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Community Over Competition with Natalie Franke

On The DMV Wedding Pros Podcast this week, I got to chat with Natalie Franke. Natalie is best known as a creative, entrepreneur, writer, and speaker. She is the Co-Founder of The Rising Tide Society and Head of Community at Honeybook. All of her projects and features can be found on her website.

We talked about The Rising Tide Society, and how Natalie sparked #CommunityOverCompetition. We talked all things community and connection, showing up for yourself and your business, being transparent online, and so much more.

Hey Natalie! I'm so excited you could join us today. Give yourself an introduction.

I am Natalie Franke. I am a wedding photographer by trade, turned community builder by choice. I created a community of small business owners called The Rising Tide Society alongside some really incredible co-founders five years ago in Annapolis. It has grown and evolved into this really extraordinary group of people that champion a mindset of community over competition in over 400 cities now around the world. Over 77,000 members. My day to day work looks like supporting our community, and building resources that help small business owners to thrive and beat the statistics, as we like to say, and to support one another as we rise together.

That's awesome. As a fellow Annapolitan and as someone in the wedding industry, I'm really excited to chat with you and bring listeners into this conversation. I'd love to just chat about how this spark started with this philosophy of community over competition, which I'm assuming started with your wedding photography business. So if you could share that with us.

Absolutely. I started photographing weddings toward the end of high school, prior to going to college. I mention that because for a number of years throughout my time at Penn and while I was studying at school, I was building my business. I was trying to figure out if this was something I could take full time. If this was just a dream, just a naive hope that I had that I could be a full time photographer, or if this was a sustainable livelihood that I could step into and that I could grow into. So for years and years and years I hustled incredibly hard to build my business, and when I finally graduated I had booked up more than enough weddings in order to step in and be completely full time, and not have to go and look for a full time job, which to me was winning, adulting on all cylinders. It was the dream, and the goal.

What I didn't quite realize in taking that step and jumping in full time was that entrepreneurship can be incredibly lonely. It can be so unbelievably isolating. It can be so difficult and stressful and overwhelming. It feels like there's no escape from that endless rat race of getting ahead, of working harder and faster than our competition. I experienced that first hand when I was building that photography business, especially when I leapt into the full time role and had bills to pay, and at that point student loans to pay, and a lot of responsibility on my shoulders.

Truthfully, I was just craving to be a part of something that was bigger than myself. To be a part of a community, to belong, to be welcomed, to be able to support others and be supported in return. I didn't know where to turn for that. I saw some groups that existed in a creative industry, but it was always industry specific. It was photographers sitting with photographer or designers sitting with designers, or it was veterans in business who had been doing this for ten years and they weren't open to newcomers coming in and shaking things up. I couldn't really find a place where I saw a real environment of welcoming others that I wanted to see, that invited all different industry types and people to sit at the table. Somewhere you really could sit next to an artist, or cinematographer, or consultant, or a strategist, or a maker, and have a conversation about small business ownership where everyone was open and giving and didn't feel like they needed to hide their secrets, and really wanted one another to win, really was rooting for everyone to make it.

And so, over a conversation with friends, we ultimately decided to try and build that community in Annapolis. That is where Rising Tide began. It was never meant to be this massive community or international movement or hashtag with four million posts on it for Community Over Competition. It was really a coffee meet up in Annapolis, Maryland, meant to change the way that small business owners connected and supported each other in our hometown. What ended up happening was, we started it, we started taking those steps, and we started getting people together at a coffee shop. And others noticed. They saw us doing this on social media, Instagram in particular, and within hours of our first meetup we had people reaching out to us saying, "Hey, I want this where I live. I want a group that gets together that supports each other. I've been looking for what you're creating. How do I build it, or how do I start a group here?"

From that moment on, I think we realized there really was a need for this. And a need for someone to facilitate it. For years I had looked around and said, "When is somebody going to fix this? When is somebody going to create this group?" and I realized nobody was going to create it but us. We adopted that mentality very much with Rising Tide, where whenever we got those messages we just said, "Hey, do you want to be the leader of this group? Would you like to start one in your area? Do you want to create a chapter? This is our mission, these are our core values, this is what we stand for. If this sounds like the type of world you want to live in too, then it's time for you to step up and lead."

