Lifestyle Design

Are You On Flipboard?

Are you on Flipboard? I'm testing it out as a curation platform. Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 3.01.45 PMHere are my magazines on social justice, "SJW: There's nothing wrong with wanting to right the world", and forward thinking in culture, media, tech & digital life. See what you think!

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I'm doing an AMA on Reddit. Come ask me a question.

EDIT: Here's where you can see my completed AMA.




I'm doing an AMA on Reddit this Thursday February 5 11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern.

AMA stands for "Ask Me Anything", an interview where everyone can participate.

Come ask me some questions?


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My topic is "What's so wrong about being Selfish?" and in true AMA fashion, that's just a starting point for what we'll be talking about. I'll be joined by Brock McLaughlin, manager of the Luke Austin Band and a Canadian Selfish brand ambassador who racks up karma points with his obsession of dressing up his pug Sidney Vicious, and Selfish's iOS project manager Marat Kinyabulatov checking in from the Ural Mountains.


Here's one of my favorite questions from the day: "Do you think the name "Selfish" might turn people off from joining the network?"

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My answer:

"Yes, it's a hurdle because our associations with the word are so one-sided. Since childhood we've been admonished "don't be selfish." When someone's breaking up with us, we dread hearing the reason "you're selfish." But we have to put the oxygen mask on ourselves before we can help anyone else, right? And there's also a growing trend that we need to take care of ourselves, and nourish what we care about.

"We have an assortment of interests and relationships and ways of being. Social networking and mobile apps and visual capture tools should be able to map to those realities, and give us the control and power we desire."

Tending Relationships In The Technological Age: Multiminding

My worlds colliding -- no, integrating! -- at Estee Solomon Gray's Mmindding Symposium on what she calls agile attention management. It's a movement toward our reality as relational beings, supported by the technologies of today. We can do this. We want to do this. We are doing this. The talks were by academics who study things like proxemics and chronemics. The audience was filled with people who are carving out lives and work in just this post-industrial age reality. We're returning to our natural rhythms.

Pictured and not pictured, friends and colleagues and acquaintances from GlobalNiche, future of work thinkers, expat entrepreneurs, TEDxBayArea, Wisdom 2.o conference, Exceptional Women in Publishing, Bryn Mawr College alumnae, Women's Startup Lab.

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Held at Rodan-Fields HQ, pictured: Leslie Forman, Pamela Day, Karen Jaw-Madson, Tanya Monsef Bunger, Maria Judice, Monika Ashman, Shirley Rivera. Also seen at this afternoon of theory and practice of "multi minding", relational thinking and acting for a qualitative life: journalist Liza Dowd, Kevin Marks, creativity expert Austin Hill Shaw, Bonita Banducci, Minda Aguhob of Peak Foqus, salonista Betsy Burroughs.


How To Become Your Own North Star On The Internet

We're all digital strategists now.


In fact, if you aren't thinking deeply about how and where and with whom you appear and interact on the web, you need to start.

Today. You can and should be using your online presence as a 21st century life & work skill to connect with relevant people, information you need and enriching opportunities. I'm going to help, so you can get started today. (And the resources I'm sharing with you are completely free, so if you want to buy something you'll have to go find a different post.) I've been saying all of this for years. Doing it for years. As a content and digital publishing specialist, I've been showing people how to use their own content to connect purpose and action in digital spaces, for 5 years, both in private and group coaching environments. Along with Tara Agacayak and Tanya Monsef Bunger, I built a curriculum at GlobalNiche, a social web training company that's now shifting into an empowered digital life movement, so you can do it on your own, or in groups, wherever you are and whoever you are and whatever you do. If you are a person active online, this training will ask you the strategic questions you need to be thinking about. If you're not yet active or don't love being online, this will help you figure out what makes sense for you. Our combined 25 years of experience, including major expatriate life and work challenges, forced us to tap our backgrounds in culture, info tech, media & psychology to create this network-activating system using the backbone of the social web. We've used this method to survive. No matter who or where you are, you can use it to thrive.

I'm now making that training perfectly free, so you can take advantage of all our guidance immediately.


