. I wrote a blog post in September of 2013, I Am a Triangle and Other Thoughts on Repatriation, and as of today, it’s been viewed over 118,000 times. As a result of that concept resonating with other individuals, my email inbox began filling up with stories. Those who identified with the Triangle concept wanted to share that they too, felt those same feelings of abandonment, struggle, isolation and assumed they were the only one.

Facebook had just recently launched its Group Products (primarily for the purpose of families connecting or groups of friends to stay connected) and I jumped on the opportunity to create a place for those individuals to meet each other, share and offer support and to provide a virtual community for those who felt they had lost theirs due to recurring relocations or being the “Stayer” when everyone else close to you leaves.

What you see today when you visit the I Am A Triangle Facebook group is 16,000+ individuals who show up on a regular basis to offer support, share laughs, commiserate together, hold each other up through messy family situations, even help to secure employment, the list goes on and on. It has been a beautiful journey of growth and is an amazing example of what happens when a group of people has trust and faith in each other. It is also a stunning representation of what happens when commonalities are the initial introduction, but the differences in all of us becomes what holds us together.

I Am A Triangle, a home for global nomads where everyone fits

The stewardship of this community began as a very simple desire to get everyone “in the same room” and over the past four years has turned into a full-time job (albeit, one that is unpaid) that has required leadership, personal growth and a flexing of some serious empathy and kindness muscles. The fact that our community is a beautiful, kind and responsive online community is due to two factors. First and foremost, because of the contribution of the members and their willingness to keep coming back into the community to ask questions, be vulnerable, and support each other on a 24/7, 365 basis. Second to that, the community has become what it is today because of the consistent and constant care-taking and watchful eye that I have given to it. I do not say this to be egotistical or to diminish the reality that without individuals IN a community, one does not exist. I state this because often I feel challenged and restricted with the features and administrative help that Facebook lends to its Group owners, but I have dedicated myself to work around those limitations and seek out ways for the community to flourish, expand and be a place that has been quote as saying “the kindest place on the Internet.”

As our movement currently exists in Facebook, we are not able to move forward in any logical way that makes sense for our members, and it feels as though one hand is tied behind our backs. Last year at about this time, the decision was made to begin creating a resource website. Simultaneously, a search was commenced to seek out alternatives for our community so that we would not be required to stay committed to Facebook. Several iterations of options and LOADS of research later, I had resigned myself to using a clunky interface called BuddyPress, a WordPress plugin. It would operate like an old school forum and while it wasn’t ideal, it was the only option.

Building an app was what I most wanted to do, but the cost was prohibitive. This was how that conversation went.

Me: “How much would it cost to build an app that would do [insert 15 features, including a conversation forum]?”

Developer: “Could be between $10,000 – $25,000, give or take … depends on how robust you need it to be.”

Me: “Are you serious? That’s way out of any budget I could ever comprehend.”

Developer: “Well, that’s just for iOS and would probably would only cover v1.0”

Me: “Well, Version 1.0 would be a good start right? I mean, it would at least get us going?”

Developer: “No, that’s more likely what you’ll want to start testing on and getting beta users on. If you want to actually have it be useful for your community, that’s more like $100,000 + once you go through enough versions to get it right.”

Massively disappointed, I decided to continue maintaining a strong focus on working on the resource website and continued my work with the community inside the Facebook group. We launched TriCONNECTs which were widely requested by members and saw a handful of them really take off and have massive success gathering members together in cities all over the world. We expanded our TriCONNECT concept to serve other groups for our members, including our LGTBQIA+ population, those who serve in the military (all branches, worldwide!), our solo / single members, etc.

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What began as an obvious need for a community in one big open “room” was quickly turning into a desire by our members to have specific support, and in a smaller group environment than speaking “out loud” to an extremely large community. The psychologists and therapists in the group were starting to reach out to me to ask why I thought our members – who are veritable strangers to each other – had such trust in our community, and had such ease in being vulnerable with each other.

I truly believe it is because of the culture I have developed and insisted on, the stick-to-it-ness of our leaders who have volunteered their time and energy, the evolution of our community policies, our standards of care with each other, and our refusal to allow bullying, bashing or otherwise being unkind.  I’d love to learn of any other truly international online community that has such impact, such kindness and such devotion from its members.

In addition, our community is as strong as it is because of our leadership — individuals who all volunteer of their time to help run the TriCONNECTs. Scheduling events, showing up to help members in their locations, facilitating engagement in their subgroups. This system though, became quickly too heavy of a burden as Facebook did not provide resources or tools for a Group owner to effectively manage multiple subgroups like this, and again, I turned to hours and hours of research to attempt to find something that would better suit my energy/effort as well as the forward growth and long term sustenance of the community.

It takes actual humans to organize a community, whether that’s to schedule gatherings or events, or to organize dialogue and  conversation. It takes effort and energy to help to guide and encourage engagement, and facilitate the growth and expansion of our talents, minds and opportunities. In addition to human beings, it also takes a robust software and platform that allows us human beings to work smarter, not harder. The struggle to find something that would respect and honor the massive needs of our community – for future growth, and to welcome innovation – was growing larger than life and became a frustration.

In addition to humans and software, it also takes TIME. I have been a full-time Realtor in Northern Virginia since 2014 and put a lot of energy and effort into it. I adore my clients and our tagline is “Community Chasers, not Commission Chasers.” I realized earlier this year that I was no longer able to devote the right amount of time and energy to both my real estate clients AND to the I Am A Triangle community. I made the decision to intentionally create a process by which I can act as a consultant to my real estate team, and train new agents, but step way back from the daily interaction with the real estate industry and instead give all of that energy and focus to I Am A Triangle.

Fast forward to April of this year while listening to a podcast with Tara Gentile on the power of meaningful communities. Gina Bianchini was launching her new community platform, called Mighty Networks, and as I listened to her, I realized she had built the very thing I had wanted for our community but couldn’t afford to put out into the world. To hear that podcast, click The Power of Dedicated Social Networks.

The people who don’t already know each other is the next chapter in how the world is going to create new relationships and a better future. The reality is that it doesn’t take a lot of people to make you feel like you’re in it together. At the same time, being in it together should be able to scale to larger numbers. Where the real magic and power comes from is from people who have shared interests being able to connect and share in many, multiple ways.