We were blown away as different creatives and small business owners raised their hands to create their own groups, and Rising Tide has been growing for the past five years ever since.

That is amazing. What year was that first meeting held?

2015. We officially launched in June of 2015, but our first meeting was earlier that year, I want to say around April or March. At that moment it wasn't even called Rising Tide, I think the name was like Creative Cafe. I know, original name. But that's what it was. Five years was sort of the official launch, and it's been wild. I can't believe it's been half a decade. It feels both like a lifetime, and also like we just started.

For some reason I expected it to be longer. The amount of growth and community that has happened in the past five years is... that's so crazy to me. So cool. Do you remember the kind of coining of this #CommunityOverCompetition?

Yeah. It's funny. I had just attended a conference called Creative At Heart. At the time it was right amidst these conversations emerging where we wanted something better for our industry. The actual hashtag, and the coining of that phrase, started as an Instagram challenge, and it originated as me simply going on Instagram and saying today instead of posting about yourself or using your platform to talk about your business, what if we turn the tide and use this as an opportunity to talk about somebody else? What if you went on Instagram and used your platform to cheer for your competition, to actually lift them up, to support them? What if we created this world?

What was crazy is at first it was a hand full of just my closest friends that were doing it, and no one else was doing it. Suddenly other people saw them doing this and thought, "Oh my gosh, this is awesome. This is really different, and they did it, too." And before we knew it, it was dozens of people and then hundreds of people. We realized there was something to this, and the phrase itself felt like it fit with our core values and what we were really trying to accomplish in our industry. While we were simultaneously thinking about Rising Tide, this was all happening in parallel, we kind of brought it under the umbrella of Rising Tide and made it the mantra of the community. It stuck ever since.

For those who may not know exactly what Rising Tide's mission is, or what actually goes on at a Rising Tide meeting or in a Rising Tide group, how would you describe that to newcomers?

Rising Tide is on a mission to educate and empower creative entrepreneurs and small business owners to rise together doing what they love. And how we do that, in the day to day, looks like a hybrid model of in-person and online community support. The in-person component is the 400 meetups that I talked about. Those take place in cities all around the United States, Canada, and in some cities around the world. They're led by grassroots volunteer leaders - I always say the best of us, the best of humanity - just amazing business owners that care so much about changing the culture of their local communities, and reframing competition under this sort of putting people first mentality. The meetings themselves are held, for the most part, on the second Tuesday of every month. In a non-pandemic year, they are held in person, although for the safety of everyone in our community we've moved virtually for the time being. They don't look like a traditional networking meeting, so don't show up with business cards expecting to network in the traditional sense. We are about relationship building and about education sharing, so we have a topic every month that we cover that varies month to month. It has to do with business, for the most part, although there are things that we think connect to business that are critical to talk about, like mental health and mental wellness, philanthropy and giving back. Those sort of topics that aren't as tactical, but yet still incredibly important. Otherwise you can expect to show up, and have - like we've covered social media marketing, brand voice and copywriting, email marketing strategies, client experience, workflow systems, automations, like you name it, we've probably covered it. That's sort of the in-person component. We meet, we gather, we talk about an educational topic, we share information with one another, we ask questions. We have a safe space to share, to be heard, and to learn.

And then online we also have sort of the other half of Rising Tide, which is the online support. We have local groups that actually facilitate those in-person meetings that are online, and then we have a large Facebook group with about 70,000 people in it that really serves as a catch-all for question asking, and getting support, getting answers in different areas of your business where you might feel stuck, or if you just want to learn something new.

We also have a couple communities that are experience-based, so life experience-based and not necessarily geographically connected. That includes our military chapter, which is for small business owners that are either in the military or a part of a military family, as well as our Creatives and Chronically Ill chapter for creatives who have a chronic illness and navigate running a business with a chronic illness. That group alone has changed my own life, and I am a member of that group not a leader of that group. It has just been incredible to see the power of community unfold both in person and online.

