Category Archives: News & Updates

4 Small Things You Can Do to Make a Big Difference in Your Loved Ones Lives

Advocate, we know you give 110% every single day — to your job, your family, your neighbors, and your friends. The requirements for your daily life are unrelenting. To think about giving more, even just a little bit, may push you to the edge of tears. How can you find one more ounce of strength and courage? Working with survivors is one of the most rewarding things you can do, but compassion fatigue is real. We’re here to help — you, survivors, and your families. Our list below is a hug to all of you, to help you live just a bit lighter and smile just a bit brighter.

These simple things can make a big difference:

Meditate on the gift of family.

You can make a big difference in your loved ones lives by meditating on the gift of family

This one is just for you, Advocate. Take 5 minutes to pause and think on the gift of family. Whether it’s birth family or chosen family, count the ways they bring joy to your life. Think of their smiles, their laughter, the way they crinkle their eyes after they say something funny. Feel their hugs, their warmth when you sit together. Think on the all way they make you feel safe. Visualize the ways they fill your life with color. Two minutes in and you’ll probably feel energy seep back into your heart. Four minutes and you can’t wait to see them. 

Smile when you see them.

You can make a big difference in your loved ones lives by smiling when you see them

Before you allow chores or dinner plans to take over your thoughts, greet your loved ones with a smile. There’s power in this simple act. You convey to yourself that you are happy and hopeful, and to everyone around you that they are accepted and welcome. Try one on right now. Feel your cheeks rise right along with your mood. (In fact, a British study states that one smile can generate the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 bars of chocolate and can be as stimulating as receiving $25,000. We like the sounds of that study!)

Verbalize Your Appreciation

You can make a big difference in your loved ones lives by making a list of all the reasons you love them

When we intentionally stop to think about all the ways our loved ones add to our lives, our list grows pretty quickly. Make note of things as you think about them. Write an old-fashioned pen-and-paper list. Use the reminders on your phone. Whatever ways you choose to keep tabs on the wonderful uniqueness of your loved ones, make sure you look them in the eye and tell them with your words. 

Share the Reasons You Serve

You can make a big difference in your loved ones lives by verbalizing your appreciation

Think of all the things you do each week to keep your loved ones up and running. Perhaps you grocery shop, run errands, clean the house, wash the laundry, or run the kids to school. Talk to them about why you do it. Here are a few examples:

  • I love washing your sheets so you have a warm cozy bed.
  • I love driving you to school so I can have one last hug before you learn.
  • I love grocery shopping for you so we can eat healthy food and feel good as a family. 
  • Keeping the house clean helps me keep you safe, and I love knowing you’re safe and comfortable.
  • Running errands is so much better when I get to spend time with you. I love hearing about how your day has gone. 

These things not only bless your loved ones, they help you stay focused on the positive things that are part of your daily life.

By doing this, you’ll be able to #fillyourcupfirst. Advocate, thank you for the ways you make a difference every single day, at work and at home. Our world is a better place because you’re in it. 

ILF Rebrand: Getting Through the Bad Names

A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet…

…unless that name is “Brella”

ILF renaming process rejects BRELLA

Ok, maybe I am jumping too far ahead in the telling of this part of the story. Maybe I am just making sure not to bury the lead. You can decide.

The short version of this post is: the first naming presentation with Rethink didn’t go very well.

The creative process isn’t easy (in fact it is HARD). Rethink, the agency helping us through the rebrand process, was a brave agency for taking on the challenge of renaming Indrani’s Light Foundation. They were tasked with dreaming up names that weren’t quite right, names that didn’t fit, and names that kind of, well, stunk.

Getting through the bad names was all part of the steps we needed to take on the journey to the good names, and Rethink did an amazing job of being patient, managing our emotions, taking our critiques, and continuing to move forward. 

A big thank you to Rethink for helping us through this process and discovering our new name.

Rethink broke the names up into themes, which we loved. The themes they identified were a great match for Indrani’s Light Foundation. So, let’s take a look at some of the names organized by theme (with a bit of commentary on each name):

Light and Positivity

From Rethink: Light as a theme is an excellent metaphor for the positivity and resilience required to be a domestic violence advocate. These names represent a guiding light for these people:

Everlight: Felt a bit too cultish, like maybe we would come to the training wearing robes.

Project Daylight: We didn’t feel like “Daylight” was very clear, but we did like the use of the word “Project.”