– Gina Bianchini

Gina went on to say, “The Facebook newsfeed was invented to allow you to consume updates from people you know. It was a phenomenal way to stay connected to the people that were important to you based on your life. It is NOT built for meeting new people who share a deep interest and are people you WANT to meet because they will help you grow or expand your horizons or because they share a life circumstance like moving your family on repeat around the world. What’s needed in networks like these is to support finding, meeting and breaking the ice, it’s not a newsfeed whizzing by you that gives no context to what you actually need.”

I concur! To me, Facebook is like a speed train going from point A to point B — with the Facebook engineers at the helm holding all of the controls — but it doesn’t stop along the way to let anyone else on the train. We need an experience like a HoHo Bus!

I’ve been asked why on earth would I intentionally “mess with” an audience of 16,000 people when I’ve worked so hard to build a very meaningful community over the span of four years. I’ve been admonished that I will end up breaking up a community and that I will likely lose members because of this vision and decision to migrate our community to a platform that can better support our needs. I’ve been told that I am “going small” and perhaps limiting our community to those who are willing to leave Facebook.

Let me be completely honest. Facebook IS making some attempts towards streamlining the task of moderating (the “admin” duties) a large group on their platform. They jumped to attention in May of this year and have made quick moves towards some positive changes – Mark Zuckerburg has gone so far as to change the mission statement for Facebook as it relates to large communities using his platform. As I discuss in more detail in our FAQs, many of those changes continue to benefit Facebook’s bottom line and their advertising game, but I wanted to at least acknowledge that there are some efforts being made – but for our community, it’s a ‘day late and a dollar short’. The Mighty Networks platform is ready now, they have listened to the needs of those at the helm of the movements, and our community is busting at the seams. In order for us to continue to deliver value and make strides towards powerful impact, the answers that I began seeking over 12 months ago all lie in the Mighty Networks platform.

Our community is changing the world that we live in. I am a firm believer in that, and I also strongly believe in the collective power of our community to continue changing the world in the future. Our members have the willpower, the guts, the talent and the support to do big things and impact future generations.

Changing the world is always disruptive. – Rachel Gutter

The value of our community and network becomes MORE and more valuable, the more intentional we are about how we steward the community. That is no longer possible on Facebook. The more people we gain in our community on Facebook, the more diluted your experience becomes as a member, and the more difficult it becomes to manage the safe corner of the Internet that our members are accustomed to. For more information about the details of the migration, the future of the I Am A Triangle movement, it’s new platform and why we’re leaving Facebook (and the future of Groups on Facebook) please read here: I Am A Triangle FAQ.

When you build strong communities that have at their core a shared mission or interest, what comes out of that can be simply magical. – Gina Bianchini

To the I Am A Triangle community, you are simply magical.

I am thankful that you’ve been along for this journey and am massively impressed by your beautiful stories, your amazing experiences and your willingness to come along for the ride. I am excited for my vision for this community to come to fruition with the next steps of this adventure!

We’ll be discussing the future of our community and I Am A Triangle “2.0” over in our new community home, but it will include philanthropy, better ways to connect, the ability for our children and older members of our immediate families to be supported, a one-of-a-kind relocation professional directory with realtors and agents who actually put the family first, a platform to provide amazing collaboration opportunities for those creating wonderful resources, and much, much more.

To join, visit: I Am A Triangle on the new community platform and request an invite!

Cheers to being a part of a global community where everyone belongs,

∆ – Naomi Hattaway

I Am A Triangle FAQ

If you have yet to read my thoughts on this new version of the I Am A Triangle community, please take a moment to do so:

∞ I Am A Triangle Movement ∞

 

Image Credit: Emily Morter Unsplash

Image Credit: Emily Morter Unsplash

Here are the answers for some of the frequently asked questions on the topic of our new community platform.

Q: Why is I Am A Triangle moving to a new community platform?

Your daily interaction with Facebook is managed by an ever-changing set of algorithms that dictates what it allows its users to see and do. It also impacts how a group is allowed to interact with each other. With our group being so large, often very important (and sometimes sensitive) questions which are posted in the group, are quickly buried due to the sheer number of new posts that are added. The members who are in need of assistance and support are not getting the help they so desperately need because they are not being heard. When this happens, we as a community are letting them down.

Facebook has now started utilizing those same algorithms inside of their Groups Product, which means that each one of our members has a different experience inside our community based on which posts they have previously liked or commented on, or who their friends are inside the community. In a community that thrives on being open-minded and diverse, the fact that algorithms design our experience is opposite to our goals and aspirations in offering support to each other.

We have nearly four years of amazing resources, support, answers and intel however Facebook has recently adjusted their search function, which means that searching for a topic near and dear to you will provide very limited results, only a few months into the past – as opposed to providing the entire search results for a total of 48 months.

Facebook recently held a Community Summit in June (Chicago, IL, USA) and invited 100 admins of “large and meaningful” groups to a think tank. One of the announcements made during that Summit was that Facebook would introduce several new features to help admins “grow their communities.” But what about the communities that do not WISH to grow – except by word of mouth and their own members’ invitations? In the past two months, Facebook has aggressively added the I Am A Triangle group to their “Suggested Groups” and we are being placed almost as an ad would be, inside other relevant or similar groups. As a result, we are getting bombarded with new member requests from individuals who have no plans to ever live abroad, but sure do love getting postcards, traveling once every couple of years, or going on a once-in-a-lifetime short-term missions trip. While there is nothing wrong with those types of scenarios, those individuals do not closely match the individuals that our community serves and the future culture of our community is impacted by these efforts on Facebook’s part.