I didn't even know that those existed!

Yeah, most people don't know. I think most people think we're just geographical groups, but that's sort of been an evolving understanding, that there are needs that our community has that transcend geography. And I'll say too, for both the military chapter and our creatives that are chronically ill, for many of them getting together in person in the same group in the same city every month just isn't possible. We really care deeply about accessibility, and that is something that we've been growing in as a community, working to improve across the board in all facets of our content. We believe as a core tenant in our values that a virtual community is incredibly important, critical, and necessary to the health of our world. We really do believe that. I know that social media gets a bad rep, but we really believe that when not used to consume but instead used to connect, social media gives us this gateway to really support one another and create accessible avenues for people to engage in connection, community, and friendship. For a lot of folks that isn't possible in person. It's so important to us to champion those groups, and just to continue building online community, too.

Definitely. Just personally in my own business, I've seen so much growth in the past two or so years because I was really investing time into building relationships in person, and now virtually. Just really pouring into people and having someone who you trust to brainstorm with and bounce ideas off of, it's so important. So it's no surprise to me that something like this really took off because before then there just wasn't a platform for people to do that.

Now, for an entrepreneur maybe just starting out, maybe looking for their own community and their own people, what are some things that you would say to them that they can get started with right now wherever they may be?

So I mean, look, the biggest thing that you can do outside of showing up to your next Tuesdays Together meeting, which you know I'm going to recommend because that is what I do, and I mean it - go to our website,, find your local group, get connected, get plugged in, show up - it leads me to a broader suggestion, which is show up. Show up in your potential opportunities to connect with others who do what you do. You might not be a brick and mortar, but if you are deeply connected to a local community, and even if you do something online as a digital entrepreneur, I still recommend digging in locally. Find other business owners that are in your area, that are getting started or growing and scaling, and reach out, connect. Follow them on Instagram, cheer for them on social media, slide into their DMs and start up a conversation just for the sake of it. Not to get anything out of it, but just to build a relationship. Show up to networking events, or Tuesdays Together meetups, or different types of community initiatives. I think the biggest advice I can give you if you're getting started and aren't really sure A) how to succeed beyond your craft and, B) to get plugged into your community, you just have to start showing up.

I can't tell you how many people join a thousand Facebook groups, but never once create content or leave a comment. I can't tell you how many people say that they want to make friends in their local community, but have never taken the first step to follow someone, to send the DM, to take the first step. And I know it's terrifying. I know, it's absolutely terrifying. I used to be someone who showed up to networking events when I was a young photographer - I had just gotten my license, really I was young, I was very very young - and I would drive up and I would pull up outside of these networking events and I would sit in my car. I would watch people walk in, and I remember thinking. "I don't fit in. I'm too this, I'm too that. I'm too young. I'm not going to be taken seriously. I'm too new. I don't know what I'm doing." And I would leave. I would get as far as pulling up to the front door, parking three spaces away, sitting in my car, and then I would just drive away.

I know what it feels like to be terrified to take that first step. All my introverts listening to this are like, "Wow, I feel personally attacked. No lies detected." I totally hear you. But I just want to encourage you that if you want to be successful in business, if you want to have a fulfilling experience as a business owner where you're deeply rooted in your relationships with others, you have to show up, and you have to take that first step regardless of how terrifying it is. And if the biggest thing you do is walk through the door at that next networking event when this pandemic is over, or you show up to your virtual meetup, or you send that DM and you reach out in generosity and in kindness to someone else, then that accomplishment is so much more than enough. So start there, start by showing up, and having the courage to just take that next step, whatever that looks like.

Definitely. I think that goes hand in hand with something that I preach often, which is to show up on social media. I think that's also something that's really difficult for introverts. Maybe especially for photo and video people who are used to being behind their camera, it's so hard to hop in front of the camera and get on your stories and get on your feed, but that's also something that you are really excellent at. Personally, I think that the more personal the better. People are getting to know you and that makes them want to work with only you. I would love to have you talk a little bit about all the things that you are really open about on your page, and how you make that work for you, just showing off who you are and your philosophies online.