Project Lighthouse: we were worried this felt a bit religious, and we support advocates regardless of affiliation.

ILF renaming process rejects PROJECT LIGHTHOUSE

Balance

From Rethink: This theme is about restoring balance – convincing advocates to take a little bit back for themselves after all they’ve given to others.

Libri: From “Equilibrium.” This one made us think, and some of the team didn’t mind it, but it didn’t make our brand much clearer than “Indani’s Light”.

Project Balance: We liked the “Project,” but we don’t really feel like balance is something any of us can obtain. Harmony between work and life, maybe, but not balance.

Support

From Rethink: This theme represents the wisdom of accepting help. It’s about dispersing the pressure in a way that makes advocates stronger, and in turn better able to help others.

Project Triangle: Triangles…triangulation…not the greatest shape in social work type situations.

ILF renaming process rejects PROJECT TRIANGLE

Kolmio or Silta: Finnish words for triangle and bridge. We didn’t feel using Finnish words would feel inclusive to our target audience.

Olev: An alternate spelling for “olive.” As in “Olev the other reindeer.” Nope.

Protection

From Rethink: This theme represents the inner strength and pragmatic defences the program provides to domestic violence advocates.

Brella: From “umbrella,” this name resulted in the most amazing facial and verbal expression from Indrani. When anyone on the team makes a confused or disgusted face we now call it “Brella Face” (so we kept this name…sort of).

Elo: Malagasy for “umbrella”, also Electric Light Orchestra, so, no. Also it didn’t feel right to appropriate another language’s word to which we have no connection or history.

Shelter Shield: The name of a condom company…maybe. A new name for ILF…NO! 

A lot of “NO!” names…so now what?

The team loved the different themes but the names were all just wrong. No one on the team could imagine introducing ourselves and saying that we worked for any of these new names. The team left the meeting feeling confused and unsure if renaming ILF was even a good idea.

Luckily, Rethink assured us these feelings were normal, bad names were part of the process, and their team, with the feedback, could head in new directions. We scheduled a second renaming meeting, and gave Rethink some time to get creative.

H.A.A.A? How About An Acronym?

The second meeting arrived and Rethink presented 10 more names, including the possibility of sticking with Indrani’s Light (and dropping the “Foundation”). However, there was no need to share 10 names, because after they had shared the very first name with the team, we were positive they had nailed it.

From Rethink’s presentation: “Renaming ILF is an opportunity to bring clarity to the organization’s purpose upfront. An acronym can help us clarify the lofty mission of ILF without adding too many words to the name. If you’re in the water, sometimes the water gets rough, and even the best swimmers among us need something to hold onto.”

And so ILF became: RAFT – Resilience for Advocates through Foundational Training

Visit our new landing page: www.raftcares.org

Advocates are dedicated to their jobs, they are passionate about their jobs, and they are good at their jobs. But all of this, like rough water, can fall apart when compassion fatigue and burnout take control. The training we provide at Indrani’s Light Foundation (RAFT) is something advocates can hold onto when things get rough, and pull themselves out of the rough water and back onto something more solid.

This name, we think, is clear, evokes emotions, is benefit driven, and matches the tone of how our team wants to be seen by the advocates we support.

What do you think of the new name? Let us know in the comments.

This is Part 6 of our rebrand story. Read previous articles about our rebrand below:

Part 1 Rebranding ILF: A Story of Change
Part 2 Our Brand’s Highs and Lows
Part 3 A Solidified Brand Profile
Part 4 Playing in the Visual Sandbox
Part 5 Naming is HARD

What Happens After the Shelter: A Daily Self-Care Routine to Keep You Strong

There’s no question that you’re making a difference in the world as a advocate or shelter worker. But when it comes to the day-to-day grind, most advocates find themselves either worn out or headed there. A daily self-care routine can bolster you through the difficult days and sustain you so you’re able to make your long-term goals happen.

a-self-care-routine-allows-you-to-give-from-the-overflow

With a strong self-care routine, you’ll not only be able to support survivors, but also remain safe, healthy, and happy. This trickles down to safe, healthy and happy friend and family relationships as well. Let’s talk about how to get to a healthy self-care routine.

What is self-care?

The Oxford Dictionary defines self-care as follows:

Self-care [selfkair], NOUN. The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health; The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.