Want to learn how? It's my gift to you! Start by downloading the handbook


  When you download this powerful free handbook you're going to start to transform what you do, how you do it and with whom. This repeatable, dynamic six-step method will help you become your own North Star on the Internet and bring you closer to the people and things you care about. You'll emerge with inspiration, direction and confidence:

    • a vision that lights you up and goals you can measure
  • a do-able plan and digital skills you need
  • and a practice and peer group you can rely on to keep going



Here's what people who've done it say:

    • "I felt I couldn’t catch up. The way GlobalNiche describes social media – it’s about using technology to communicate naturally – clicked for me." ~ paralegal
  • “Opened my eyes to my own assets. It has given me the confidence to bet on myself.” ~ work-at-home parent
  • “I doubled my Twitter presence just by learning about good Twitter etiquette.” ~ scriptwriter
  • “I’m blown away by the possibilities. I now have an action plan. I feel a huge shift in my life." ~ academic
  • "For people who are wondering if what they have to say is valuable.” ~ financial officer
  • "Helped me to recognize and own how I am being virtually “seen” and make positive and educated changes." ~ landscape contractor


With this non-dogmatic foundational method you'll:

    • uncover the real value you've already created: by taking inventory of what you've been doing, detecting the patterns in your activities, gaining insight into what you're drawn to
  • put your mountain of natural resources to work for you: by acknowledging all that you’ve created and use it to gain insight into who you are and who you want to be
  • show the world how you make sense: by linking what you've done in the past & are doing today with your wider goals
  • recognize that you need to become visible to meet people you want to collaborate with, work for, hire
  • combine who you are and where you want to go with the tools available to express yourself
  • make empowered, focused decisions about how to operate online
  • go beyond managing your reputation online to using social media to represent your best self
  • meet and enter conversations with your peers, mentors and customers on the web
  • get recognized by authorities & peers in your field, recruiters, the media
  • identify how to use existing materials as building blocks for future projects
  • identify new ways to use social media, which platforms work for you (and which do not), and how to use those platforms to your advantage
  • express yourself with the best social web tools available, including how to use Google+, Quora, ScoopIt and Storify to your benefit
  • gain a new understanding of the best social media and content management and strategy tools, formats, methods to try
  • establish an interactive calling card at a site like
  • learn best practices for blogging frameworks like WordPress and Thesis, blogging services like Twitter and Tumblr, social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram
  • learn best uses of video and slideshow sites like Animoto, YouTube, Vimeo, Slideshare, email service providers
  • grasp a new perspective on yourself as a content creator, realize the energy you generate around your interests IS content
  • publish, record, remix, repackage, reformat your content
  • design and implement a do-able plan with small steps to get your creations into global circulation in alignment with your larger goals


Want more?

If you want more guidance, get the free multimedia curriculum which expands on the handbook with video coaching and other materials. You'll have lifetime access to the self-paced course, 24/7, on all your devices. I'm making that entire program perfectly free for you, so join with a friend and do it together! 4,700 people already cashed in this free coupon to get connected & effective. Did you? Let me know how you're liking it!

Video Director Amit Raikar's GlobalNiche Interviews

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"It's a community about possibility. I'd like to see this become a life philosophy." ~ Tiny Habits coach and environmental engineer Shirley Rivera

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 6.33.02 PM Just saw the rough cut of director Amit Raikar's video about the GlobalNiche movement shot this spring. Such great questions, and so many distinctive perspectives to fill in the mosaic of what GlobalNiche is, what it means, where it's going, how it works in our lives. I can't wait to be able to share it more widely! Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 6.18.54 PM Here are some stills from the video (Shirley Rivera, Tanya Monsef Bunger, Loreen Huddleston, Bertita Graebner, me, and Evelyne Michaut), and a few juicy quotes. More to come...Thanks everyone, and Amit and crew for the wonderful work.Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 6.31.34 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 6.32.27 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 6.18.13 PM

"This allows me to build the platform to be very consistently me in the world." ~ transpersonal psychologist and life transitions coach Bertita Graebner

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My Complete Handbook On Slideshare

Shirley Rivera Takes On GlobalNiche Community Outreach, Compiling Case Studies


So excited, and grateful, Shirley, for you to apply your special skills to this massive task.


Shirley will be collecting good news and specifics from everyone. Hope to hear more, like the below...



GlobalNiche San Francisco Area Meetup

"I'd like to see GlobalNiche become a life philosophy," says Shirley Rivera.


The latest of many F2F gatherings of GlobalNiche people and their friends, around the world! Reading this and want to do your own? Do it!! We'll help you get the word out. Special thanks to Amit Raikar, Shirley Rivera and Tanya Monsef Bunger for event production, transportation, and inspiration and a lot of other wonderful things that made this evening happen. It was a blur of wine, and excitement and twinkling lights, and silver and raspberry and houndstooth, and happy  faces and surprise meetings and balloons and cherry pie. There was a lot of hugging and huddling, and we really didn't need the crackling fireplace because we were all on FIRE!

Looking forward to the video interviews that Amit Raikar directed and shot along with his full production crew of Jeri Neves, James Pendziszewski, Mike Montoya and Ryan Munevar. Amit asked each of the attendees to share what GlobalNiche is to them, and where it's taking them (and where they're taking GlobalNiche!).