I'll use Instagram as a primary platform because that really is where I spend most of my social media time. I've been on Instagram ever since it launched, probably about ten years-ish? Somewhere in that range. Let's just go with ten. For the first seven years of that experience, I didn't share anything personal. If you came to my feed you would know nothing more than I was a blonde-somewhat-brunette girl taking pictures with a camera who loved her job. That's all that you would know about me, and that was very much by intention. So what I'm about to say I want to preface with that because I think sometimes we can see those who are vulnerable or those who are sharing their personal story or who are being open and transparent and feel like it's so much easier for them. Or that they clearly have always been this way, that this has always been their nature. This is not my nature. I'm an enneagram 3, I am a recovering perfectionist, I am the chronic dotter of i's and crosser of t's, you know? At my best, I think I can move forward and be vulnerable, but at my worst I'm too afraid to be judged and criticized and torn down. So I spent a long part of my career not sharing anything personal, and being really afraid of what other people thought, and really nervous to be transparent and to share the journey.

For me, my life was really rocked when I turned right around 22, it was about two months after turning 22, when I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. That moment was just an earth-shattering experience in so many different aspects, but one of them pertinent to this conversation being that I was terrified of people finding out. I had this big diagnosis and part of what came with it was an understanding that I would be infertile without medical intervention, and also understanding that this tumor was sitting right behind where my optic nerves crossed in a part of the brain called the optic chiasm, just knowing that any day I could wake up with vision loss or blindness as an indicator as my tumor had grown and pressed on those nerves without warning, without notice. That's sort of like, unfortunately, a thing that happens with these pituitary tumors when they reach a certain size, and mine was macro from diagnosis.

I was terrified of anyone finding out that a wedding photographer could go blind at any moment. You know, it's not a great branding strategy. So I hid this diagnosis from the world for a number of years. I made adjustments in my business to account for it. I brought on an assistant and a second shooter at every wedding. I invested heavily in networking with other photographers so should anything ever happen to me I had a fallback plan. The irony is now in these Covid times photographers, cinematographers, wedding and event professionals at large all have these massive fallback plans and back then it's not something we really talked about, but now we understand that any of us could get sick, none of us are immune to Covid-19. Back then I did what I could on the business side, but I was so afraid to share.

I kept my diagnosis a secret for years, almost five years, until I found out from my new neurosurgery team after we moved to the West Coast that surgery, brain surgery, was really my best option to tackle this tumor once and for all, and have a really great quality of life in the long run. I found out just with weeks to spare that I would be going in for brain surgery. This was after launching Rising Tide, this was after moving to the West Coast to work more closely with Honeybook, who acquired Rising Tide shortly after our launch. So it was a huge moment of transition in my life and I was just confronted by this career and personal stop sign of, "Nope, you've got to put everything on hold and go in for major surgery. We're going to go into your brain and we don't know what the other side of this looks like." And so I realized I think in that moment that I had to make a decision. I either had to keep this information private, or I had to confront the fact that it was time to be transparent and to be open with my community and with my audience and how I present myself on social media.

I wish I could say to you that it was this brave decision. It wasn't. It was more of a moral and ethical decision. I felt very strongly that if something were to happen to me, or if the surgery was not to go as planned and I wasn't me on the other side of it, that I didn't want the last thing that I said to my community to be a lie. And I didn't want the last way that I showed up in the world to not be authentic, and to not be genuine when so many other aspects of my life and my brand were. This one diagnosis just terrified me from being real about it.

And so I did it, I shared with two weeks to go before my brain surgery. I opened up about my diagnosis and about my pending surgery. I'll tell you something - something changed in me. The minute I stopped trying to look perfect on the internet, and the minute I started embracing that I could show up as me, I could be a little more nerdy, and I could be a little bit more soft around the edges, and I could share that I had a benign brain tumor and that I was struggling with a chronic illness, the minute I took that first step, all of those fears around sharing who I really was and what I was really walking through just came crumbling down. From that surgery moment onward, I have been transparent. I've shared a little bit about that part of my journey. I've shared about fertility treatment that followed that that gave us our miracle toddler. And then I continued to share as we've tried unsuccessfully to have another child. Month over month, kind of facing this crushing disappointment. I've shared in the midst of it. Thankfully, I've been at an emotional place where I can do that, although I know and I always say this, it's about sharing when you can, not because you feel forced to share your story. You owe no one that. You owe no one any part of your vulnerability. But when you want to, or you know it can make an impact, or you see the opportunity to empower someone else by sharing what you're walking through and you're able to, I encourage it.