In addition, Facebook has recently started moving very quickly towards Groups existing with paid advertising being added to our user experience. I have spent an incredible amount of time with my ear to the ground, and many hours upon hours researching what’s next for Facebook Groups. The future of paid advertising presence in Groups means that based on the Recommendations our  members suggest, Facebook can then directly court those same businesses with advertising opportunities. Currently in our Facebook personal feeds, every FIFTH post that you see is a PAID advert. That same experience is JUST around the corner for Groups. Facebook launched Groups back in 2010 and Mark Zuckerburg was quoted then as saying:

Facebook Groups will be as simple as inviting your best friends over for dinner. Facebook experimented with algorithmic solutions to understand which friends and information users care about the most, but that those could go badly wrong if, for example, it decided that a tradesman who you had emailed daily over a work project must therefore be a close friend. The conclusion was that algorithms were OK for news feeds and lists of friends for chat, but not groups of friends.

That statement and value has clearly changed as the product has evolved. Facebook will continue to make changes that benefit them, as they are an advertising and media company, without any say from their users. I am forecasting the needs of this community by migrating us to a different platform while we still have the ability to do so with minimal invasion for you – our members. This migration means forward steps are being taken to ensure the future of your community, as well as allowing the continued support and encouragement of future I Am A Triangle members – without interference from advertisers, engineers and a top down company structure.

Facebook owns the content in our group (that means your posts, photos, comments, etc.), and as we intend to utilize the topics of those previous posts to generate long-lasting resources for our community, we will absolutely abide by their policies as it relates to the four years of content and will also not violate any terms of use or copyright issues as it relates to individual members.

 

Q: Why is the new platform so much better than Facebook for our community?

Our new platform is provided by Mighty Networks. It’s been carefully and thoughtfully created by Gina Bianchini and her amazing team, Rachel, Audra, Katherine, Brian and many more brains, for the purpose of promoting community and deep and impactful groups. It is available to you via an app (both for Android and iOS) AND a web interface that you can access via your laptop, phone or handheld device.

Some of the most meaningful features are:

  • Not interested in travel destinations or recommendations for Airbnb homes in Bhutan? Simply unfollow Topics that are not of importance to you, and design your own feed.
  • More easily and seamlessly locate TriCONNECT groups that are near you, or are in locations you are soon to relocate to.
  • Connect simply with other members who have experiences that you are interested in (Mercy Ships, teaching in China, homeschooling abroad, etc.)
  • Find and help create groups that cover the wide array of interests that apply to our members. Missionaries, military personnel, entrepreneurs, parents of special needs children, solo travelers, international educators, the list goes on and on!
  • Robust search function to isolate the content that is most important to you.
  • Find members near you. Whether you are traveling for work – or a holiday – and have a long layover, or you’re on a look-see trip and would like to get together with other Triangles, this feature makes that super simple!
  • Streamlined Ambassador program allowing you to invite your friends and family with one click, and you can earn discounts on our Shop!

Coming soon to the Mighty Networks platform:

  • Language localization (read the content in our community in YOUR native tongue)
  • Job Board
  • Courses and e-learning
  • And more!

Features of an online community that remain:

  • Chat with other members, privately
  • RSVP for local events in your location
  • Follow conversations that are important
  • Show support with a “cheer!”

In addition to the above reasons, our community will be free from any corporate decisions on advertising, our members will be more enabled to speak openly and share the nuances of their private lives and truly reach out for support when it’s needed. We also have frequent requests to “let us know when you’re not on Facebook” as many individuals are not using it for various reasons. This new migration allows us to be truly inclusive and allow the greatness of our community be accessible for everyone.

 

Q: Do we have to pay now for something that has previously been free?

The I Am A Triangle Facebook group was originally simply created to be a place of support and encouragement for people who had read and resonated with the I Am A Triangle, and Other Thoughts on Repatriation blog post, published in September of 2013. It has since grown by leaps and bounds to become the thriving group it is today. As of the writing of this post, we are over 16,000 members. The group originally was moderated by a small group of four volunteers, then it became two, and for the last year or so, I have solely moderated the main group. We also have an amazing team of leaders for our TriCONNECT groups and they have been generous with their time to moderate their subgroups and that has been wildly helpful. Each time the group swells and continues to grow, it became increasingly difficult to manage the hours required to moderate the group (duties include ensuring new member requests are legitimate, approving new members, welcoming, reviewing posts, responding to inappropriate language or behavior, protecting the group from constant spam, advertising and political posts, etc.). It has been suggested we simply add more administrators/moderators to share the load, but that is simply a temporary solution to a larger challenge.

The feedback received from IAAT members has shown that Facebook no longer supports the larger issues our group face on a daily basis. Our community has outgrown what Facebook allows the success of the group to be, and that, combined with feedback, suggestions and ideas received from a large number of members, led to the decision to go to new community platform. This migration will continue to offer free access to the community and TriCONNECT groups.

Managing the community on Facebook — while there is no cost charged by Facebook to have a Group — has cost resources, as the time spent moderating and growing the community results in time being taken away from my full time job – as the owner of 8th & Home, a real estate company. In addition, Facebook doesn’t allow for any institutional information to be captured, collected or created. The creation of the website and new community platform levels the amazing expertise, advice and information that is shared across the whole of the I Am A Triangle group, offers an opportunity to earn a small amount of money from affiliate relationships (more on that down below) and efficiently streamlines the task of stewardship, which will allow me to better focus my time and efforts on things that will bring value to you.

Q: So this is free for members, how are you going to make money?

Originally we intended to create a paid membership site so that website costs, trademarking costs, bringing on team members to help moderate the group and other costs of doing business would be covered, however …

Along this journey of creating the website and researching platforms, I have since realized that this community — and access to the resources we can provide — need to be offered at NO cost to our members. I do believe in the value offered by various membership sites, but believe MORE in the power OF our community. We are stronger and more able to serve if access to I Am A Triangle is offered FREE to members.

The funds raised during the crowdfunding campaign have been used to design, build and create the website, and to partially pay for the cost of trademarking both the logo and name of I Am A Triangle. The remaining trademarking costs not covered by the crowdfunding campaign were borne by me personally as were the costs for the creation of the logo, etc.

The new platform subscription fee is currently being paid for out of my own funds. Those costs and any future costs will be paid for by the I Am A Triangle organization, once money begins trickling in. This monetization will be accomplished by onboarding partners who align with our values and ethics who will be sponsors for our community. Additionally, we have also created a shop, where we will earn a small (keyword: small!) affiliate commission when members purchase items showcased. I aim to be transparent in this regard and hope the value and benefits are appreciated by the I Am a Triangle community. In addition to those two streams of potential revenue, various products, courses and training will be offered at a nominal cost to members, and a portion of those proceeds will be captured by the I Am A Triangle organization.

