12 New Years Resolutions

kyle —  01/02/2014 — 13 Comments

2014

The problem with New Years resolutions is that they last AN ENTIRE YEAR. Mid-february, I’m already bored, out of willpower, and looking for another adventure.

So in 2014, instead of one long boring New Years resolution, Richenda and I picked 12 mini-resolutions, each lasting for a month. Some are healthy, some are difficult, and some just downright sexy. 12 resolutions, 12 chances for epic failure. Stay tuned for updates!

January: Running

January is summertime in the southern hemisphere, so we’re starting out with a bit of fitness. We’ll run every other day, and yoga (Richenda) or weights (Kyle) on the alternative days. We’ll be holiday in Bali and California  (!!!), so this will likely be the most stressful part of January. Rough life, huh?

February: Budget

January holidays are for spending, so February will be for saving. We’re going to save 50% of our take home pay for an entire month… which pretty much means no-fun February. Apparently, if you live on 50% of your take home income, you can retire in 16 years.

March: Live like Tourists

On my walk home everyday from work, I pass two hostels bursting with Euro backpackers. I’m never sure if I should be jealous of the care-free life, or if I should feel sorry for them all cramped into a 8-bedroom dorm.

In March, we’re planning to living like the tourists in our own city. We’ll visit museums, explore the city at night, and take the V-line train out of town (with a backpack of course).

April: Bicycles

No cars. No taxis. Not even busses, trains or trams. For the month of April, we’ll be on bicycles only. Hope it doesn’t rain much!

May: “Exercise”

May is the Great Ocean Road half marathon. In 2012, Richenda ran her first half marathon, and this year we’ll finish another one together!

May will also be a month of (ahem) training… together… every day. You figure it out. Looking forward to this one, don’t think it will be much of a challenge.

June: #photoaday

I have a confession to make: I take a bunch of pictures but never share them. This June you can look forward to a photo uploaded daily for your pleasure. And there will be plenty to see — we’re in Greece for holiday, Spain for Damiana and Sinan’s wedding, and California for Mandy and Miles!

Also, in June I will finally admit to my wife that frequent flyer miles are awesome, and it was worth getting a Virgin Airlines credit card.

July: Digital Detox

No social media, no TV, no internets after 6pm, and iPhone must be docked immediately when arriving home. Phone calls are still allowed, as well as emergency laptop use for work, but this will be a serious digital detox for us. Will we survive? You’ll have to wait and see.

August: Simplify

August is month of looking beyond ourselves. Outside of groceries, we’re not allowed to buy anything, and instead, find a few good causes to support.

In addition, we’ll be cooking every meal from scratch (no restaurants allowed!)

September: Curfew and Alarm Clocks

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”

- Benjamin Franklin, author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.

Clearly the strategy worked for Benny-boy. In November, we’ve got a strict self-imposed curfew: in bed by 11pm, and up by 7am. September will be heaven for Richenda, and hell for me. Are naps allowed?

October: Ocsober

31 days without booze.

November: Wild Card!

Honestly, we’re all out of ideas. Suggestions welcome! :)

December: Friends and Family

Decembers, and the holidays, are best spent with friends and family. Every day in December we’ll share quality time with friends or family, either in person or over Skype for the internationals!

Happy 2014! It’s gonna be a fun one.

10 years ago, non-profit videos were different. They were on brand, on message, had voice-over narration and showed children suffering terribly. It turns out, people don’t especially seek out this content to watch (although arguably still effective in fundraising with older demographics).

With the rise of online video, there’s been a trend in the industry to create art, or entertainment that people want to watch.

After looking at 2012′s top non-profit videos (mainly 1M+ views) nearly all are one of the following:

  • Funny
  • Shocking
  • Sexy
  • Amazing/Beautiful

Here’s ten that we thought made the biggest waves in 2012.