Not to take too much more time on this, but it's been really transformational with me. Like I said, I'm sharing in the midst of it, even as we speak going through fertility treatment and very likely going to have to take a couple months off after this because we aren't having success and things aren't really going well. I think in any other lifetime, the Natalie Franke pre-brain surgery would never have told the world. They would have thought, you know, like so many couples in the world out there, so many of my friends, that it would have been easy, or that it would have seemed easy. None of it's ever easy, is it? None of it. But it would have seemed easy from the outside. Instead I think I've just learned that by sharing I'm made more aware of just how much harder every aspect of our journey - our business, our personal life, our family, whatever it is - really is behind the curated squares of social media, and how much deeper our pain often goes in life. It's just a reminder to be kind to everyone and just to live freely, and for me that freedom comes from not having to hide what I'm walking through or who I am.

I was going to ask what you feel like you've gained from opening up, but I think you just sort of answered it all. Even if it isn't coming from a place of bravery, it's still coming from a place of authenticity, which I think is super important.

I love that. Look, the biggest take away I've had from being transparent and being open is the depth of the connection that I've been able to foster with the people that I connect with. I think all of us are craving depth in a shallow world. We are desiring genuine connection with other human beings because that is how we are wired. Our brains are wired for that type of depth, and that type of integral connectivity. We aren't create to wade water in the shallow end and just talk about the weather. That's literally not how we are created.

I'm writing a book right now on ultimately community, community over competition, the idea of belonging from a scientific perspective, and understanding how our brains are really built for belonging yet are also very much created to compete, and that dichotomy and the issues that arise from that. But all I'll say is when you're able to share what you're walking through, or you're able to be transparent, even in just little ways that illuminate parts of your story that maybe other people wouldn't have known, it gives people this opportunity to connect with you.

If you run a small business, there's a very good chance that your clients, your customers, other creative professionals even, they don't do what you do. They're never going to connect to you on the level of being a cinematographer or a photographer or a designer or an event planner because they aren't those things. They're humans. So when you share elements of your story - when you share that you love your rescue dog, or that you enjoy cooking pasta from scratch with your grandmother's recipes, or that you're passionate about social justice - when you share about the things that really matter in your life, that tell more about your story and your heart and your mission and what you stand for, you create this bridge of connection. This real depth, and this opportunity for people to cross that bridge and to say, "Me too!" Or, "This is a little bit about my story that connects to you. I actually can't have dogs because I'm allergic, but I love my rescue cat from the SPCA, so we have that in common." Or, "You know, I'm not Italian and I can't cook pasta to save my life. I actually set off the fire alarm every time I cook, so can you teach me?" It creates this opportunity for us to connect on something deeper. I think in this current climate of this modern world where it's just scrolling and scrolling with no end in sight that when something stops you in your tracks because it's human, because it's real, because it's honest, it does something for our souls that we're often lacking. For me, it's just really brought about an opportunity to connect with people in a deeper way.

That includes in the professional scale. I have landed big business opportunities and connections because I have shown up vulnerably, where many would say, "It's unprofessional for someone to talk about their chronic illness, or depression, or anxiety, or postpartum, or a brain tumor on social media." And I say to that, "Well, my business has thrived by showing up as me, and people want to work with me for me, and they give me grace in the seasons that are difficult. They know precisely that I'm always going to be honest and transparent, and they appreciate that." I've seen the opposite result to that critical feedback that I often hear. So if it affirms anyone out there that's thinking, "Hey, I think it's time that I share about this thing, or this aspect of my life that I'm passionate about," I just want to encourage you to do that.

