Caleb and I lead a local branch of The Rising Tide Society (RTS) here in Madison, Wisconsin. Last month we went to the annual RTS Leader’s Retreat, a gathering where all the local leaders from across the nation come together to brainstorm, recharge, and plan for leading each of our respective groups for the upcoming year. We had an INCREDIBLE time at the retreat and left feeling so inspired and excited about the opportunity we have to help lead creatives right here in our hometown of Madison.
At last month’s meeting, after returning from the retreat, we shared with those in attendance a more in-depth recap of our experience, the things we learned, and the dreams we have for our group here locally. Since everyone who is a part of our Madison, WI Rising Tide Society Group can’t always make it to every meeting, I wanted to do a blog post to re-share the information from February’s meeting so everyone can get it! If you’re interested in The Rising Tide Society, or have heard about it but aren’t sure exactly what it is, today’s post is going to be perfect for you : )
Here’s what we discussed:
1. A refresher on the roots and facts — a (really) brief overview
The Rising Tide Society was founded by two creatives on the East Coast who felt like their local creative industry was missing a sense of community. They didn’t know how to connect with other creatives without having to go to networking events where they felt they were having to “sales-pitch” their businesses to everyone they met. In general, they found themselves in a creative atmosphere where it seemed as though no one could trust each other because of a constant feeling that everyone was trying to either A. Sell something or B. Use each other to get ahead in their own businesses. The founders of RTS wanted to instead create a space where creatives could simply come and BE. A place where they could share their (similar) struggles being creative entrepreneurs, and, just in general, get to know the PEOPLE behind the creative businesses around them — people who completely understood one another because their lifestyles were so similar.
What started out as coffee dates in their local area exploded with popularity and interest, and the response caused the two founders to realize that creatives in other industries around the country must be experiencing the same things. They decided to create a hashtag on Instagram (#communityovercompetition) to bring together like-minded creative small business owners. When the hashtag also exploded, they then decided to start a Movement in the creative industry and they called it The Rising Tide Society. They created a website and asked creatives from all over the nation to apply to lead groups in their local cities.
2. Our local history
Caleb and I had been following this movement and decided to apply to lead in Madison when the opportunity arose. When we first started our business just over four years ago, the biggest piece of advice that our mentors gave us was to view the other photographers in our local industry as friends, not competitors. They told us to just trust them on this advice and that it would pay off. Long story short, living out this mentality has been nothing but rich, life-giving, and absolutely encouraging for not just our business but also our personal lives. This SAME mentality is the mentality of The Rising Tide Society, and so leading only made sense to Caleb and I. We wanted other creatives to experience the same things in their businesses that we had experienced in ours.
3. The current situation
Our local group has grown to over 400 members on Facebook, with a regular in-person gathering of anywhere from 20-50 people. We have LOVED leading this group. We quickly found that we weren’t alone in believing that this radical idea of #communityovercompetition could work for running a successful creative small business — it was believed in and felt by a lot of creatives here in Madison, too! How amazing. Our hope is that this group will only continue to be a safe place for creative entrepreneurs to come as they are — struggles, triumphs, questions, messiness — to come with it all. We’re all in this together and we ALL struggle (no matter how picture-perfect it may look on the outside!).
Caleb and I want to keep dreaming for this group and pouring into the creatives who are a part of it. However, it has been challenging to manage both leading the group and running our own business at the same time! At the retreat, we realized that we were some of the only leaders with large groups who didn’t yet have Chair Members to help them lead and take on some of the work that comes along with being a leader. So at the last meeting and then in the Facebook Group last week, we announced the RTS Chair positions and applications, and now we cannot wait to announce the new leadership team to you all SO soon! Caleb and I are confident (and so darn excited!) that having this help will allow us to better serve our local RTS members and dream up new ideas for the group!
4. In case you’re new
- The Rising Tide Society is a worldwide movement educating and empowering creatives to thrive in the spirit of community over competition.
- On the second Tuesday of every month, creatives who believe in the ideals of The Rising Tide Society meet together in community. Each state has a handful of meet ups, so creatives can find the gathering closest to them. All meet ups are free and there is generally a time to meet/socialize with those in attendance, as well as a speaker and/or discussion around the educational topic of the month. These meet ups are called “Tuesdays Together.”
- If you are interested in joining our local group here in Madison, you can find more information and request to join via our Facebook group here.
- You can also find more information on The Rising Tide Society Website, Instagram page (@risingtidesociety), and see what the worldwide community is up to by searching some of the group’s most popular hashtags on Instagram: #communityovercompetition, #tuesdaystogether, #makewaves.
Finally, if you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments, and we will get back to you as soon as possible! : )