Everyone came out their five minute video interview proclaiming, "I have no idea what I said!" so it'll be fascinating to see how it all adds up.

...what this expat, Third Culture, creative entrepreneur, content creator, location independence community and curriculum and study group setting and online presence building and global network tapping and personal culture creating, hybrid life design movement means to each of us.

Great to see Silvana Vukadin-Hoitt, in from Denver, just for this occasion! From the South Bay and beyond, we were excited to welcome Loreen Huddleston, Bertita Graebner, Bonita Banducci, Karen Jaw-Madson, Trish Sewe, Evelyne Michaut and Siddartha and new friends including Heather Franzese.

"Our local GN community is, I am quite convinced, mirrored and replicated everywhere in our global presence," says Bertita.


"I felt truly blessed to be among a group of such strong, smart, interesting women (and men)," says Loreen.


Our Grads Are Brand Advocates & Servant Leaders In Their Communities

Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 10.37.41 AM Excited about a new chapter at GlobalNiche. One year after launching our program, we're equipping our graduates to build out their own communities.

In doing so, we're hitting a major, longterm milestone: GlobalNiche is an online platform to build community. We're equipping our graduates with the infrastructure and support you need to bring our continuity practice to your wider the very people in your lives you want to build something with.

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Once you have a handle on your own goals for an online presence and you've got some pieces in place, you can help the-people-you-want-to-be-connected-to get connected.

So proud to see the study group Silvana Vukadin-Hoitt is hosting in November for the creative, entrepreneurial and global nomad women in her world. (If this sounds like a work community for someone you know, pass it on!)

As Silvana writes,

"Increasing your online visibility at your own pace, creating a digital presence that looks, sounds and feels like you and that helps you meet your aims is key to the age we’re now living in. In theory, yes, we all want to belong to a productive group of people who understand us and our aims. In practice, it’s difficult to be accountable to your plans and to keep showing up for yourself and for others. What would it be like to have a practical foundation to further your current artistic endeavors?"

When it comes to the business of building an online presence to meet one's goals, you can imagine how the target moves and goals evolve.


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That's why, just like me and my cofounder Tara, our graduates see themselves as 'leading learners'.

That's something I heard Natalie Sisson of The Suitcase Entrepreneur describe this summer about her role in the Freedom Business movement. It's being the person who's just a couple steps ahead of the people you're making a path for.

You can show others in your life what you DO know, and you can work alongside them learning what you don't yet know.

What a GlobalNiche study group leader does is foster our culture of sharing, and collaboration, and experimentation on the social web, and doing big things in small steps.


Part of the GlobalNiche experience is practicing finding what you need by tapping into a network of people ahead of you on the path. Googling stuff to find out how people got answers to the same question you have today.

Our group leaders are also servant leaders. (Thanks to grad Shirley Rivera for bringing this concept to my attention!) Helping the people in your life develop and improve, using a non dogmatic system that you just so happened to find out about before others did.

...being a cocreator of your community by bringing practical, useful, transformative tools to help the group be effective.

Besides the infrastructure we set up for our grads (including access to the multimedia curriculum and material for several-times-a-week prompts, a branded G+ community for their study group, and all the back-end invoicing and payment structure ) we have also created a support community at G+ for study group leaders.

During September's two week training for grads considering leading a study group I believe I was the one who learned the most! Leading learners learn more.

Fast Company On Creative Career Reinvention For GenY & Boomers Through Social Media Savvy & Storytelling, Sounds Like The GlobalNiche Recipe

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 12.46.31 PMLoved to see this "Second-Act-Career Success Stories" article in Fast Company today by Lydia Dishman, focusing on non-digital-natives who have been using digital tools and social techniques to dynamically reinvent themselves.

They're not at a disadvantage because they're non-native digital beings. In fact, as these examples show -- we digital immigrants have more to work with for our online transformation.


The second-act career successes Dishman writes about sound very much like GlobalNiche recipes. It's what we've been pioneering in our own lives, creating training and showing others how to enact.  For instance:

Reframing your experiences for value

  • using your previously produced content/material to reach goals you set today

Embracing the power of the social web to grow

  • to find communities of mentors, peers, employers, clients, and customers, as well as to rapidly educate yourself in leading edge business techniques

Dishman also notes that 94% of recruiters are using or plan to use social media to find candidates and 78% of them already have placed people they found online. That only underscores my point here about the need for career counseling and training personnel to meet rising expectations....wonder what the percentage of trainers for mid career counseling are embracing these new realities.