Launching in mid-2018 will be a philanthropic arm of the I Am A Triangle community. A portion of all profits will be donated to various humanitarian non-governmental organizations around the world, with a spotlight on a different organization each month. I am committed to ensuring that the I Am a Triangle community will meet the needs of our members for years to come.

Q: If I supported the IndieGoGo campaign because I thought I would have to pay for membership anyway, can I request a refund?

The campaign was an invitation to participate in supporting the creation of the resource website and some of our support levels matched the membership prices we originally thought we would be providing. As the membership fees have been removed, and our community remains free to you, all Indiegogo backers will receive a $25 “store credit” to our I Am a Triangle shop, valid when selecting any of our “swag” items (t-shirts, mugs, etc.). When the website launches, I will send out another message with that code so you can shop away! To the backers who contributed $50 or more to the campaign, in addition to the store credit code, a separate email will be coming soon to get correct spellings of your name, along with any tribute message you’d like included, for the Founding Members page.

Q: Is I Am A Triangle now a business?

A: I Am A Triangle was incorporated as a business in October of 2016, doing business in the State of Ohio. The logo and name are nearing the final steps for having trademarks in place to afford protection worldwide. The Articles of Incorporation are on file with the State of Ohio Secretary of State’s office.

Q: Why is there a website AND a community platform?

Imagine two buckets. One bucket holds our community platform. This is where we converse with each other, find events near us, ask for advice and support each other. The community platform is our gathering place where we can come and go from our time together as we need to get filled up, spend time with each other, or ask questions.

The second bucket holds our resource website. In order to best offer the resources that our members – and future members – will find valuable, we needed a smart place to “store” them, and as such, the resource website exists. It is not a final or perfect product – it will be an ongoing project to always bend with the needs of our growing community.  You can find expert’s articles, our blog contributors, the shop, a fun collection of Triangle related songs, relevant videos and more on the resource website.

Q: What does the website and community platform look like?

Please see these sneak peek images of the website. The website is very streamlined, user friendly with a simple and classy interface.  The community platform is available both in an app as well as a website interface. Both work seamlessly together, so you can pick and choose in which way you engage with the community.

the resource website:

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the community platform (web interface):

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the community platform (app):

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Q: Will the TriCONNECT groups have the same feel on the new website?

Even better! The new platform will have location and group/topic forums and your conversations exist in a better format! You can immediately join a TriCONNECT group (no waiting on leadership approval any longer!) based on groups near you, or based on interests that you have! You will then have access to events that are planned, contribute to a lively discussion on the best place for sushi, or which parks are dog-friendly around town. If your TriCONNECT is topic or group specific, there may not be events, but the forum will better serve meaningful and purposeful discussions, instead of a disappearing thread.

Q: So who will provide courses, workshops, e-learning, etc?

A Review Committee will take the responsibility for interviewing and choosing our course leaders, workshop leaders, etc. A submission document will be placed on the website for interested parties to submit their work, credentials and other pertinent information.

Q: How will advertising and the services directory work? Are we going to be bombarded by adverts and annoying pop-ups?

All business and service providers interested in either ad space or listed in our directory will be vetted by the IAAT Advisory Board. If approved, they will need to consistently be in accordance with our community guidelines. Advertising will be restricted to a dedicated page that the members can choose to visit if they desire. We will not have any pop-up ads on the website. Any businesses or organizations offering advertising will be vetted by the advisory board.

Q: What happens to the Facebook group, and how long will it continue to exist?

I fully recognize the familiarity and convenience that Facebook offers (I’ll stop short of calling it addictive), and know that this will feel like a big change for those of you who wish to keep your social life in one online location. For some of our members, the new platform will not be worth the step of opening the Mighty Networks app or clicking the bookmarked website on their laptops. For those members, we sincerely appreciate your contribution to the community and we are thankful you’ve been a part of the journey!

As of the writing of this blog post, the main Facebook group will be archived on or about the last week of August. Facebook provides three options when a Group will not be continuing in the future. One is to *CLOSE* a group, which means each member needs to be removed from the group, one at a time, with the admins being last to remove themselves from the group. As you will likely agree, that does not feel like a great option for more than one reason, and we will not be going that route. In addition to members being removed from the group, the content is no longer accessible. A second option is to opt to leave the content “As Is” and change the settings to be “Admin Must Approve All Posts” which mean that any future posts would be held for approval, which also doesn’t feel like a good solution. The final opportunity is to *ARCHIVE*, which means the content remains as it is today, Facebook no longer promotes the community to other Facebook users and you are free to revisit the community to search for past posts, look up a fellow member whom you’d previously connected with, etc.

Have questions that weren’t covered or discussed? Jump over to the new platform and send me a chat message! Can’t wait to see you there!

To join, visit: I Am A Triangle on the new community platform and request an invite!

∆,

Naomi Hattaway, Founder

I Am A Triangle

Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence

It has been forever since I’ve written! I have so many things to say and share, but when I sit down to write a blog post, I get so easily sidetracked. You too?

Something I want more of here in this space is the sharing of some really awesome things that I find. Whether it’s music, products, books, projects, apps or anything in between, I love collecting and curating and learning about amazing people doing really wonderful things.

I am always on the lookout for unique ways to teach children about legends, heroes, those who we can learn from. The Marie Curie Alumni Association has created a super great book series called My Super Science Heroes and first up, is Marie Curie! Read on to learn more about this cool crowdfunding campaign that starts TODAY! Spread the word and help bring this project to life!

Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence

Helping Kids Discover Their Persistence: A New Children’s Book About Marie Curie

My Super Science Heroes is a new illustrated book series for kids between the ages of 5-9 by the Marie Curie Alumni Association

 

The first book in the series, Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence, uses a novel storytelling approach—written and illustrated as a dynamic superhero story—this book introduces children to important scientists and their key accomplishments in a fun and engaging way.

Unlike any other children’s book about historical figures as it focuses not on the achievements of the two-time Nobel Laureate but instead on her personality traits that are inherent in all young children—persistence.