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10. Sorry, we’re going to need that back…
Organisation: GetUp
Views: 70,000 (in 2 weeks)

GetUp is an Aussie group that knows video. In 2011 they created “It’s Time” a simple concept with a brilliant ending that racked up 7 million views. They’re masters at reframing issues to make people think. In this video GetUp imagines how the government’s decision to divert aid might play out in office. It’s sad, funny, and convincing.

The team at GetUp raised $100k from this video.

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9. How to Grow a Moustache with Nick Offerman
Organisation: ManMade.com for Movember
Views: 1,040,508

To promote Movember, ManMade went manly. Actor Nick Offerman teaches the ways of the ‘stach, and eats a raw onion. It’s a style reminiscent Will Ferrel in Anchorman, Old Spice, and Dollar Shave Club.

Movember raises money to fight prostate cancer. You’ll notice this video doesn’t focus on–or even mention–the cause. It’s a trend becoming more common in cause related marketing. If you want to read more there’s a link, but Nick doesn’t smash you for your money.

*          *          *

8. Boyfriend Went Vegan (Semi-NSFW)
Organisation: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Views: 3,009,700

Last night, this got boo’d. Fair enough. I

In true PETA fashion the ad is controversial. The intended message here is “Men: if you go vegan, you’ll be better in bed”, opposite to those that equate veganism with being unmanly.

Some feel that the ad implies violence against women. Two thirds of YouTube ratings are thumbs down, and facebook social plugin shows around 75% of comments are negative sentiment.

Despite the complaints, their core demographic must be responding because year after year they continue to create provocative media like this. And they get attention.

PETA spokesperson: “The piece is tongue-in-cheek. People who watch the ad all the way through see the woman has a mischievous smile. She’s happy to go back with him. It’s playful.”

*          *          *

7. Africa for Norway
Organisation: The Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund
Views: 2,052,615

This won last night’s “People’s Choice – Comedy” award.

Inspired by the 1980′s “We are the World” and “Do they know it’s Christmas?” Africa for Norway shows a western audience exactly how silly some good intentioned aid ideas are.
Beginning with a hilarious intro from celebrity rapper Breezy (remember 50 cent’s “global movement’?) the video carries the fake appeal through the very end, and onto the website. The campaign goals are listed there, but I can’t help but wish there was an opportunity for supporters to take meaningful action beyond the joke…

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6. Dumb Ways to Die
Organisation: Metro Trains
Views: 38,731,272

Does Metro Trains qualify as a non-profit? This one is too good to keep off the list on a technicality!

Last night’s Melbourne audience was especially familiar with this cause marketing campaign. It’s a morbidly cute, catchy tune that rose to 6th most downloaded song on iTunes (globally). Creatives behind the campaign said kids are more concerned about not being seen as dumb by peers than dying, thus the chorus.

It’s a full 2:21 into the video before safety around trains is even mentioned.

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5. Girls Going Wild in Red Light District (Semi-NSFW)
Organisation: Listed at the end of video, I won’t ruin the surprise.
Views: 3,217,953

Here’s another video that waits to reveal it’s deeper message. After dancing along with the crowd, you’ll feel like you got punched in the face at the end.

The experiential marketing blends a real life campaign with online reach, just like the next one…

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4. Smoking Kid
Organisation: Thai Health Promotion Foundation
Views: 1,002,312

“Smoking Kid” and “Girls Going Wild in Red Light District” both have the benefit of organic search—people stumbling on it looking for something else. This one gets a traffic boost from the 2010 news clip of a child who smokes a pack a day (17M views).

When smokers are lecturing others about the dangers of smoking, you’re doing it right.

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3. Kony 2012
Organisation: Invisible Children
Views: 110,000,000

Clearly, a few people have already expressed their thoughts about this video. Some remember Kony as the biggest trainwreck of 2012; for others it’s the pinnacle of digital video storytelling.

While it may have simplified the plot, advocated military intervention, and came from a western lens, it certainly got people to listen and take action. My feeling is that the charity world only took the warnings, and none of the lessons.

