I Am Giving Away ItStartsWith.Us

by Nate St. Pierre on April 21, 2013

Four years ago this month, I started a little blog called ItStartsWith.Us (links to the first post ever written on it). You know how in the beginning, only your mom reads your blog? Well, I don’t even think she did at the time. But I wanted to change the world, and this is how I decided to start.

I wrote on it for a few months before I wanted to try something different . . . treating my readers not just as consumers, but inviting them to join me as a team of action-oriented producers – people who would join me in making a positive impact in someone’s life, in just 15 minutes per week.

The team started with just 18 members, whom I had to email (and BCC) by hand each week, copying and pasting results in for the rest of the team to see. In the next few months, however, it had grown to around 500 members participating weekly, and we had plenty of stories to tell, so I put out a Year in Review PDF to showcase what we had done for others.

Over the next couple years as I led the team each week, it grew to over 5,000 participating members worldwide, with around 30,000 pageviews per month on the private community forum I built for us to share our stories with each other. Not a week went by that I didn’t shed some tears of joy, grief, and everything in between for all that I learned about the human condition from that group, and the beauty of being intentional about the things you say and do to bring love to others’ lives.

Along the way I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet, work with, and become friends with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever known. People that not only have incredible talent, but a giving heart for others as well. They’ve all helped me to become a better person, and I appreciate that more than they’ll ever know. There are far too many to list, but I do want to say a special thank-you to one person, Kat Cole, for becoming one of the original founding members of the ISWU team, and for giving me chances and opportunities when I was just starting out and had no idea what I was doing. Because of you, Kat, I now have a number of people in my life that I love dearly, and it’s all because you decided to say hello one day on Twitter four years ago. 🙂

ISWU was the first project I built on my “Change the World” mission, but I always had more to do. So after two years of leading the team, I retired and turned leadership of the group over to my buddy Josh Opinion, down in Florida. He had been with the team since the early days, and had become my right-hand man in terms of volunteering and helping me with the things that needed to be done. I interviewed a number of people for the new team leader position, and secretly hoped he would throw his hat in the ring. He did, and he ended up winning the job as well.

For the past two years he’s been at the head of ISWU, evolving the group away from old-school forums and more onto the ItStartsWith.Us Facebook page, which now has most of the day-to-day activity. Josh has always been solid, dependable, and has a giving attitude toward all of our team members. He’s been ISWU’s MVP for a long time, and I’m happy to have been able to work with him for such a long time.

And so today I would like to announce that I am officially giving the entire ItStartsWith.Us project, in its entirety, to Josh Opinion to continue and expand now and in the future. No one on the team has worked as hard as he has, and no one deserves the opportunity more. I am clearing space in my life to continue developing other projects, and I can think of no better future for ISWU than to give it to the man who’s been nurturing it for the past two years.

Congratulations Josh, and thank you so much for your years of service. I will remain an active part of the team, and you always know where to find me should you need me. 😉

To all the rest of the team, I would like to say thank you so very much for allowing me to spend my time with you each week, especially in the beginning years. Collectively, you helped mold me into the person I am today. You taught me so much about love, loss, joy, teamwork, and empathy for others. I would not be where I am today without each one of you.

I am so grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to be a part of your lives. I leave you in good hands.

Thank you, sincerely.


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