This definition extends the cliché self-care vision of bubble baths, candles, and massages to a countless array of options. A self-care routine looks different for every single person. Why? Because self-care involves what youneed to preserve your own health. Consider the following self-care routines:

Practice Gratitude

a-daily-self-care-routine-involves-gratitude

Taking time to daily note the things in life that you’re grateful for can lead to an invaluable legacy. (It’s more than just thanks!) Life gets busy and it may feel like it’s not worth it. The house is a mess, the laundry is waiting, and dinner needs to be made. But what if you did it anyway? What if you showed up, took 5 minutes, and learn to be habitually be grateful for the ordinary, seemingly inconsequential moments? This five minutes a day can be life-changing! You can even keep it all in a gratitude journal. Indrani shares her own process here.

Communicate Your Needs

Clear boundaries can be a form of self-care. Even if you aren’t fully clear on what healthy boundaries look like for you, have courage to start somewhere. For some, this first step may be learning that you have permission to take up space in the world. The next step in boundaries may be to learn to be clear about the way you view things. When we don’t communicate these viewpoints, the uncomfortable things often get stuck inside until they blow up. Consider that remaining quiet in difficult situations often isn’t respectful to your own values, your belief system, or your physical needs. Be in tune with how you feel when a boundary is crossed, and know that this ongoing stress can have many detrimental effects.

When it comes to boundaries, you can only control and change yourself in these situations, so focus on steps that you are in control of, no trying to change the other person in order to improve the situation. For more information on communicating boundaries, check out our free Live a Brighter Life course!

Expand Something You Love

Self-care doesn’t have to be about starting something new. It may be strengthening what you’re enjoying or already good at. Identify something you already love and making more space for it. Put more energy into it and make it stronger. Make an effort on the things that are already rooted and shore it up a little. This is the key to sustainability. Find the thing that works and do more of it.

Find Ways to Connect with Others

a-healthy-self-care-routine-connects-with-others

When you’re tired and feel like you’re barely keeping up with life in general, making time for friends and family may seem impossible. We’re built for community — relationships are what bolster us and keep us going. Even introverts need connection. (These moments will most likely look different than an extrovert’s time, but they’re still vital for a healthy you.) Consider some creative ways you can connect:

  • Find a group who is excited about something you love. From board games to cycling, there’s a community group for everyone. Meet regularly with them!
  • Try a weekly online meetup where you can talk face-to-face with others.

These relationships can increase your energy and are helpful for your state of mind and other relationship in your life. Self-care doesn’t have to be just about ourselves and doing things on our own. It can include others, too!

Hold Space for Your Personal Life

It’s easy to take work home with you. Often, we vent about work problems to those we love. While it’s great (and important!) to have a safe space, limit this time. Hold boundaries around your time together with loved ones so it can be a positive experience for everyone. It’s also important to have a conversation about what personal time looks like for each person in the relationship. For example, reading side-by-side may be viewed as together time for some, but personal time for others. These two areas may be defined very differently than what you might expect.

Take Small Steps Towards a Bigger Goal

a-healthy-self-care-routines-starts-with-one-small-step

If you want to run in a marathon next year, start the journey today. Tell everyone about your goal so you’re accountable to them as well as yourself. Reframe how you think about your daily or weekly activities so you’re reminding yourself of that these activities are part of that goal. For example, you’re not working out at the gym, you’re training for a marathon. This simple switch can help keep you motivated and on track!

Meditate

Whatever meditation means to you, pursue it. It may be quiet time to be within yourself. Perhaps it’s prayer time. Yoga can be an exercise of meditation. If you’re just learning about meditation, discover 4 ways meditation can help you stay balanced. If you don’t know where to start, meditate with Indrani:

Whatever form of self-care you choose, start simply.

Choose one thing and do it consistently. If you miss a day, forgive yourself. Get back in and start doing it again without self-condemnation. Remember, you’re doing the best you can for yourself, and it only takes one small step to get started.

For more examples of self-care practices, listen to these two Caring for the Caregivers podcasts:

ILF Rebrand: Naming is HARD

Type “baby name books” into Amazon and you get over 10,000 results.

Baby name books on Amazon help us realize that naming is hard.

Type “baby names” into Google and you get 1,460,000,000 results in 0.65 seconds. Let’s take a moment to think about how crazy it is that Google can do that.

Naming a baby, a business, or in this case a nonprofit is hard.

Actually, after going through the process, let’s capitalize that:

Naming is HARD.

This capital letter HARDNESS of finding a new name for Indrani’s Light Foundation became even more challenging when we realized how emotional, especially for Indrani, the renaming process was going to be.