In Marie’s life story, she relies on her superpower during her ongoing battle with her arch nemesis, Mr. Opposition. In the late 1800s, women were seen as not capable of complex scientific thought and forbidden from attending university in Poland. Throughout her life, society and institutional limitations threatened to block her progress and achievements. However, Marie was determined to become educated and successful at any cost, and she persisted.

Oops! You are not invisible because you're logged into Google Talk from another client, device, or location that doesn't support invisibility. Search people... Available Debra Bruno Idle Cyndy Porter Idle Daniela Williams Idle Heather Myklegard Idle Mina Fies Idle Paul Sjoberg Offline Christina Daves Offline Kara Macdonald Offline Mary Van White Offline PJ Riner More 12 of 91 Do you want Folio to help organize transactions for this account? YES, ENABLE NO THANKS, HIDE FOR THIS ACCOUNT Print all In new window Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence
 
Marie Curie represents a strong-willed role model for both girls and boys as the first person to ever win two Nobel Prizes and the only person to win Nobel Prizes in two different sciences. This book demystifies her complex discoveries using language that early readers can understand, and parents and teachers alike will find it a joy to read aloud.
 
Children love epic adventures complete with heroes, villains, and incredible superpowers and this book delivers all of that with dynamic and infectious energy.
Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence
 
The Marie Curie Alumni Association is dedicated to inspiring and empowering the next generation of scientific thinkers through the power of storytelling.
 
 
Help bring science to life for our youngest heroes by supporting the book.

Tuesday Triangle Tunes : Ingrid Michaelson, Home

Even in the harshest of winter I feel so warm
Even when the marks climb up the wall I still feel small

This is my home
This is my home
Where I go when I’ve got nowhere else to go
This is my home
This is my home
Where I go when I don’t know where else to go

I know everything about this place, it wears your face
Even when my body blows away, my soul will stay

This is my home
This is my home
Where I go when I’ve got nowhere else to go
This is my home
This is my home
Where I go when I don’t know where else to go

Do you feel safe?
Do you feel safe?
Do you feel safe?
Do you feel safe?

This is my home
This is my home
Where I go when I’ve got nowhere else to go
This is my home
This is my home
Where I go when I don’t know where else to go

 

Danielle Laporte : Wisdom is Paradoxical

Danielle LaPorte Wisdom

I’ve been a long time fan of Danielle LaPorte. When I first started listening to her and reading her work, I thought “eh, this is a bit too foo-foo and woo-woo for this practical and reasoning mind of mine.” However, the longer I listened, and read, the more I started to learn that a big part of being wise, is being able to absorb tracks of truth from all sorts of sources. Danielle is someone that if you don’t already follow, I think you should.

I’ve been a part of her launch team for her new White Hot Truth book, and she is sharing this ‘guest post’ today in an effort to talk about paradoxes and wisdom … and I wanted to in turn share it with you. I bring you, Danielle LaPorte Wisdom is Paradoxical.


WISDOM IS PARADOXICAL: True wisdom usually holds and transcends opposing points of view. Wisdom knows that there is always an exception to the rule, that there is a time and place, and that a case-by-case approach is divine protocol.

If you can comfortably hold your paradoxes, you’re going to be just fine.

Because I’m suggesting that you:

1. Love yourself first and foremost and… Include the world in your loving (and then get off your ass and be more selflessly engaged).

2. Raise your standards and… Be more flexible and accommodating.

3. Forgive and… Don’t forget.

4. Honour spiritual traditions and… Be your own guru.

5. Be open-hearted and… Have clear, strong boundaries.

6. Be understanding and… Don’t take any shit.

7. Have a vision and… Go with the flow.

8. Trust and… Do the work.

9. Get real and… Be idealistic.

10. Be steadfast in your Truth and… Make all kinds of exceptions.

11. Have strong preferences and… Be easy to please.

12. Lead with your heart and… Your head.

13. Own your extraordinariness and… Your ordinariness.

Because it’s up to you and… we’re all in this together. And hey, we have all the time in the world, but… this is urgent.

This is a peek-a-boo from Danielle LaPorte’s new book love #WhiteHotTruth, Chapter 3: TRUTHFULLY SEEKING.

G E T M O R E: Read or listen to the entire chapter free HERE.

Which of this list would be the most difficult for you to subscribe to? Are there several paradoxes that speak to you?

All strength is not loud (or wearing red)

The news isn’t officially banned in our household, but it might as well be. There are very few sources that offer bipartisan information, so I choose to leave it turned off.

I only visit my Twitter account these days to share something impactful I’ve heard or read lately (via a book, song lyrics or on a podcast) to give the author / artist a shout out that the art they have painstakingly put out into the world has found its way to a soul that appreciates the work.

The moments that my resolve cracks momentarily and I find myself scrolling through the 160 character spew fests, I immediately feel my heart beat faster and I know my blood pressure is rising. I can tell, because of my physical reaction, but yet I hold my phone, and continue to scroll, with my left hand thumb flicking upwards.

Attacking. Spewing. Anger flying. Hurting feelings. Speaking too quickly. 

No fact checking. No regard for the other’s opinions.

Maybe they aren’t opinions at all, but simply words they heard someone else say?

Name calling. Hashtagging.

Judging because they marched. Judging because they didn’t march.

Changing their minds. Wavering between stated positions. Retreating, then lashing.

How dare you? Who are you? Why are you even here? Did you even vote? 

Go back where you came from. You don’t deserve a passport. You disgust me.

Keyboard warriors. Laptop Activists. Movement obsessed.

I’ve removed the Facebook app from my phone, and have long utilized the Newsfeed Eradicator Chrome Extension (which literally means I cannot see my news feed when I log onto Facebook from my laptop). I didn’t want to unfriend those who view life differently than me, but I needed to slow down the speed at which their opinions entered my psyche.

When someone near me is talking about politics, I set my jaw hard on the left side. I tap my tongue against the inside of my mouth … on the smooth part of my teeth and listen. I listen to whether they have something new for me to learn. I want to use every opportunity to add value to the time we are given together. It isn’t easy. My blood sometimes boils and my the hair on the back of my neck stands up often … but we must first listen.