Tell a story.
Make it personal.
Make it beautiful.
Know your audience.
Aim bigger.
Target influencers.
Invest in video.

Here’s something you might not know: Invisible made $12.6 million (net) from the campaign. That’s more than any single year income for the organisation.

Invisible did make Kony famous. Perhaps the guys will tackle climate change next?

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2. First World Problems Anthem
Organisation: Water is Life
Views: 2,073,640

“When I go to the bathroom and forget my phone.”
“When I tell them no pickles, and

Priceless.

This video piggybacked off the popular twitter hashtag–but flipped the context. It’s funny, relatable, and hits hard. The video finishes with short simple ask. Here’s the top-ranked comments:

#firstworldproblems

Water is Life created a few bonus videos that respond directly to specific people tweeting #firstworldproblems. View here, here, and here.

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1. Rachel Beckwith’s Mom visits Ethiopia
Organisation: charity: water
Views: 600,000

This might restore your faith in humanity.

It’s the most emotional video of the bunch, and on Thursday at #net2melb, many of us were in tears. Charity: water have put out over 200 videos… this is the best I’ve seen yet. It’s different from the other concept pieces created by agencies; it’s slower, beautiful, and moving. In light of Rachel’s death, and the subsequent outpouring of support, I feel equal parts devastating sadness and joy.

Charity: water have done an amazing job communicating their mission. They explained it clear enough for a child to understand, and want to help. They built an online fund-raising platform that works easy enough for Rachel to start her campaign. And in honour of Rachel, they shared her story, made the media, and raised $1.2M. Now they’re showing the impact and saying thank you to donors.

It’s an amazing story. Kudos to Rachel’s mom for sharing, and to @jazzyjamieleigh for her beautiful work filming and editing on deadline.

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Honorable Mentions:

Final Thoughts

Are you surprised the big orgs aren’t in there? Don’t be. Creating a video with viral appeal is nearly the opposite of the way many established organisation operate: it takes risk, buy-in, and requires more attention to the audience than internal politics. Young, scrappy orgs with a clear identity lead the charge in digital video, while established organisations are sticking to what has safely worked in the past, like grants and direct marketing.

Will your organsation make a viral video? Statistically speaking, it’s unlikely. But if you’re authentic, concise, and focus on your audience, you’ve got a better shot than the others.

What do you think? What charity videos do you remember from 2012?

Comment below or share this post for a chance to win Seth Godin’s newest book “The Icarus Deception”, a book about risk, beauty and passion. One winner randomly chosen, shipped anywhere in the world. 

Knock Knock

kyle —  11/02/2012 — 4 Comments

seth-godin

Seth Godin is a legend. He’s an entrepreneur, consultant, and author. He’s written 14 books on marketing and all of them are best sellers. He starts companies, fixes broken ones and writes the most popular marketing blog in the world.

So the the man is brilliant. He knows nearly everything there is to know about web marketing.

Except, in February 2010, how to best embed a video.

The day started like most others for me: check email, RSS feeds, and read Seth’s blog. Godin posts little nuggets of wisdom nearly every day. But this one was different. This post had video. Not embedded video (where you click play and watch in the current page) but a link away from his blog to go watch the video on vimeo. I followed the link, but most people don’t.

Seth has button on his blog: “email me”. So I emailed him, suggesting a better way. He quickly responded, and we exchanged a few ideas. Then he embedded the video the way I suggested and emailed back “Better?”

*          *         *

So what?

Imagine you’re Seth. You have important meetings, phone calls, books to write, and 500,000 people reading your blog. Do you publicly post your email address? Do you stay open to advice?

Most of us don’t.

Most artists, organisations, board members, CEOs… we’re too busy to be bothered by the little requests, suggestions and feedback. We don’t believe the benefit is greater than the pain of an overflowing mailbox. I suppose the thesis behind much of social media and this post, is that it’s worth it. That for every 10 dead end requests, there might be a useful suggestion.