Indrani’s Light Foundation has had its name for 12 years, so deciding to change that name brought up a lot for Indrani. The team wants to honor and show deep gratitude for Indrani and her willingness to go through this process.

So, before we share a blog post about the actual renaming process (and some the of names we went through….there are a few doozies), we want to share this video of Indrani talking about the renaming process. Below she shares some examples of why this new name is such a great fit for the work we do at Indrani’s Light Foundation.

So yes, our new name is RAFT, Resilience for Advocates through Foundational Training. We all know what resilience means: the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. The foundational part is the stuff we teach, like the following:

  • How to set and keep a boundary. Brené Brown defines boundaries in her book Rising Strong as “simply our lists of what’s okay and what’s not okay.” Once we know how to set a boundary, then we have to set boundaries with everybody, especially the people who love us and the people we love.
  • How to say “no.” Many of us were taught to say “yes” to everything, even the things that aren’t good for us. Saying “no” brings freedom and joy.

This is Part 5 of our rebrand story. Read previous articles about our rebrand below:

Part 1 Rebranding ILF: A Story of Change
Part 2 Our Brand’s Highs and Lows
Part 3 A Solidified Brand Profile
Part 4 Playing in the Visual Sandbox

How to Build Resilience as Advocates

Working with survivors is rewarding, but it can also be exhausting. Most advocates experience compassion fatigue at some point or another. Psychotherapist Dennis Portnoy believes that compassion fatigue is caused by empathy. “It is the natural consequence of stress resulting from caring for and helping traumatized or suffering people.” All this means that when you’re serving and coming alongside survivors, it just might wear you out. Staying healthy and whole as an advocate is vital, both to those your support and the loved ones who need you before and after work. 

Healthy boundaries help Care Givers remain healthy for their loved ones

Two vital keys help support advocates: personal boundaries and remaining present.

Setting and Maintaining Personal Boundaries

Personal boundaries are the mental, emotional, and physical limits you establish to protect yourself. They separate who you are, what you feel, and what you believe from the thoughts and feelings of others. In other words, they’re what define your “you-ness.” Any time someone crosses these boundaries you’ve established, it’s an infringement.

Unhealthy boundaries show up in a lot of ways. 

You might need to establish healthier boundaries if any of the following ring true for you:

  • You’re a people-pleaser.
  • You give for the sake of giving.
  • You take for the sake of taking.
  • You let others define you.
  • You expect others to fulfill your needs.
  • You feel guilty saying “no.”
  • You don’t speak up when you’re treated badly.
  • You play the victim.
  • You accept advances without first granting permission.
  • You don’t keep yourself safe.
  • You hug people you’re unfamiliar with.

Healthy boundaries allow you to be confident in who you are, what you feel, and what you believe.

What a better way to live! Unhealthy boundaries push you into lying. Wait, what? Unhealthy boundaries cause you agree to things you don’t want to do or don’t believe in to please people, gain approval, or avoid guilt. You quickly say, “Yes, I’d love to,” when you don’t have time, energy, or passion for it. You can wind up stressed out, exhausted, and failing to keep up. No one wants to see you there! 

A brighter life for Care Givers is possible

It’s important to remember that healthy boundaries are often a work in progress. Establishing healthy boundaries starts when you know your values. And from there, you can begin to say “no” by saying “yes” differently.

Remaining Present Physically and Emotionally

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone but suddenly realize that your thoughts are a million miles away? How about playing with your child but mentally trying to solve a difficult situation at work? It can be difficult to remain physically and emotionally present at home, especially when you’re working with traumatized and suffering people at work. 

Take a few minutes to center and grounding yourself takes only minutes but makes a big difference.

When you find your mind wandering, a few deep breaths through your nose can help pull yourself back to the present. When you’re transitioning from work to home, take a few moments as you leave to intentionally leave work at work. Listen to a meditation with Indrani on your way home.  

Care givers can take a few minutes to center and ground yourself.

Unpack your emotions related to the problem you’re trying to solve.

When you have healthy boundaries, you are able to live confidently. If something keeps tripping you up mentally or emotionally, it’s often the result of a boundary issue. Take a few moments to ask yourself what boundary is being crossed and whyyou have that particular boundary. Once you’re able to unpack the root cause of the problem, you’ll be able to pursue a healthy solution.

Establish a gratitude practice.