Linda Janssen's Emotionally Resilient Expat

Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 9.59.47 AMThrilled with a new release from my expat publishing kin! I've had the pleasure and privilege of working with and getting to know both these formidable women in the past half decade. Author Linda Janssen just released via Jo Parfitt's Summertime Publishing the masterwork The Emotionally Resilient Expat: Engage, Adapt and Thrive Across Cultures.

The book is filled with personal stories from experienced globalists and cross-culturals  -- Third Culture Kid pioneer Ruth Van Reken, global nomad authors like Tina Quick, global mobility experts, psychologists and family therapists, expats, and me!

Its aim is to provide you with practical tools, techniques and best practices to live a healthier, more positive, emotionally engaged, culturally connected global life.


This book promises to be an enduring and proactive guide to the unique challenges of living in a wide, wide world -- experiences that often have the power to take apart and rearrange a person on an almost molecular level. I've been there. So glad TERE is now available for global operators everywhere.

Massive congratulations Linda and Jo.

Brainstorming With Darlene Crane To Advance Careers & Lifetime Earnings For Women

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Own your value and take it to market.


That's the message Darlene Crane wants to bring to women in business. She wants us to pursue our greatest ambitions with clear purpose. Seek power, and use it to generate benefits for the broader population. Crane urges us to "embrace ownership, and entrepreneurship."

All messages that resonate with me, a newcomer to the business scene but already feeling like an old hand at embracing ownership of my ideas and content, and very familiar with the entrepreneurial spirit.

What also resonated was what Darlene says too many smart, educated women are missing. The opportunity to drive the future economy, and win their own healthy financial life in the bargain.

I met Darlene Crane, the business growth and sustainable finance consultant at the second meeting of her new discussion and action group -- named, for now, "The $700K Club" -- which aims to gather women to create a supportive new business culture. Thanks to Cynthia Mackey, the founder of the web strategy company Winning Strategies, who invited me, and to Tiffany Roesler's Women Inspire Tech group which brought me and Cynthia together.

The first meeting in February teased out this statement from Darlene:

The recent media blitz on the stalling of gender equality and leadership pushed me to challenge the focus on behavioral issues. Could the challenge be valuing our inherent talents, education, experience and ambitions to move markets and create the opportunities we seek? Imagine if the lifetime earnings of women with college and graduate degrees actually earned as much as a man with a B.A. Each woman could on average increase lifetime earnings $700,000 -- which could finance a small business, start saving for the long-term and purchase real property. If all 30.1 million women with degrees in the U.S. earned an additional $700,000, we would contribute $21.5 trillion to the economy. With a thriving economy families from all communities could experience improvements.


Opening the discussion sponsored by edu-tech entrepreneur Mary Jean Koontz at SOMA Central tonight, Crane referred to Sheryl Sandberg's LEAN IN advice. "We're still asking permission or trying to fix ourselves. We need to reframe the discussion. "

Screen Shot 2013-08-04 at 9.34.34 PM"Women are stalling in this economy and there's a huge economic cost to tolerating this situation. This is a positive response to that."

"Product is what makes money in the future. It gives you IP and control."



  • Product is what makes money in the future. It gives you IP and control.
  • Ask how can you make money so you can have freedom of choice.
  • Economic freedom through ownership ensures meaning is a part of your work.
  • If women pursue their ambitions know that it can effect the marriage relationship.
  • If you're married, get a line of credit ASAP and pay it back to show you have a track record of repayment. Get a bank credit card in your name only.
  • Find your public voice. Honor who you are, on a spectrum. Practice in safe spaces. Call on your trusted network to help find your authentic voice.
  • Ask for what you want.
  • Build on your strengths AND get comfortable doing the uncomfortable.
  • Don't knock bank debt, which is long term. Get to know a banker now.
  • Women need to learn the venture capital model. Investors are pattern matchers. You need to develop a network to groom you to get private investors attracted to your idea and do an offering.
  • Young women are at risk. If you don't define your career by 35 you're cut off at 50.

Resources for women business owners mentioned in the meeting: Women's Initiative. Working Solutions. Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center which helps you bank borrow. Score Small Business Development Centers. Catalytic Women. Astia.

Darlene's initiative aims to have quarterly meetings which are invitation only. If you're interested to join the $700K Club, please contact her directly.

"POWER OF MONEY" was scrawled on the white board in the SOMA Central recreation room when we arrived. It fit Darlene's notes for the evening. To be continued.

Darlene Crane Meetup $700k Club

On the GlobalNiche Bookshelf: Global Dexterity. Reinventing You. The Impact Equation.

GlobalNiche bookshelf: Global Dexterity by Andy Molinsky

Building your global niche is a 21st century skill. For work. For life.

International business, human resources, the future of life & work bestsellers and new releases from Harvard Biz Review are stacking up on our bookshelf at Pinterest.


