March 8, 2019

Honoring the Female Heroes in My Life on International Women's Day


Heroes come in all shapes, sizes and sexes, but in the spirit of International Women’s Day, I wanted to take a moment to say “hooray” and give a high-five to all of the real-life female heroes in my life. #WeSeeYou

I’ve spent nearly a decade scouring the world in search of everyday heroes, sharing their stories and spotlighting them via my Go Inspire Go platform. In return, I’ve been blessed with true riches in life — meeting people who are tapping into their power to give back. They inspire me to be better and do better and I hope they do the same for you.

People like Kala Shah from San Rafael, Calif., a mother of three adorable boys whose superhero power is community building. When I met her several years ago at a LinkedIn networking event at the snack table (all heroes need nourishment to do our work right?), she and I talked about her yearning to create a ME to WE movement with the youth. I told her that I had a similar yearning, to take my superhero power of connecting people through storytelling on the road and reach the youth.

Weeks later, we activated and met a cafĂ© to start brainstorming ways we could groom the next generation of community heroes. She invited me to her sons’ school to tell the kids stories about everyday heroes at an assembly. The students were hungry for more. Kala infused her energy and inspired the Community Heroes lunch club and eventually created the Community Heroes nonprofit organization.

The formula was flexible, fun and gave us all the warm fuzzies:
1. Kala and other parent volunteers would show kids Go Inspire Go hero videos
2. Kids talked about how they relate to the videos and the causes (hunger, homelessness, the gap in healthcare between the have and have nots, etc.)
3. Kala would activate the heroes by connecting the kids to the community, joining forces with nonprofits to create real change

Kindness is contagious right? The kids wanted more. They begged Kala for a supersized day where they could all come together. The Day of Giving was born. Sounds fun right? Well, time flies by when you’re having fun. Fast forward to this past week — the 6th Annual Community Heroes Day of Giving.

It’s a treat to witness this magic unfold, as more than 300 kid heroes and their parent sidekicks activated their powers to give back. Within a four-hour window, the kids rolled up their sleeves to do eight service projects benefitting local nonprofits. This year’s projects included:
• Assembling care and hygiene kits for local shelters (Downtown Streets Team, Homeward Bound, Center for Domestic Peace, Butte Camp Fire families)
• Cooking and delivering meals to unsheltered community members (with Wonderbag, for Homeward Bound, St. Vincent’s)
• Making superhero capes and comfort blankets for hospitalized kids for UCSF Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital Oakland and families at Center for Domestic Peace
• Habitat restoration and park beautification in open space areas with Marin Parks
• Gardening and farm preparation for Slide Ranch
• Children’s book collection and distribution to expectant moms at Marin Community Clinic
• Raising money and awareness for Camp Fire families with our musical talents
• Making pet toys and beds for Marin Humane Society

The energy swirling around the room was energizing, uplifting and empowering. Words can’t describe the buzz of pure joy that came from the kids who were excited about using their power to give back. Some kids talked about how their family struggled with cancer and how they hoped that the capes would comfort the recipients’ battle.

Nearly every day, I hear people talk about how helpless they feel about the daunting news, from the political climate, environmental changes and real-life battles with another suicide or friend being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. I am daring you to take on this challenge: Take note from these bite sized heroes and start small, think about one thing you can do to make someone’s day brighter, and bit by bit, we will create a community of change.

The most important lesson these heroes experienced and learned is that true joy comes by giving back to others. Students reflected on the supersized day as the event came to a close and talked about what kindness, empathy and compassion feels like. They realized that it only takes one small act that ripples out to meaningful changes.

To every hero in our universe, thank you for using your POWer for good. And double daps to our girls and women on this special #InternationalDayofWomen. POW!

INTERESTED IN joining forces with Community Heroes? Reach out to us at ComHeroes.org or be an event sponsor for next year’s event.

Onward,
Toan

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February 13, 2019

How to Fine-Tune Your Flow

You, me, we were all born with an internal GPS. Some call it “intuition,” while others call it your “gut.”

This GPS, or instinct, not only helps us survive — making decisions as primal as eating and sleeping — but on a higher level, it’s also here to guide us spiritually. It’s a divine gift that helps us — if we use it — navigate through tricky times and ultimately to become a better version of ourselves.

The operative part of the last sentence is, “If we use it.”

January 18, 2019

4 Tips to Living in the Present Moment

Have you ever sat down with a book and forgotten what you were just reading? It’s happened to me on several occasions. Sometimes, even after rereading the paragraph, I still wasn’t processing the message.

This absent-mindedness is creeping into many other parts of my life: driving, showering and even, on some occasions, while trying to meditate!

As I get older and time seems fly by faster, I realize I’ve often been going through the motions. But during a recent trip to Peru — one of my favorite spiritual places in the world — I distinctly felt in the present moment many of my waking hours. The experience was so striking that I wondered how I could keep this with me when I returned to America.


I’m no fool to think I can always be 100 percent in the present moment, but that’s not the point or the goal. The goal is to realize when I’m no longer in the present moment, whether during an encounter with a rude stranger, when I get peeved or feeling anxious about the future.

So how can we remember to be more present? Here are some life hacks that have helped me be more present every day:

January 1, 2019

Why I Went from New Year's Resolutions to New Year's Intentions

Happy 2019! I don’t remember the last time I made a New Year’s resolution. So much emphasis is put on them even though most fizzle away by Valentine’s Day. So instead, I’ve resolved to replace resolutions with intentions. Things seemed to flow and feel more aligned when I made this shift. I loved it so much that I started doing intention setting sessions every six months instead of just once a year.