Sure there’s going to be a lot of distractions along the way. It’s a skill to know which emails to delete, which ones to quickly reply, and which ones to pause and think about. But is it worth it? Certainly.

If you have a Web site, it’s probably because you want to interact with your customers. So give me a phone number and an email address. A real one, one that goes to a person, and quickly! Put it on every page.

Seth Godin ”Knock Knock” download the free ebook

People are awesome

kyle —  08/10/2012 — Leave a comment

We all have networks. Many of us all have passion projects. What happens when people combine their networks to support their passion projects? Here’s four I’m a proud part of:

#FirstHomeProject – By Jarrod and Teresa

Jarrod is the type of counter-cultural Christian hippie you can’t help but respect. Example: He defends non-violence, even when the rest of the world is celebrating the death of Osama. He and his family have lived in intentional community for years, and he’s a respected advocate for refugees and disenfranchised people.

Recently Jarrod, Teresa, and their son Tyson, decided to buy a house that they’ll share with two refugee families. But the banks won’t loan. They told a few friends, who told a few friends, who then volunteered loans or donations. So they put the word out. They needed to secure 600k of loans in 14 days. They’ve raised 400k already–48 hours and 200k to go!

I’m ridiculously inspired by their family’s journey. Not everyone has the means or calling, but together, we can make it happen. You can support it here.

Help fund the EP – Naomi

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Naomi play an open mic. It was a trendy Seattle venue with a crowded bar and good crowd. The performers were more-or-less background noise–until Nae started singing. Everyone stopped talking. The room became silent except for her words and strumming. This woman can perform. She carries presence, truth and beauty.

Naomi’s dream is to release an EP.

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I want to use music to change people’s perception of Africa, and in the process bring my community, my ancestors and my continent to a world they might have never had a chance to experience.

It’s not easy for me to ask for help, but everything is feeling right and I’m so determined to follow my heart, at the expense of my pride.  My parents have given me a great legacy, “leave a place better than you found it” and it is what I hope to accomplish with music.

Nae is a friend who has become family. Her daughter is my favourite, and I love being “Uncle Kyle”. The above photo is from wedding day, where Naomi blessed Shen and I with a song. Photo by Julie Harmsen.

I can’t wait for Naomi’s EP. Here’s a letter from her, and an invitation to support music.

A film called “T-Rex” – California is a Place

My obsession with CIAP started when a friend shared this video on facebook. The guys travel California finding and filming incredible stories. How incredible? An elderly synchronised swimmer who smokes pot. A self-appointed pistol packing border patrol. Silicon valley nerds who started a fight club. A designer who makes those kind of dolls [NSFW, clearly]. All are told in a beautiful, reflective style.

So what happens when these guys follow the story of the world’s youngest female boxer to ever fight in the Olympics? I don’t know yet SHE WON GOLD! but I’m pretty excited to watch. CIAP raised 62k to fund the film. For the price of a date night at the movies, I get a DVD delivered, with my name in the credits, and the satisfaction of supporting their art. Big win, all around.

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The Icarus DeceptionSeth Godin

How do you convince a publisher that there’s real demand for your book? Seth offered a presale, and raised $275,000 for his next book before it’s even finished. It’s a win, win: I get the book at a massive discount before it hits the stores, and Seth is guaranteed buzz and demand for the book when it hits the shelves.

The take aways

    • Online facilitated fundraising, but I got involved in most of these from real world things (dinners, phone calls, concert, a book). The interwebs is amazing, but most influence happens offline.

 

    • Are these donations, investments, or purchases? To me, all have an element of each.

 

    • Each person built their audience offering something of value for free. Seth gives advice every day. CIAP posts all their videos on vimeo. Naomi gives away music. Jarrod blogs his ideas, tweets and speaks. It’s a long-term strategy where ROI means “return on influence” instead of “return on investment”.

 

    • If you’re chasing your calling, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s a privilege to contribute to good causes and people’s dreams.

 

We’re living in an interconnected world of talent, resources and awesomeness waiting for people to step up and make things happen. Whats your passion project? What would it actually cost? What’s holding you and me back?