Finding cultural effectiveness. Career reinvention through social media and your own content. Achieving impact via your platform and social networks. Adopting an entrepreneurial mindset.

These are all GlobalNiche mainstays going mainstream. Click here to tweet about this.

What does it mean to be a global worker and a true "citizen of the world" today? asks author Andy Molinsky in Global Dexterity: How to Adapt Your Behavior across Cultures without Losing Yourself in the Process.

It means you're able to adapt your behavior to conform to new cultural contexts without losing your authentic self.

"Not only is this difficult, it's a frightening prospect for most people and something completely outside their comfort zone," writes Molinsky, an associate professor at Brandeis University's International Business School. He straddles the psychology and organizational behavior departments.

"What's needed now," he claims, "is a critical new skill: global dexterity."


Global dexterity? It's what we do here.


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This critical 21st century skill is exactly what we've been pioneering at GlobalNiche and expat+HAREM group blog and the Expat Harem book before it, as we have striven to make the limbo state and high cultural stakes of expatriate life a strength instead of a weakness. How to navigate your surroundings in culturally appropriate ways while also honoring the truth of who you are. That's global dexterity. Thanks to Andy Molinsky for the term. Back in 2009 we couldn't find many people talking about it at all, so we came up with our own term: "psychic location independence."

At GlobalNiche we've also come to the conclusion that this approach to a dexterous, global version of yourself  increasingly works for people everywhere, whether you're 'actually global' or not. You might be in your own backyard and need to navigate your surroundings in culturally appropriate ways and have your own, distinct truth to honor. You might not have a passport but can still benefit from becoming a global operative. In fact, being globally aware and globally functional has become an imperative in today's connected world.


GlobalNiche bookshelf: Reinventing You by Dorrie Clark

"Use social media to build connections" is one of seven steps branding expert Dorrie Clark lays out to reinvent yourself professionally, in  Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future.

"Show what you know" is another of Clark's steps. She suggests you use your content to show the world what you care about.

Again, sound familiar? It should. Using your content online and off to get where you want to go is exactly how you build your global niche. It's why the GlobalNiche program at its heart is about content strategy. Your content and your online presence is the key to creating your place in the world.

Another title that is particularly useful for people building online presences to reach offline goals is The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise? by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. Brogan is a favorite of ours here at GlobalNiche.


GlobalNiche bookshelf: The Impact Equation by Chris Brogan & Julien Smith

The impact of our ideas is a function of the quality and similarity-but-distinction of the ideas, our ability to reach people and be understood, trusted, appreciated.


Impact = C x (R + E + A + T + E)

C = Contrast – having ideas similar to existing ideas, yet different enough to stand out

R = Reach – connecting higher numbers of people to your idea

E = Exposure – knowing how frequently you connect people to your ideas

A = Articulation – ensuring that your ideas are easily understood

T = Trust – based on multiple factors, such as credibility and reliability

E = Echo – connecting to your community in a personal way

As Brogan explained in a fun January 2013 Twitter chat I participated in (#BizBookChat a virtual book club for the actionable books community by Alyssa Burkus), "The Impact Equation is about how to turn your goals into ideas, & how to get those ideas absorbed and actions taken."


To build a platform, Brogan says, "you've got to find how you can best tell the story and where you can reach the people you hope to reach."


"Start where you are," Brogan counseled us in the fast-moving Twitter chat. "But look for growth. Move your chips to the next table. Strive to reach who you need to reach."

Start where you are. That's your only option. Oh, and start your evolution today.

GlobalNiche bookshelf: The Finch Effect by Nacie Carson


Evolution is exactly what Nacie Carson urges in The Finch Effect: The Five Strategies to Adapt and Thrive in Your Working Life. The blogger and founder of says it's your best bet in today's high-pressure economy.

Traditional career strategies spell professional extinction, she writes, but the fluid new gig economy offers tremendous potential for anyone willing to adapt.

Carson's five steps for ensuring professional success are all part of the GlobalNiche mindset and skill set.

  • Adopt a gig mindset.
  • Identify your value.
  • Cultivate your skills.
  • Nurture your social network.
  • Harness your entrepreneurial energy.

Among many other notable titles on the shelf about navigating the world today is Mitch Joel's Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends On It. I hope to tackle this sometime soon. In the meantime, tell us which books on your shelf echo these 21st century life and work skills.


New World Order Deja Vu

"We have built around us a borderless global society, without the need for proximity to connect," announces social business strategist Bryan Kramer in today's post "A New World: Proximity Redefined". "Social, mobile & online today has redefined how proximity inhibits our abilities to connect anywhere & anytime."