And then one last thing, I know that I'm rambling! You know, a lot of times we get very afraid, as I alluded to in the beginning, of people judging or not liking us as who we are, and I think it's important to remember that in all aspects of marketing, we are not meant to attract everyone. We are meant to attract and repel. And so, it is okay to repel. It is okay for someone to come onto my page and say, "Okay, who is this girl and why does she talk like a nerd, and act like a messy artist? Why is she pouring her heart out? This is not for me. I don't like Natalie Franke." That is okay. I welcome that. I always say this. I welcome that. I never used to. I used to be so afraid of repelling anyone and now I've learned that the more I can put out there, and the more consistent I can be with my messaging and my authentic communication, the more I can do that, the more I can attract and repel. So I can attract the right people to my brand, my business, my community, what I'm doing, and I can repel the folks that don't align, or that weren't meant for the community. For example, I use this a lot, if you believe in the traditional view of competition and you think it's okay to tear people down or step on others to succeed or do whatever it takes to win, win at all costs, dog eat dog, you're going to look at what I'm saying, and you're going to roll your eyes and walk away. And you know what? Good. Because we don't need that type of mentality in our community. We are fostering a very different type of values, of mentality, of how we operate. And that's okay! There are plenty of traditional business communities that will teach you the quick hacks to success even if it means tearing other people down, and that's just not us. That's not what we're about.

So whether it's a business, a brand, a community, or even in your personal life, it's okay to repel some people away. It's okay to really step into being you. You're not meant to fit in. I hate the idea of fitting in. You're meant to find spaces where you belong, or create those spaces for others, and fight for those spaces. I don't know, I'll leave it there.

I've just been aggressively nodding because every single point you went on to make, I was exactly with you. I talk about a lot of the same stuff, and when people come to me to ask about how my Instagram in particular has grown so quickly, it's because I do put personal things out there, and I think the exact same way. Whether it's an ideal client or even the people that we want to work beside, I'm okay with the right people agreeing and the wrong people maybe seeing that and saying, "Yeah, no thank you."

That is the exact thing I tell people all the time. You're repelling as equally as you are bringing people close. And why not live authentically in that way and draw the right people in? I can't believe how many DMs I get, people swiping up on stupid stories that I'm posting about random things, and that is our random point of connection. Just like you said, maybe my clients don't run a creative wedding business, but if I'm out and I see something that's funny and I put a picture of it on my story, they swipe up and react to it and automatically we've made this connection.

Personally I am very open on my page about matters of mental health, my own chronic illness, the LGBTQ+ community, social justice, all of that kind of stuff. I'm really okay with people who may disagree with any of that to just stay away because those aren't my people, and that's okay. I just love everything you just said, that's perfect.

I would love for you to talk a little bit about your integration with Honeybook. How did that come about?

I should say, up until that point Rising Tide was a passion project as I mentioned, we never thought it would grow as big as it did. Never, never in a million years. All of us were still running our own businesses on the side when it grew. A couple months after launching, this email inbounds into our inbox where someone at this company called Honeybook, which at the time we had never heard of, and it was a start-up in San Francisco. They reached out and said, "Hey, we can not stop hearing about you all from our members. They keep telling us about Tuesdays Together, they are in love with your community, and we really would love to support you in any way that we can. Let us know if you guys are ever interested in coming out to San Francisco or if you're launching a meetup out here, we'd love to be involved."

Sure enough, not long after that, we ended up booking a trip out to San Francisco to host our first Tuesdays Together meeting out in the city. We got a chance to visit Honeybook headquarters and to connect with their team, and we just honestly fell completely in love with the brand and the entire company. We ended up partnering, and then ultimately joining, the Honeybook family as a part of their company, and we've been powered by Honeybook and really supported in every aspect of our community ever since. It's been really cool. It has been such an incredible experience. Like I said, I never thought I'd build community, I never thought I'd be a woman in tech, I never thought I'd be able to work on a tech product that tens of thousands of people use every single day to operate their business. It's been a really amazing way to support the community, to create just a longevity to this movement that I never envisioned growing to this scale or lasting as long as it has.