Our staunch beliefs are rooted in so many things. Our opinions are the culmination of how you were raised and how you were not raised. Whether you spoke openly at the dinner table about the White House or barely knew what a voting precinct meant. What we think about the climate of our world is colored by where we’ve lived and how you view government’s control over a place. It is determined by whether you were bullied or supported, loved or abandoned. We even allow our experiences with religion, cultural events and education eek into the way we feel about those running our countries.

I have maintained a “head down” and “stay in my lane” mantra since well before the election. I grew increasingly saddened by the campaigns from both parties as we went into the election — and that feeling hasn’t changed since. Not because he won and she lost, but because the behavior I am witnessing amongst my fellow human race is defeating and disheartening.

It’s a weird place to be, this in the middle lane that I find myself in. It’s a location I sit squarely in on matters of race, and on matters of feminism and religion as well. I bite my tongue more than I speak, which is slightly ironic because otherwise, my mouth rants and rages on most topics.

What happens when the silent majority of those in the middle isn’t loud enough? I recently watched the remake of Beaches with our 10 year old daughter and one of the recurring themes, said by CC to Hillary, is:

Not all strength is loud.


I have given myself permission to live in a “not all strength is loud” way of being.

By checking out of social media, you are not irresponsible

By refusing to watch the news, you are not ignorant

By choosing to get a pedicure and watch The Voice recordings in the afternoons, you are not anti-feminist

By marching or by NOT marching, you are likely still not doing enough

By reading personal or business development books instead of the latest op-ed or Medium article on the most recent EO, you are not turning a blind eye

By asking someone a question on why they believe the way they do, you are dropping a small ripple of goodness on its way towards change

By listening to that person while they answer your question, you are furthering the cause of progression

By insisting that kindness and hopefulness still reign supreme, you are not being ridiculous

By reminding each other that we can impact our local climate, we are supporting each other in healthy ways.


I wrote all of those words a few weeks ago, but was reminded today, on International Women’s Day, as I’m being asked from my friends – the world over – if I’m participating in the #ADayWithoutAWoman movement, that I never hit submit.

I could easily get blasted for speaking “from a place of privilege”.  I’ll be honest that the fear of speaking my mind (on topics of racism, feminism, equality, etc.) and then being subjected to that “place of privilege” being thrown in my face has kept me from saying much on the topics until now. I’ve never been one to shy away from sharing my opinion and my truth, so I’m not sure why I’ve let it hush me for so long. I do speak from a place of privilege – I will say that out loud, and acknowledge it. Whether it’s white privilege (even though I’m biracial), socio-economic privilege, religious, sexual preference, citizenship, you name it — I have it.  I have cringed when reading one article (from a “privileged” author) be lambasted and challenged by someone without the same privilege in a “how dare you” tone of voice. I have winced when listening to someone who feels oppressed share their stories, and have felt sad, helpless and hurt for them, only to then hear that someone (“privileged”) supported their plight, but was shunned for pretending to know what it felt like.

We cannot continue to — in a sweeping manner — call people out on their privilege as IF it automatically negates their activism, waters down their voice, their power or their truth.

 
Whether you are oppressed or have every privilege afforded to you, no matter who you voted for, why you voted for them, or what you’re now doing about the world you live in, I am so happy to see SO many rising up, showing up and speaking up. I honestly have been encouraged by the increased discussions taking place around what is happening in our world.

International Women’s Day was designed to:
… reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.” – United Nations website
Then there is the #DayWithoutAWoman, designed to encourage these actions:
Do not engage in paid and unpaid work. Wear red in solidarity. Avoid spending money (unless it’s at an establishment owned by women or minorities).
If we are celebrating those acts of courage and determination by ordinary women, it seems like the DWAW only takes us a step back. Let’s all “stay home” and for some, risk losing our jobs. Let’s not spend the money WE worked hard to earn. I still haven’t figured out why we are encouraged to only spend money at establishments owned by women OR minorities. Confused, but whatever.
So … in answer to the questions I have fielded today:

I am not wearing red today.

I am showing up and getting work done.

I am spending money that I earned today.

I wonder what it would look like if we encouraged:
  • Wear a color that is any hue you choose, but be sure it’s BOLD (and then when someone sees that boldness, own it and say “thank you!” with the same fervor our male counterpart would).
  • Go to work and teach someone else a new skill or talent that will empower their future paid and recognized work.
  • Spend your hard earned money in a way that empowers the true progress of women in this world, whether philanthropically, buying to support local makers, etc. or in any other manner of empowering and lifting up.

 

Worth a ponder, don’t you think?

On another similar, but separate topic. I have a question (a real question, that I’m looking for the answers to): What IS the feminist movement, as it’s currently being used in 2017?

 

Danielle Laporte says:
In terms of leadership, I’m not that interested in someone’s gender. I’m interested in their wholeness. Just because someone identifies as a female doesn’t mean they’re working on behalf of the “Divine Feminine.” If more females move into positions of so-called power, but they’re operating on the patriarchal mindset, then it’s hardly progress. It’s only adding to the illusions and confusion around what power and equality really mean. (Side Note: used on its own, the term patriarchy can trigger brushstroke judgments that anyone with a penis is a patriarchal asshole. The patriarchal mindset is not gender-specific, it’s a paradigm that can corrupt anyone, at any age, from almost any culture. There are MANY men out there who are “heart-led, with spines of direction and ambition, and with profoundly tender attentiveness, who embody wholeness.”
What does feminism mean to you? What does it mean for the way you go about your every day?

I am getting up on this Wednesday, March 8th and I am going to work. As a very dear friend said to me, “I am going to work today to lead. I am going to work today to learn. I am going to work today because my family depends on my income, and because it makes me a better woman than I was yesterday.”  I have been on a long journey to get to where I am with “my work” and not showing up for it today feels … not right for me.

I am going to spend my money today and do something that makes a difference in the lives of those around me (my “do something good” scale heavily  leans towards things like Ripple Effect Images or my continuing Kiva contribution or by simply adding some of my hard earned money to my Ellevest investment account.)