Creative Fridays

kyle —  07/27/2012 — 1 Comment

"do a lot of work" ira glass

Master storyteller Ira Glass gives this advice to creatives:

“Do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that your will be as good as your ambition”

Today is my first week of a 4-day work week! I’m talkingt Fridays off to (hopefully) do a lot of creative work. I’ve never worked on a documentary, I’ve always wanted to, so what better time than now?

Big thanks to work for the flexibility, and to my wife, friends, family (and commenters) for the encouragement to be risky, chase dreams, and tell stories. And thanks Mr. Ira Glass, for this:

 

If you’re working or volunteering in digital at a non-profit, you probably have limited time and even less budget. Before you invest a week on your pintrest presence, it’s important to get the essentials right.

Whether you’re at an established organisation or a brand new social good startup, here’s 10 suggestions for your site.

 

1. A compelling “About Us” page

This page will get lots of traffic because it’s the number one place visitors will go to find out more about you. So it’s good to spend some time brainstorming your approach — how can you best communicate your org’s work? What sets you apart from other non-profits? What have you accomplished? Your fundraising costs? The content on this page is likely to be the most copied and pasted information about your organisation by the press, supporters, and critics.

If you’re stuck, check out these two pages from charity : water.

The “About Us” page is also a great spot for a short video.

 

2. Install analytics

Google analytics is a great (free!) tool that can give you heaps of data. With a few updates to your code, you can see where traffic to your website is coming from, what content is most compelling to your users by interaction, and how users are behaving. Set up eCommerce functionality to track online donations in real-time.

 

3. Tell me a story

Storytelling is the most powerful way you can reach your audience. People would rather read a story than your latest press release, so make sure your homepage features several good story-telling aspects — titles, photos, and descriptions. The “stories” don’t need to be long, but attractive either with great photos or excellent titles.

 

4. Subscribe/follow options

Ok, so you’ve piqued my interest, but I’m still not ready to give…

Opt ins are great ways for a user to follow your organisation around the interwebs. Email opt-in, Facebook, Twitter, and blog RSS feeds are standard.

BONUS: A separate RSS feed for your job offerings will allow interested parties to keep track of your vacancies.

 

5. Donate button with regular giving option

The donate button should be featured on every page in the navigation and go directly to a page where the user can support your org. Have a clear ask that  Provide an option for monthly giving: It’s easier and more convenient for their budget, and increases long-term revenue for your org.

“Make this a monthly donation” image: https://www.hollows.org.au/donate

 

6. Show your Impact

Change.org displays their victories.

When it comes to important web content, impact is near the top. It’s no longer safe to assume that your donors will be satisfied by giving you their hard-earned money and receive little follow-up. Charitable donors today are more connected than ever before, and expect reporting and proof of impact.  Be specific when you show outcomes: examples like “we helped pass a congressional bill” is better than “we lobbied during lobby week”. “We accomplished this” is better than “we raised money for that”. Share facts, figures, numbers, impact stories as often as possible.

 

7. Contact information

Simple really… Your phone number, address, and email to an email address that is monitored and replied to. Your donors and potential donors need to know you’re accessible. Providing your details shows this as well as giving visitors an open door to engage further.

 

8. Pictures!

On social, we know pictures are the number one way people are engaging with content. Apparently people like looking at photos. So have captions, tell a story, make it beautiful.

 

9. Search functionality

Even simple and lean websites expand from archives of campaigns and content. Whether it’s the 2006 annual report or that position paper on the Carbon Tax, built-in search functionality helps users quickly find what they’re looking for.

Added bonus: You’ll learn what’s most searched for and can make optimisation decisions based on real donor data.

 

10. Inspire

Everyone wants to make the world a better place… but we’re busy. And we’re not exactly sure how to help. Show me an example of what my donation, signature or support can lead to, and ‘ll consider signing on. But I might need a little inspiration first.