Start a gratitude journal! Bookend your days with a short list of things you’re thankful for. Surround yourself with positive people who make you shine. The more we shine, the more we’re available for love. And if you aren’t sure where to start, consider uncovering your strengths. When we pursuse our strengths, we’ll be able to handle stress and life challenges, become happier, and develop more satisfying relationships.

Boundaries setting and remaining present takes discipline and practice. Training can provide the tools to make the process easier. It also helps you establish a support network of like-minded people. If you don’t know where to start, jump into our free Live a Brighter Life course. These six classes with teach you to live a more empowered life. If you’d like training for your shelter, organization, or group of Advocates, contact us. We’ll show you how to respect yourself, establish healthy boundaries, and build resilience. A brighter life is possible!

ILF Rebrand: Playing in the Visual Sandbox

This is Part 4 of our Rebrand Story
Part 1 Rebranding ILF: A Story of Change
Part 2 Our Brand’s Highs and Lows
Part 3 A Solidified Brand Profile

With the stakeholder interviews and brand profile complete, our team was getting in the groove. We were actively ticking off the checkboxes of the rebranding process with the help of Rethink (the company helping us through the rebrand process).

Next up, Rethink presented us with what they call “visual sandboxes.” This process involved …

Wait a second. This step was all about the images, colors, and design that would inspire the new ILF look, so let’s not make this post overcomplicated with a bunch of words. 

Instead, let’s jump into the sandboxes we liked, the ones we didn’t, and the ones that made us go “hmmmm.”

The Sandboxes We Wanted to Play In

ILF Sandbox 1

We loved the multiple colors, the simplicity of the name, and how the pattern separated onto different elements translated into a single image.

ILF Sandbox 2

We liked the, well, blockiness of this one, the multiple colors, and the way the font also matched the blocky theme.

ILF Sandbox 3

We liked the contrast of the stronger blue color with the softer pink color. We liked the rounded “R.” We also realized that given this, the previous blocky example might be too blocky. 

The Sandboxes That Were More Like Kitty Litter Than Sandboxes

ILF Sandbox 4

We actually liked the darker green in this one, but everything else was too soft and reminded us a bit of 80’s pastels.

ILF Sandbox 5

We felt this was too confusing and hard to read. Plus, we wanted some color in our brand.

ILF Sandbox 6

While it’s true that our team wants to move towards more evidence-based practices, this felt waaaaaay to clinical and scientific to represent our work.

The Sandboxes That Made Us Ask, “What’s Happening Here?”

Working with a big team of creatives at Rethink definitely has been interesting at times. Rethink always gave us a wide range of ideas and visuals to process. These design inspirations were …. well, you decide.

ILF Sandbox 8
ILF Sandbox 8

After the presentation and our feedback, Rethink sent off our chosen visual inspiration to their creative department to start working on the colors and visuals that would represent Indrani’s Light Foundation for 2019 and beyond.

Except there was one twist in the plan before we could move forward:

We decided to explore changing our name.

Wait, what?!

Get ready for the next post in our rebranding story. It will be filled with misfires, emotion, panic, blocks, and eventually a brand new name for Indrani’s Light Foundation.

How to Help a Friend Who Is Being Abused

We all hate the thought of abuse, but many don’t know how to express concerns about a friend who is being abused. What we do know is that abuse is all around us. More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the U.S. report having experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. 

How to Help a Friend Who Is Being Abused

According to the National Center for Abuse and Domestic Violence (NCADV), “Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically; however, the one constant component of domestic violence is one partner’s consistent efforts to maintain power and control over the other.”

According to JaneDoe.org, 90% of all domestic violence survivors are female and most abusers are male. As a result, we refer to survivors in this article as “she,” but realize that men can be abused as well.

If you suspect someone you love is being abused, it’s important to broach the topic with her. It’s tempting to want to rush in save the day, but abuse is complicated. Confronting abuse has the potential to be dangerous, especially for the abuse survivor. There are many ways to help a friend who is being abused. We cover a few below:

Voice Concern

When we see a friend getting hurt, whether it be physically or emotionally, let her that know you’re concerned. Initiate the conversation rather than wait for her to say something. Let her know you’ve seen some things that don’t seem healthy for her and ask her how these make her feel. It’s important to allow her space to identify these situations and work through the pattern of abuse.

Generational violence normalizes abusive behavior, so it may be difficult for her to realize she deserves a safe relationship. When you voice concern, it’s important to ensure this talk is at time and place that is private. It’s helpful to have this discussion in person, as well.