It is not enough to wear pink pussy hats or red tshirts with a raised fist in the air. It is not enough to watch important documentaries, but fail to discuss them after you leave the theater. It’s also not enough to open your checkbook and give $200 to the refugees. It’s not enough to pen thought provoking blog posts or share the most recent Upworthy video all over your social.

Perhaps you’ll want to say I’m not “feminist enough”, or am naive to today’s world, but but I simply support the fight to — every single day —  be a better person than you were when you went to sleep last night. Show up for people who are creating opportunities for themselves and their families. Stand behind those who see their leadership quotient and raise the bar for those they were called to lead. Share and elevate of the stories and goals of those who strive to learn and expand their consciousness and awareness.

I will however, bolster my strong spine, clear my throat, work my ass off today to be better than I was yesterday, give some of my hard earned money to impact someone else’s life, and will do my part to raise children who are empowered to do the same.

The Divine Feminine sure ain’t about being the first female president, dean or CEO of anything. Ranking high in a broken system doesn’t necessarily make you a heroine of feminism – tho’ it very well could, and women’s history is abundant with those true pioneers. The Divine Feminine is the warrior and the healer … it is justice and mercy, carried out with grace. It’s economics and the arts … that nurture the entire community. Being direct and loving the hunt of opportunities – these are characteristically masculine qualities. I am deeply intuitive and nurturing — innately feminine qualities. When I’m at my best, I express all of these qualities in my ALL-WOMAN ways. My delivery is compassionate and often softly spoken; my business operates on a triple bottom line, so that we can ALL be well fed, even if it means I share my own food. I am BEING the Divine Feminine.  – Danielle LaPorte
 (P.S. / Side Note / This is where you come in —–> What you’ve just read is a LOT of unedited free-flowing thoughts from my brain. It’s rambling and quite possibly messy in how well it reads BUT I welcome a conversation around this. I want to learn more from each of you, and understand more than I did when I hit submit.)

Let's Go To Work Chris Brogan

 

 

 

Gold in the Dirt, Danae

I love music. I don’t really dig heavy metal or rap, but otherwise, bring me ALL of the music. It uplifts, it lets me connect with my soul, it quiets, it ramps up, it whispers, it screams, it speaks. It motivates, it encourages and it empowers.

Recently, I bought myself an Echo and have not looked back. I simply say “Echo?” and my little friend plays anything I ask it to. LOVE. You should get one. Seriously!

Every year, I choose a word that will help guide and support the year ahead  — both personally and in business. This year, it’s disrupt. I’ll share more on that soon, but I’ve come to realize that my word gains more traction when I assign a song to it. A personal anthem, a power song, a musical mantra.

This year, the song that found its way to me is Gold in the Dirt, by Danae. I don’t remember how I found Danae, but I am so thankful. The lyrics are meaningful and fit my intentions for the Year of Disrupt!

I’m done living my life
Just to get out alive
Yellow flickering light
Got it in my sights

Doesn’t really what it costs us
Gonna carry this shovel till the sun comes up
I’m gonna break up the dust in the earth

Cause there’s gold in the dirt, gold in the dirt
Dig a little deeper, there’s gold in the dirt
~
Black, blue, blood runs through
Every inch is proof
Shine, shine, deepen the mind
Leave the past  behind
~
Doesn’t really what the ending is

I got one shot, I’m gonna take it
I’m gonna shake up the dust in the earth

Doesn’t really what it costs us
Gonna carry this shovel till the sun comes up
Doesn’t really what the ending is
I got one shot, I’m gonna take it
I’m gonna break up the dust in the earth

Because connection is important to me, I wanted to reach out to Danae and learn a bit more about her, and I also REALLY, really wanted to know about the gold triangle necklace she always wears, because, you know, I’m all about all things Triangle!! Graciously, she answered my email right away, and the result of our connection and dialogue resulted in this Q&A. Let me introduce you to …
danae logo

Danae, share a brief introduction of you, your background and your journey to where you are today:

My creative journey has been one of personal discovery and joy. As a little girl, I loved to sing, but I don’t have memories of thinking I would be a “star” or a “singer” when I grew up. I also loved to write poetry, which eventually led me to start songwriting. I simply created to create; out of a deep love for it. Perhaps this also came from the fact that my older brothers were always in bands and shooting for the stars. I simply loved the music making experience!

How has your journey with music changed your perspective on life and the world:

Being a performing musician has taken me into situations and moments that I could have never imagined. On a tour to Germany in 2015, I found myself taking a bus to a small town on the outskirts of Bremen. The local pawn shop owner said that I would find the venue if I just kept walking. So I walked a mile with my backpack guitar and finally came across a beautiful retreat center. As the clock struck 7 pm, the show started and the room was filled with 50 Germans there to hear my music! This story is less about me and more about the power of the unknown. Music creation and performance has taught me to never underestimate people but to always be confident in myself as I share the gifts I’ve been given.

Danae

What was the biggest catalyst to the creation of Gold in the Dirt?

Gold in the Dirt started simply as a title and the first lyric: “I’m done living my life just to get out alive.” I can’t remember when I first wrote that down, but I took it into a co-write with AG, a producer in LA, and she loved it! We ended up writing the song in like an hour, which for my pop songs is lightning fast.

What does “home” mean to you?

Home is where you are loved for who you are. Home is where people know your quirks and your history and still dig deeper. Because I travel a lot and grew up in a number of different places, home really has become a place where family and friends are.

What does “community” mean to you, both personally and with your music?

Community is the place you feel safe to create and a group of people who send you out into the world. Nashville, where I lived for 2.5 years, has an incredible community. If you have an idea and passion, people will rally around you to help bring it to life. Community is also the place I often find the most authentic acceptance.

So this triangle necklace! Tell me a bit about the story behind Direction and … how were you connected originally to Sarah, the artist who created the necklace?

Danae

Sarah and I met over 9 years ago when I first moved to Washington D.C. We were in a book club together, and she was one of those people I just connected with instantly. I had only known her a few months when she asked me to sing in her wedding. And once you sing in someone’s wedding you are friends for life. It’s kind of the deal. The idea for the Direction Necklace was a natural outgrowth of our friendship and previous collaborations. I wanted something signature and special, a reminder of potential, change and hope. The Direction Necklace has been that for me and I hope it is that for others as well.