So always, always inspire. Inspire visitors with stories of your work. Highlight donors who are fighting for your cause. People are infinity times more likely to share your inspiring content then your “Donate NOWWW!” page. Infinity.

 

You might also like: Five reasons to think about the state of your website before diving into social media” by my @Prarthb123, Digital Strategist at UNHCR

Last month a group of us wrote about our dreams.  Then I stumbled on this incredible speech from Desmond Tutu and it brought tears to my eyes; I had to share.

*        *        *

And so God said, ‘I have a dream, I have a dream, that my, my children will come to know that they are family. I have a dream. I have a dream that they will recognize there are no outsiders in this family. That all, they all belong.’

Fantastic. Too many of us think it is, oh well, sentimental stuff. That isn’t it. Some of the most radical political stuff that we are family. All, all, held in an embrace of love that will not let us go. God gives up on no one. All. All rich, poor; tall, short; substantial, not so substantial; beautiful, not so beautiful; clever, stupid. All, all, all, men, women, children; old, young; white, black, red, yellow. All, all, all, all, all, gay, lesbian, so-called straight. All, all, all, all, all.

[applause]

All belong. All. Sharon, Arafat, belong in this family. Bush, Bin Laden, family. Family. Family. It’s explosive stuff really, it’s explosive stuff. Imagine if they really believed it. If, if as you took off with your bombers you realize, hey, I will drop these on my family, my sisters, my brothers. If we accepted this, how in the name of everything that is good, can we justify spending as much as we spend, on what we call budgets, defense budgets. How, how could we possibly?

[applause]

How could we possibly justify it when we know a very small fraction of those budgets would ensure that our sisters and brothers, and children over there…our family would have clean water, enough to eat, decent education, educate, health care. We know this if we are family. No outsiders. All are insiders.

God says, ‘Please, please help me realize this dream.’ And some of God’s best collaborators are the young, because you dream. You dream God’s dream. You dream that it is possible for this world to become a better world … Many of you go out to other parts of the world. Fantastic! Because when you look around, there must be times when God said, ‘Gee, whatever got into me to create that lot?’ When God sees the kind of things we do to one another. God sees the Holocaust. God sees genocide in Rwanda. God sees apartheid. God sees racism. God sees. There’s a whole long list. And God weeps. God weeps to see our inhumanity to one another. God weeps and then, God sees you…as you go out to these poverty stricken places, where you don’t get any publicity. You go and you help and you build schools, and you build clinics, and you help, and you help. And the smile breaks through God’s tears, and God, God begins to smile and says, ‘Yeah, they have vindicated me. They vindicated me. Yea, yea.’ And then, God’s smile is like sunshine breaking through the rain. God smiles and says, ‘Yea, yea, they are helping me to realize my dream. For I have made for this world goodness, love, laughter, joy, compassion, peace, caring, gentleness. Help me. Help me. Help me realize my dream. Help me, help me make this a home that is hospitable to goodness, to laughter, to joy, to peace, to caring. Help me, help me.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

You can read the full text here.

Strength for your Dreams

kyle —  05/08/2012 — 12 Comments

Today, an eclectic mix of bloggers are reflecting on or publicly admitting our dreams. It’s the web at it’s best: authentic, positive and communal encouragement. Kudos to @LindseyTalerico and @richendag for putting out the challenge.

When I was in kindergarten, I wanted to be an artist. I drew pictures and everyone told me how good they were, so obviously, I wanted to be an artist. A painter, perhaps.

I imagine most kids have a go-to answer of what they want to be when they grow up, and usually pretty exciting things too: police officers, astronauts, famous singers and rock stars. College students have bold dreams too. They want to flip the system, invent something, do good and never sell out. No one dreams of becoming a cynical middle manager that commutes too far and just works for the check.

It was a sad day in third grade when I realized I wasn’t the best sketch artist in my class. Paul was. This kid was incredible. He could draw cartoons or portraits or anything he wanted… really fast. Compared to him, my drawings were rubbish. So in third grade I decided I didn’t want to be an artist anymore… a short-lived dream.