Listen

It may be tempting to share your concerns and then walk away, letting her decide whether or not to heed your warnings. Or worse, tell her what she should do. An abused woman is already being told what to do by their abuser. They don’t need you trying to control them as well. Instead, invite conversation. Ask her what she would like to see in her relationship. Abuse is about power, so ask how she would like to see herself regaining some of her own power. 

If you suspect a friend is being abused, voice concern

Be patient as you listen. It’s often difficult for a survivor to talk about her abusive. She’s learned to live in denial to survive, so a shift in thinking may take time. 

Support

Far too often, people choose to support an abuse survivor only if she leaves her abuser. When we offer this conditional support, we are no better than her abuser, who uses manipulation to control behavior. And if she chooses to remain in the relationship, your conditional support only isolates her more.

An individual who has been abused may lose her voice — her ability to speak for herself. Encourage her to talk and explore some potentially new thoughts concerning her relationship. Sometimes support looks like helping her find someone to talk to who has experience in dealing with abusive relationships. 

No matter what she decides at the end of your discussion, remain supportive. If she decides to remain in the relationship, you may voice concern, but again, remain supportive of her.

Don’t Blame

Let her know that the abuse is not her fault. It’s common for a survivor to think that if she had handled the situation better or used a different tone of voice the abuse would not have happened. An abuser chooses to abuse, and this choice has nothing to do with the actions of the survivor. Never blame an abuse survivor for her abuse.

Help Make a Safety Plan

If you suspect a friend is being abused help her create a safety plan

Creating a safety plan might involve a packing bag of essentials. It may be developing a code word so she can let you know that she is in danger without her abuser suspecting she is sounding cry for help. You can help arrange a meeting place if she needs to leave at a moment’s notice. It’s also helpful to have a list of local shelters in the event a safe, private shelter is needed.

Well-Known National Resources

If you work with abused women, thank you! We encourage you to remember to continue to care for yourself through the process. Self-care and a practice of gratitude is necessary to keep yourself centered and to remain strong. Our Live a Brighter Life Course and Caring for the Caregiver is a unique and powerful resource for people just like you. We also host monthly Caregiver Call. Check our Facebook page for details on the next call.

ILF Rebrand: A Solidified Brand Profile

This is Part 3 of our Rebrand Story.
Part 1 Rebranding ILF: A Story of Change
Part 2 Our Brand’s Highs and Lows

With information from our team, the stakeholder interviews, and all the material on the current website, Rethink (the company helping us through the rebrand process) took the next step by building and presenting a Brand Profile to the ILF Team. 

Our Driving Insight Sums Up the ILF Mission

Everyone on the ILF team experienced a shiver down our spines when Rethink presented “ILF’s Driving Insight” for the new brand:

Advocate well-being is the crumbling infrastructure that holds up sexual and domestic violence organizations across North America.

This broken bridge represents the crumbling infrastructure that holds up sexual and domestic violence organizations across North America

Our team has struggled to explain clearly and simply why our work is important. And now, here it was, right in front of us, written in a way we never would have discovered on our own.

This one sentence felt like a complete reset in how we could talk about the importance of ILF’s work. Our team doesn’t only help with self-care. We don’t only teach boundary and communication skills.

Our Mission Supports DV Advocates

Our mission is to find ways to strengthen the advocate infrastructure that supports the survivors of sexual and domestic violence so they can rebuild and return to better lives.

With this amazing insight to kick off the Rethink presentation, the ILF Team felt like we were seeing our work again for the first time. But Rethink had more for us, and continued to share the new brand profile.

Our Brand Profile Supports the ILF Message

Wait, what is a brand profile?

A brand profile, we learned, is the foundation that our brand is built upon. This brand profile serves as guide for the creation of everything — from the colors on our website to the language used to express what we do.

Without going through the whole process and presentation, here are some of the highlights from our shiny new brand profile document:

ILF Brand Foundations

Care workers are selfless agents of change who are obsessed with helping others. “Maintainers” are the unsung heroes of society. ILF is unique in providing comprehensive, practical self-care training at the lowest overall cost.

ILF Brand Profile Venn Diagram

ILF Brand Belief & Ambitions

We believe that the most effective Advocate is one who is thriving. This is our Brand Belief. We seek to inspire all Advocates to take the time to care for themselves. This is our Brand Ambition.

