Life can get overwhelming sometimes. Perhaps, for example, your vendor gets acquired right before your manager announces she's leaving days after your intern is leaving and around the same time you are apartment hunting and planning for a move. Maybe that's where your life is right now. And maybe you're pretty stressed out. But while that may not be everyone's exact story, we can all sympathize and empathize with the feeling of being overwhelmed, and we can survive by gathering together and supporting each other within our community.

 

JiveWorks is successful because of the people who participate in it - the people who ask, who share, who question, who suggest. We are the power of community. And we are a community in turmoil. We're facing change and a future of unknowns and that is always scary. But we're facing it together, and that gives me hope.

 

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My grandfather was born in Estonia (for those of you who are geographically unaware, Estonia is the northernmost Baltic state, now a member of the EU, chilling right below Finland). Estonia had a tumultuous history, spending centuries under the rule of various different countries, gaining temporary independence in the beginning of the 20th century and then again, with finality, in 1991. That was only 26 years ago, but you'd never be able to tell. Estonia has an estimated 350 startups - one for every 3,700 citizens. Estonia was the first country in the world to adopt online voting. Over 98% of bank transactions done and prescriptions prescribed are online, and the 98% of taxes completed online take an average of 5 minutes. Estonia ranked first in the last Freedom of the Net index, the global internet freedom chart. Estonia has a countrywide wireless intranet and over 95% of the territory is 4G connected. Plus, Skype was invented there. So, you're welcome.

 

A huge component of Estonia's success as a country has been their history of song. Estonians have one of the biggest collections of folk songs in the world and have been hosting an Estonian song celebration since 1869. In that first song festival, all the songs were in Estonian and Lydia Koidula assisted with preparations and fund-raising, an unusual role for a woman at the time. The 1950 song festival was during a very dark era of Soviet oppression, but the Estonian choirs maintained their history and heritage and desire for freedom, even while singing Soviet propaganda songs. I was fortunate enough to attend the Estonian Song Festival in 2014 (the event is now held every five years and is one of the largest amateur choral events in the world). I cannot possibly convey how powerful it was to be sitting in a crowd of 100,000 people listening to 30,000 voices singing together.

 

The members of this small country have been coming together to sing their traditional songs in their native language, wearing their native dress, for nearly 150 years. Estonians, by nature, are not particularly emotional people. They are rational and practical and their lives are driven by efficiency. But when it comes to song, they will sing loud and proud and with all of their heart. Through their community, they held strong, they never let go of the hope for freedom, and together, they made a remarkable Estonia.

 

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We are going through our own version of turmoil, but we also have our own version of community. Let us sing loud and proud and with all of our heart. Let us band together to stay strong and keep hold of hope. We can share, vent, laugh, ask, and scream when needed. But we'll do it together.

 

Jive Works best when we work together.