Note from Sarah Bayot: Each purchase of a Direction Necklace provides a scholarship for under resourced children to attend school. Currently, Kicheko is partnered with Mango Tree School, a primary school based in Uvira that educates over 200 primary-level students in the South Kivu province who are underresourced and cannot afford school fees and the other costs associated with attending school. Kicheko is an attempt to combat this cycle by identifying students who are most in need and working with families to ensure that their children stay in school year round.

Note from Naomi: If you purchase a Direction Necklace, please let me know in the comments!

How have you found your place in the “giving back” space and what is most often on your heart in terms of how you can serve others?

When it comes to giving back, I love to partner with people who share a common “why” with me and a drive to overcome obstacles along the way. I’m always open to fresh collaborations that will create positive change in the word.

What do you do to feed the desire for local and global connection

I think that desire is simply in my blood stream. Having lived overseas in Russia as a child and traveling to over 20 countries, I am constantly looking for connections to the world beyond myself. On a practical level, I try to read the news regularly and to stay connected with friends in industries different than my own.

Who influences you? Who do you read / listen to … or look to for inspiration and motivation?

I have a unique and solid community of girlfriends who I have known for over 5 years, and my conversations with them are a significant influence on me. They ask the deep, cutting questions I need to grow and give me a safe place to say my rough draft thoughts out-loud. Musically, I try to keep a pretty steady stream of the newest pop. I like to hear what’s happening in the market. Books wise, recently I’ve been reading a lot of articles about the mind and how it works. The way connections are made and the power of positive thinking. I also glean a lot of inspiration from my personal Faith. Ultimately, I believe that each of us were created to create.

What do you think about vulnerability and authenticity … and what do those two words look like when they show up in the work you do?

I aim to be authentic in everything I do. Whether at work, at the café, writing a song, loving my mom, listening to a friend, authenticity is the act of being present, of giving your real mind and heart to the moment to engage. To me, vulnerability is the next level deep past authenticity. You can be authentic but not vulnerable. I want my music and life to ring with the honesty of an authentic voice while also communicating the truth of a vulnerable heart.

Danae

 

What is next for you?

I’m currently working on a remix of Direction that will come out in Q1 of this year, which I am super excited about. It’s from a favorite Nashville producer of mine – Nilo G. He’s creative and I think fans will love the reimagined version of last year’s hit! Also, I new songs that are in pre-production. So keep an eye out cause the best music is yet to come for sure!

Where can we find you online?

The best place to connect online is Instagram. I think it’s my favorite social media platform. In addition to that, my website danae.co always had the latest stuff brewing. If you are on Facebook, don’t miss out on that too!

~

Danae, thank you for popping by and sharing you and your music!

Naomi Signature - small

2016 Year End Giving

It’s not too late to do a mad dash of year end giving! If you’re anything like me, I’ve put off some opportunities to give financially this year, so I wanted to put together a quick post of the three ways our family regularly gives with our checkbook.


 

Ministry 2 Kenya Deb Smith

Ministry 2 Kenya

My mother, Deb Smith, is a missionary in Kenya! She has been there for 15 years and steps alongside those who are often otherwise forgotten — mostly children in need of an education — both in the urban slums and the rural villages. Through long-lasting, meaningful, one-on-one relationships she brings hope and encouragement to the lonely and the discouraged. Kenya’s academic year starts the first week of January and mom has started her fundraising campaign to raise the money needed for SEVEN students to have their fees paid for the 2017 academic year. The total needed is $2,880 and as of this post, $955 has already come in!!

In addition to the tuition, other expenses include:

  • textbooks, notebooks, pens, pencils, and other supplies
  • personal items for those who attend boarding school
  • fare to go home for the breaks between terms.

Deb, a/k/a Mom, has a need to raise the remaining funds by Christmas so that she can make arrangements to pay all school fees before she comes back to the US for a home leave trip. If you’d like to participate in sending a child to school and would like to help pay school fees, please click the Donate button just below this sentence. 100% of all funds raised go straight to the tuition and expenses … together, you can help impact the life of a child and their entire family!

DONATE TO THE SCHOOL FUND


 

Ripple Effect Images

 

I am honored to have been asked to serve on the advisory board for Ripple Effect Images, an amazing organization, doing amazing things in this world. A note from the Founder, Annie Griffiths that I wanted to share with you:
 
As we head into the holiday season, I have some truly lovely news to share. Ripple’s aid partners have reported raising more than 7 million dollars this year using the images and films we created for them. That is a return on our investment of 1429%. (I just love this number!) This is huge!
 
Every dollar invested became 14+ dollars of additional aid in a single year… a breath-taking Ripple Effect. Most importantly, behind every dollar are real women and children with so much potential. Thanks to Ripple supporters:
 
-7000 families in Guatemala will now receive clean cookstoves
-Teenage girls in northern Uganda will have safe shelters to go to when they flee early marriage
-Thousands of villagers in Ethiopia will learn how to prevent and cure a devastating foot disease caused by farming in volcanic soil
-7000 children in Bangladesh, Tanzania and Uganda will receive funding for early childhood education
-The effort to eradicate pediatric AIDS in Africa will accelerate
 
So THANK YOU! Ripple’s year-end goal is to raise $100,000 that, at our current rate of impact, could turn into nearly 1.5 million dollars of additional support for women and children in the developing world! This year, more than ever, we need to work together to move the world forward. We simply can’t do it without you.
 
 
Kiva

When a Kiva loan enables someone to grow a business and create opportunity for themselves, it creates opportunities for others as well. That ripple effect can shape the future for a family or an entire community.

Regardless of where you choose to spend your charitable giving dollars this year, and for years future, one really SMART thing to do is always check out the health of the organizations you are giving to.  Charity Navigator, your “guide for intelligent giving”, is an amazing tool to check out the transparency and ratings of large charitable and philanthropic organizations. Worth noting, in order to be analyzed and receive a Charity Navigator rating, the organization must have filed specific IRS forms for at least 7 years, so you won’t find all of your favorite 501(c)(3)s there.
Let me know in the comments what YOUR favorite charitable organization is!
N.