Globally unbound. Unconfined by traditional limitations. That's exactly what I've been saying and demonstrating for many years as an expatriate devoted to using social and mobile as a survival skill and tool.

But borderlessness is not just about using the tools. It's a mindset. And it's a need.

At I teach others how to adopt this stance -- which, as Kramer points out, is a future work skill -- by committing to an intentional online life in which we see ourselves as unlimited, and build our social capital and connect to our broader networks for personal and professional development.

Kramer calls it a new world order.

That's exactly what I termed the phenomenon in 2009, of common interest and experience connecting us more than geography, nationality, and even blood when I introduced the group blog to discuss the issues of hybrid identity, global citizenship, mobile progressivism, Third Culture.

With wider adoption of the technologies, more people can be here now. They join those of us who have been operating with this mindset for a long time already because it's a survival skill.

Interview With Yesilist About A Global Niche As Sustainable Lifestyle

"The new era is about believing in yourself and creating your own niche," writes interviewer Ergem Senyuva of Yesilist, Turkey's guide to sustainable living, after talking to me and Tara Agacayak. "GlobalNiche helps people realize their visions and reach their dreams." Read the entire interview here. Moving to a new place can be challenging for many people. What are your suggestions for them? Build your safety net before you need it -- that means creating a global niche even before you move to smooth your transition. Connect as soon as possible with potential peers in your new location. Take care of your personal and professional needs, you’re the only one who knows what they are.

Can you please briefly tell us how you became part of Global Niche.  Even though we’re from the same San Francisco region in California, we met in Istanbul through a professional women’s group in 2009. Then we took an expat professional women life design class together and learned more about our commonalities, and noticed how our backgrounds complement each other. Anastasia is a media person with experience in Hollywood and New York, and Tara is an information tech person who designed databases for the US Department of Defense. Combining the media and info tech, we were both early adopters of social media used as a survival tool -- especially Twitter, which brings the world to you -- so in 2009 we started talking to groups of international women about becoming visible in the world through a professional web platform. That’s an online presence meant to support you as a professional person. was an off-shoot of Anastasia’s cultural producing work at the site for global citizens. ExpatHarem was a group blog and discussion site, and GlobalNiche was meant to take all that philosophy and put it into practice. We wanted to give people the practical skills and tools they’d need to thrive. Tara came on as chief operating officer in 2010 and in 2011 we started having monthly webvideo conversations to discuss the issues of being at home in the world. Now we have a program and two monthly live webvideo events and a private Facebook support group for people in our program.

You live in different continents and different time zones. What are the obstacles you run into while you are running the operational aspect? We use Basecamp, an online collaboration software, and Skype for weekly conference calls. We’re connected daily on an asynchronous basis through Twitter, email, and the other social web services we use. We have an ambient awareness of the other’s activities through all that social media. Even though it’s nice to be able to work around the clock by passing the baton back and forth to each other, the biggest obstacle is often the time zone. We can’t always connect when our energies are at similar levels.

GlobalNiche operates online. Do you sometimes believe you are missing the warmth of face to face communication? How do you compensate for it? Live web video has the warmth of face to face communication. We use the Linqto app for that. We also make the effort to see each other and members of our community when we are in close proximity to each other, with planned and impromptu GlobalNiche meetups around the globe. We’ve had gatherings in San Francisco, New York, Istanbul, London. We also know that virtual life is just as real as actual life, and what’s most important is not the exchange of molecules but rather the depth of our human connection.

How do you see Global Niche evolving over time? This is a solution whose time has come, and the problem will only continue to grow as people move around and the economy remains weak. We’d like to continue to listen to the needs of our community, develop even more robust products and services to help them overcome these huge life challenges. We hope to continue creating a nurturing environment, providing tech-savvy, globally-aware, culturally-sensitive support. We’d love to add some live bootcamps to speed people through the process. Get them on their feet, and doing what they love, right where they are.

Use Everything You've Got

"I crave change," writes UK blogger and expat extraordinaire in Sydney, Russell Ward. "I used to be something of a change embracer.  Over the past decade, I changed location, house, even my passport. It's not always been smooth sailing, often emotionally fraught, generally riddled with unknowns. On balance though, change has been a good thing and key to the process of moving forward.  I've found one aspect of my life difficult to change. My working life." I hear you, Russell. 

Thanks for inviting me to comment on your post to share a little about my work on this topic. That's what I've pasted below.

You're right, location independence is a very attractive concept.


I started following the lifestyle design and location independent movements a few years back, because they were pioneering a solution to a problem I'd long had as a serial expat/repat/person who moves a lot and has what I call multiple cultural personalities.