ILF Brand Profile Brand Belief and Brand Ambition

Everything Extends From the ILF Brand Profile

The combination of our driving insight, brand foundation, brand belief and ambition, combined with our brand voice (positive, empathetic, calm, candid), target audience, emotional benefit, and reasons to believe is our complete ILF Brand Profile. This will become the solid foundation that the new ILF brand will be built upon.

Moving forward, everything — including colors, fonts, logos, wordmarks, images, and eventually a brand new name — is held up by this Brand Profile. It provides the structure and strength.

Anticipating Our Next Steps

Everyone was excited and emotional, anticipating what would happen next as we moved forward in the process. Soon we would be looking at visual sandboxes to determine what the new Brand Design would look like.

Join us in the next post as we share some of these visual sandboxes (the ones we liked and ones we….meh), then continue reading as we move forward to see how all of these different pieces come together.

How to Say No by Saying Yes Differently

We can all learn to give a powerful and positive “no.”

Have you ever struggled with boundaries? Perhaps you’ve been able to say “no” to someone but doing so filled you with anxiety. Or maybe you were plagued by guilt afterwards. There’s a way to say “no” differently, in a way that is helpful and — believe it or not — easy.

Learning to say “no” is important. In fact, there’s a world out there that needs us to say “no” once in a while (or all the time). It’s a world in which you can create what you want, protect what you want, and then change what no longer works. There’s a way to not just say “no,” but to say it powerfully and positively. 

Below you’ll find some solid principles on how to say “no,” taken straight out of William Ury’s book, The Power of a Positive No. (Over the last thirty years he has helped millions of people, hundreds of organizations, and numerous countries at war reach satisfying agreements.) We love this book! 

An unhealthy “no” shows up in three ways.

Before we get to that empowering place of “no,” we need to understand the ways in which we’re currently giving an unhealthy “no”: 

  • Instead of saying “no,” we accommodate. In the process we lose power.
  • Instead of saying “no,” we attack. In the process we lose the relationship.
  • Instead of saying “no,” we avoid. In the process we lose both power and the relationship.

These are all unhealthy noes. If you’re unsure what type of unhealthy “no” you tend to give (and it may be more than one category), think of an instance in which you’d like to say no to someone or something but don’t know how to say “no.” What emotions do you feel? What physical symptoms do you experience?

Yes, all that.

In this moment as you think about the situation, you might feel anxiety. The beginnings of a headache. Guilt. Defeat. These feelings and emotions are great signals to let you know that you need to learn how to say “no” in a healthy manner.

A healthy “no” centers on our values.

We feel these things because whatever uncomfortable situation we find ourselves in is typically a situation contrary to our values. Our values are unique to each of us. We could define values as a GPS system that helps us remember where we’re going. Values are something we carry with us every single day to help us make our decisions. Values point us to our purpose in life. They’re what make us work the long hours, give until we don’t feel we can give anymore, and then go home and give to our families. Our values allow us to know what’s a true yes and what’s an actual no. 

A healthy “no” follows a formula.

A healthy “no” involves three parts: yes, no, yes. 

  • The first yes is a yes to ourselves and the values that are important to us. 
  • No is a firm enforcement of our boundary.
  • The second yes offers another possibility or option. An “I won’t do that but I can do this.” This is another yes to ourselves but in way that aligns with our values. There isn’t always a second yes.

Let’s visualize this. Imagine a tree. The first yes is the root system. It provides the stability for the tree. Our values provide our stability. The no is the trunk of the tree. It is firm and straightforward. This is how we stand in the face of something that is contrary to our values. The second yes is the branches. A branch the possibility we offer as a different solution. We can choose one of many options. This isn’t a compromise or an accommodation — it’s a different plan, one that aligns with our values and reinforces them.

A-healthy-“no”-centers-on-our-values

Occasionally, we might experience some pushback to our positive “no.”  If we waver in the face of this pushback, it’s a sign that we need to go back and explore our values and identify a more important one that supports our first yes. Once we discover our core values — the deep ones — we won’t waver, feel guilty, or second guess our positive “no.” 

If you’d like to learn more, are struggling with setting healthy boundaries, or find it difficult to say “no,” sign up for our Live a Brighter Life Course.

In this free course, we teach people to live with more joy and more freedom. And that involves learning to say “no.” Whether you’re a survivor of domestic violence or a CEO of a world organization, living in a shelter or running a shelter, this course will challenge and encourage you!