Now, many years later, I can say with content that I’m quite happy in my career path. I don’t especially regret moving away from sketching. But when it comes to my dreams, I can still default to that same reaction: “I can’t dream that big, someone does that better than me” … I find it all too easy to let my dreams be intimidated by other people’s opinions and talent.

Seth Godin writes:

By their nature, dreams are evanescent. They flicker long before they shine brightly. And when they’re flickering, it’s not particularly difficult for a parent or a teacher or a gang of peers to snuff them out.

For me, it’s been the fear of failure and self-doubt that threaten my boldest dreams. I don’t often admit that, but in the spirit of chasing dreams, it’s good to say it, then move on.

*        *        *

At university I studied Mass Media Communications and International Development. They don’t really match, those two. I wavered between dreams of working at an ad agency and the peace corp. Thankfully, an internship at World Vision introduced me to non-profit marketing. The Chicago office ran like a start-up — relaxed, innovative, risky and endlessly encouraging. When my dream became a different role in field video comms at HQ in Seattle, the Chicago team, especially Michael and Lauren, pushed me hard towards risk and pursuing the next step. Every few days, Michael found a way of asking me what I was doing to follow my dreams, and then encouraged me to walk forward.  Without  that encouragement, I probably would’ve never pursued my goals.

That’s the thing about dreams: We have to move past the fear of failure, self-doubt and small thinking and declare them out loud. Private dreams are on their own. Shared dreams can be supported.

2008 video shoot in California with Michael Chitwood and olympic runners Ryan and Sara Hall

*        *        *

My wife Richenda is an inspiration when it comes to chasing dreams. She knows an ounce of action is worth a ton of words, acknowledges risk and calmly proceeds forward. I poke fun at her for publishing things online with spelling errors—she makes fun of me for posting… nothing.

Our honeymoon was an awesomely peaceful time of reflection and dreaming about possibilities and the future. The day after we returned to work, we met for dinner, and Shen confessed that she was ready for a new adventure. She was ready to move on from her current role and start something new. A small part of me feared failure for her. But thankfully, our wedding vows reminded me of the support I promised her as her a husband, a beautiful line (we copied and pasted) in our vows:

“I promise to lend you strength for your dreams”

It’s my favourite lines in our vows, and one of the great privileges for me as a husband to walk beside Richenda and her dreams.

In less than three months, she’s successfully launched her new enterprise ntegrity. It was a short time for such a big dream and I’m beyond proud of her. Not for her success, which I know will come in time, but for her boldness to move forward, and the kindness in which she works with and encourages other people. Dreams beget dreams.

honeymoon dreaming

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No so long ago, my dreams were to move to Australia, marry my best friend, and find a job that I love. The big ones. Now that I’ve done those, I’m in honeymoon-dream-phase and everything else is icing on the cake.

So for now, I’ll pursue some more creative gigs on the side. A short film, perhaps. I’ll make it in my style and ignore the YouTube views and comments.

I’ll take more pictures and post them, and never concern myself with comparing my skills (or lack of) to others.

Someday, we’ll move somewhere different, maybe Kenya or Thailand, and I’ll work with an NGO to tell stories as they happen in the field. Instead of flying from the fundraising office, I’ll live somewhere for a while, and spend some time on each story, the time and experience the each story deserves. I believe local offices will soon take the lead in resource and story collection, and I’d like to be a part of that.

Someday soon, I’ll run another marathon.

And in a few years we’ll have kids, and personal career goals will dissolve a bit.

It’s ok for dreams to change, or shrink or disappear when they’re over. The point of dreams isn’t just to accomplish them, but to push us on a journey that we wouldn’t have traversed without the dream cheering us on. Dreams makes life a better story, prevent regrets, and bring a lot more fun.

In the wise words of my friend Michael Chitwood: What’s your dream? And what are you doing to make it happen?

(You can.)