How to bridge all those worlds, how to be myself and live a life that feels right even if/when I have no support around me to do that. Ultimately, solving this problem has become my work.

I pinpointed that location independence works best for people like me by allowing us to remain where we are and yet live a life unlimited by that.


We're here for lots of reasons. Kids's school. Close to family. Some choice we made in the past that we're not ready to dissolve today. Lots of reasons.

But just because we're here and it's not the ideal place for us to pursue our dreams doesn't mean we have to defer our dreams. We've got a lot of tools available to us today that help us hurdle limitations like geography and time zone and culture.

Anyway, that's a bit of why Tara and are focusing on helping people live better where they are.


By reshaping our opportunities with the social web & mobile tech. We created an empowerment program which takes you through the process we've developed based on a combined 25 years of expatriatism, and our professional backgrounds in culture, media, info tech and psychology.

Sound like quite a stew? Yeah, creating your global niche is about using everything you've already got.

I am rooting for you, Russell, and everyone else who wants to do what they love no matter where they are.

Location Independence Begins At Home I Tell HSBC Expat Explorer

Anastasia Ashman's expat survival tip for HSBC Expat Explorer My tip for HSBC's Expat Explorer guide:

In career & personal life, location independence begins at home. No matter where you are for how long, keep contributing to your communities.


Commit to social media/mobile technology to stay centered.

See the tip and many others from expats around the world.

What's A Digital Nomad?

Would consultants or other professionals who are constantly traveling be considered digital nomads? This is my answer to the question on Quora.

I think the main definition of digital nomads is being people who make their nomadic lives work through digital means.

Those techniques are being picked up more and more by people who are not really nomadic, but merely in transit, or location independent in general.

Like me.

I live in a particular place, but I partake of a wider world of opportunity through digital means, and envisioning myself as independent of my surroundings.

We all have the potential to be digital nomadlike, or use digital nomad strategies to make our lives more seamless.

Elections When You're A Digital Global Citizen

This appeared in The Displaced Nation, November 7, 2012. Screen Shot 2013-06-09 at 5.24.15 PMGlobal citizens follow the US elections closely; some even see American politics as a spectator sport. For today’s post, we asked Anastasia Ashman, an occasional contributor to the Displaced Nation, to tell us how she felt about the 2012 elections. An expat of many years and an active proponent of global citizenship, Anastasia recently repatriated, with her Turkish husband, to her native California.

Rather than drifting away from the American political process when I was far from my fellow citizens, it was during an expat stint that I became most deeply involved.

My involvement had a displaced quality, of course.

I have always been on the edges of the American experience, hailing as I do from the countercultural town of Berkeley, California. The first time in my life I owned and brandished an American flag was after 9/11. It felt like a homecoming after a lifetime of being the outsider.

Even now that I’m back in California, my political involvement continues to have a displaced quality because I know what it’s like to be a citizen on the front lines of our nation’s foreign policy. For most Americans, the issue of how the rest of the world perceives our country is distant, amorphous, forgettable — but not for those of us who’ve lived abroad.

Clark for President!

I’d discovered Wesley Clark on television after 9/11. A four-star general, he was talking about the world we’d suddenly plunged into like a polished, collected and thoughtful world-class leader. It was easy to feel a kinship with the philosopher general even though I’d grown up in a household that vilified the military. Instead of activist or escapist pursuits, I chose to join him in geopolitical chess.

During the months between September 2003 and February 2004 when Clark competed in the presidential primary to become the Democratic candidate, I campaigned for him from afar. My email inbox soon filled with security warnings from the U.S. Consul urging Americans to keep a low profile.

If I had been able to get my hands on a campaign poster back in 2003 and 2004, I wouldn’t have displayed it publicly in my Istanbul apartment window. We were invading Iraq, and Istanbul was the site of four al Qaeda-related terrorist bombings that November. Avoid obvious gatherings of Americans, the emails cautioned. No mention of red, white, and blue “Clark for Democratic Candidate” campaign posters plastered on your residence — I had to extrapolate that.

Instead, I became active in online forums and wrote letters to undecided voters and newspapers in numerous states for my choice, the former N.A.T.O. Supreme Commander Wesley Clark. That was all I could do.

Obama for Re-election!

I’ve now been back in the USA for a year and have followed this election cycle, like the last one, mostly via social media. Online is an ideal place to become disconnected from echo chambers you don’t resonate with, and to stumble into rooms you don’t recognize. Both have happened.

But for the first time in the American political process, I don’t feel displaced. I feel like I am right where I belong.

Maybe it’s the San Francisco environs, which, although they may not match my concerns, don’t rankle too badly. At least I’m not in Los Angeles being asked to vote on whether porn actors must wear condoms. (They should, obvs!)