We're just getting started. It's incredible how many big dreams we have, and having Honeybook as our parent company and our biggest advocate and supporter has just really enabled it to come to fruition.

I've been a Honeybook user for more than a year now and I just love them so much. To know that it was integrated too with Rising Tide was so cool. I didn't realize that until much later than I should have, but that's so cool.

By the time this episode comes out, it will have been more than a month since you announced writing a book, and I know you briefly touched on that earlier, but I would love to know a little more about what that process has been like for you.

Oh man. Writing a book... it is probably the hardest thing I've ever done. And I mean that! It's really, really hard. But the process has been pretty incredible. You know, I've known for a long time that I wanted to write a book and I just kept putting it off. It was something where I just had imposter syndrome whispering in my ear day in and day out for years and years and years until finally, oddly enough, another author on Twitter reached out to me and said, "I really think you should write a book. And I may be out of line here, but I just felt like I needed to tell you this." It led to a longer conversation and getting connected to my literary agent, and from there learning how to build a proposal and writing - I think, oh my gosh, how many pages was the proposal? Like forty pages - a forty page proposal. Really harnessing what is the felt need that I'm writing to write about. What is this pain that people are experiencing that I can share stories about, or learnings that we've had from growing Rising Tide, or seeing small businesses rise together?

So what we ultimately did in the process was nail down exactly what this book is about. It's about fighting for belonging in a world that pits us against one another, and it's about really championing this mindset of community over competition where we believe that when every single person is able to offer their ideas and their talents to the whole that our entire world is better for it, and that there really is space for everyone to pursue what they're passionate about and that we don't have to operate from the mindsets that we've talked about today. We don't have to live in a world where we're tearing one another down, or we're striving on some unfulfilling ladder to our own personal success at the expense for others. We really can grow and succeed alongside other people that are growing and succeeding, too. We can want everyone to make it, there's nothing wrong with that.

The book is sort of a labor of love in that respect. It incorporates stories from Rising Tide. There's a whole chapter on our Creative and Chronically Ill chapter. It talks about my own flawed views of community, and how that group in particular transformed my perspective a little bit. There's science of competition. We talk about literally the science of competition. We talk about athletes in the arena, what is healthy competition and what is not. We talk about how to implement really living a life that enables us to support others while still being true to our desires and our success as well. I'm really excited about it. It'll be coming out next year, late summer early fall. We're thinking end of August time frame. I'm excited to be able to share this journey with the community.

I was joking with my literary agent this week and I said, "I think half of this community needs to write a book!" Our community is filled with some of the most extraordinary human beings on the planet, and so my hope is that I can also learn along the way and then share what I'm learning with the community so that they can also share their stories, too.

That's awesome. Is there a place people can go to maybe sign up for more updates about that?

Yeah! Actually, there is. It's sort of our book insiders group. You could even just subscribe to the newsletter. I'll be sharing different updates about the book and the book process along the way, but that book insiders group will be the one that gets the deep download and the updates as stuff unfolds.

Awesome. I think it's very easy to see you being comparable to people like Rachel Hollis and Jen Sincero, so I'm so pumped about this book, and I think you're going to touch a lot of people. As you already have, but you will continue to for sure.

Thank you so much.

At the end of every episode, I love to ask people why they are so passionate about some of the things that we've talked about in each episode. Is there a Why for you?

I truly believe that every single human being has so much to offer this world. I believe that the narratives we are often told about ourselves and about others ultimately lead to us doubting our worth and doubting our value, and questioning what we have to bring to the table. I want people to feel empowered, and I want them to know they have such a purpose to their life and they have so much to give - and so much to receive, as well. The idea of community over competition is, yes, about building a better world and building a world where we really can champion one another, it's also though about each individual person learning that they can be their best. That they don't have to be the best, they just have to live into their potential and love themselves for exactly who they are.

I don't know. That lights me up. That fires me up. And whenever I see an opportunity for us to cheer for someone, to champion someone, to encourage someone, to speak life into someone, that is selfishly where I am happiest, when I am cheering people on.


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