I feel less displacement in this election because of the resonant connections I’ve made online in the last four years or more. I’m in open, deep geopolitical conversation with Americans, American expats and with citizens of other nations, all over the world.

During this election I’ve been using my web platform, my digital footprint, to gather political news and opinion, enter discussions, and raise awareness. I’ve been reconciling my patchwork politics by weaving together who I relate to, and what I care about, and what sources I pass on to my network and what conversations I start. I now know that I am

  • A woman from an anti-war town who campaigned for a general!
  • A Hillary supporter who’s backing Barack, and
  • An adult-onset Third Culture Kid who understands how and why Obama’s Third Culture Kid experience confuses the average American.

What I have chosen to share on social media during this election cycle is a processing of all that makes me a political animal. I feel I have participated in this election cycle as the whole me, and that is all I can do.

I’ve shared that I care deeply that

I am buoyed that these abominations are leaking out and being countered. I was edified to hear others share my disapproval of eligible voters who choose to throw their votes away.

I have been able to be an active digital world citizen during this election cycle, someone who votes for the bigger picture, not just at the ballot box, but in everything I do. And that feels like home to me.

Being A $100 Changemaker With Other Digital Nomads & Global Entrepreneurs

Anastasia Ashman's advice in the $100 Change ProgramNatalie Sisson of The Suitcase Entrepreneur asked me to be a $100 Changemaker in her $100 Change Program. It's an ecourse designed to get you to take action on your dream idea, project or business to make it a reality in 100 days or less.

I’m joined in the program by 100 other entrepreneurs, digital nomads, thought leaders, TED speakers, authors, and artists from around the world, to share what it really takes to start something, make it happen, and create real impact and success.

Other changemakers include Chris Guillebeau, Danielle LaPorte, Janet Hanson, Chris Brogan, Michael Stelzner, Cameron Herold, Steve Kamb, Laura Roeder, Jonathan Fields, Clay Collins, Pamela Slim, Amy Porterfield, Corbett Barr, Lewis Howes, Pat Flynn, Nathalie Lussier, Dane Maxwell, Christine Kloser, Adam Baker, Johnny B Truant, Pam Brossman, Derek Halpern, and Alexis Neely.

$100 Change Program from Suitcase Entrepreneur Here are my answers to the $100 Change interview.

If you had $100 to start a creative project how would you spend it? Get Internet access. If I had that already, then invest in more access (like wi-fi, or a mobile device to facilitate using the web for more things, in more places).


What is your daily ritual for setting yourself up for success? You may not be ready but you'll be so much further along (and figuring it out!) if you simply get started right NOW.

You'll also be in community with your peers, and your clients will be lining up when you launch.

Build those relationships years before you "need" them.

What I'm doing now with my startup GlobalNiche I've actually been doing for years but didn't make it available to as wide an audience as I could have way back then.

Get started, go wide. Share the process. Don't wait til it's perfect, or when you know everything you need to know. That day will never come.


What is worth paying for? I'd pay for nitty gritty details and big picture advice from professionals who specialize in certain areas.

Legal advice, accounting guidance.

The opinion of a high level editor on a massive writing venture.

A consult with a brand messaging expert.

These kinds of things can unfreeze you, set you on the right path, and help you avoid lots of pain in the future.


What's a saying of yours we can put on a poster? A nugget I can offer from GlobalNiche's combo of microbrand building, creative entrepreneurship, global community development: polish your ideas in public.

That's how you're going to build a borderless community you love, and tap into a deeper sense of yourself.


What key methods do you use to stay focused on your priorities? Committing to making sense of what I do.

I'm finding the last mile of taking my ideas to market has been about GOING BACKWARD to meet my larger community.

Letting go of the coinages and jargon I love but that confuse the uninitiated.

For so long I've been pushing forward and existing on my own leading edge -- which is necessary to evolve in your field -- but now I need to make sense of how I got here and why any one else might want to join this journey.

I think of it as leaving a trail of bread crumbs they can follow.

In committing to simplifying my message, and charting a path others can follow, I am both getting to the heart of my thinking, and reaching far more people.


How do you stop fear from allowing you to do your best work? Do your thing in public, and invest in yourself.

Volunteer to get access to opportunities no one is offering you otherwise (for instance, if you want to go to a conference but can't afford it and Twitter-attending won't suffice, ask to work there. You'll make contacts and open new doors.)

Don't keep your best ideas on a shelf -- you want to be known as the person with all those good ideas.

Keep them flowing, more will come and they'll be even better developed.

Learn the basics of pitching your ideas to people more established than you are. If you nail that etiquette (know their work, which part of your idea is right for them, and you're able to be brief), you're going to find success.