#TerritoryFriends pt. 1: Self-Awareness and Purposeful Leadership

Last week we started our #territoryfriends series on friendship. We talked about collaborations we admire and people who have shaped The New Territory.

The New Territory is making plans to use the friendships we’ve made in the past 2.5 years to build some beautiful things: a bigger team, more events, maybe just maybe a robust and regular print schedule.

I hope this post will speak to folks who would have fun joining us.

How will you know if you belong with The New Territory (or really any other community)?

The first question is, how well do you know yourself?

“We must be our own before we can be another’s,” Emerson wrote in his essay on friendship. Self-awareness is essential to good leadership and lasting friendship. It helps you discern that this person I just met is going to be my friend for life. Self-awareness also exposes, over time, your similarities to potential collaborators (even if appearances might say otherwise). Essentially, self-awareness can help you say “no” to projects that don’t align with your vision—and “yes” to those that do!
“We must be our own before we can be another’s.”
Our best relationships are built on a shared purpose, rather than building a resume or gaining fame. As Les McKeown writes in Do: Lead, “The heart of transformational leadership is funnelling consistency of purpose to add value to the work of others.” We believe everyone can be leaders, and we want to provide platforms for adventurous, creative people to lead others toward joyful lives here in the Lower Midwest.

Here’s what our best friends share:


1. We each see a path for how we want to live our lives

It’s not that each person on our team has the exact same goals in life—far from it!

But we know ourselves well enough to understand how we can add to and gain from The New Territory.

And now that The New Territory has defined its voice and found a flow to the way it does business, the magazine as an entity is self-aware enough to see where we can best serve our community and the individuals who work for us.

For instance:

  • an ambitious, hard-working student in their last months of college, looking for a remote internship that will give them real experience in the publishing industry. We were lucky to have a couple of those this summer!
  • a writer who loves our place-based mission and wants to build editing skills for additional freelance income; we can connect you with pieces to edit so you can gain that experience!
  • a process-driven, planning type who doesn’t know a semicolon from a comma but would love to get more people connected to their environment
  • a creative person who works in traditional office jobs by day and stretches their creative muscles by night!
  • a person invested in the vitality of Lower Midwest nature and culture who helps us pay journalists, writers and artists. That could be through subscribing, becoming a platemaster, or leveraging their business to sponsor our work.
Tina, Katie and Sara planning our first issue. Photo by Madeline Stanley.

Original founding editors planning our first issue. Photo by Madeline Stanley.

2. We value our sense of place in the Lower Midwest

Our readers and contributors share affection and fascination for the Midwest, almost as an extension of their self-awareness.

As Kate wrote in last month’s Hippocampus, “I hike across the border into Arkansas, and then back over, pressing the boundaries and testing their elasticity. I have to know what is Oklahoma, and what is not.”

I’ll never know everything about The Midwest. It’s a constantly changing landscape of people and possibilities. But if I show up with passion for the northern Ozarks, and Sara teaches me about the land around Peoria, and Katie knows the Niobrara River valley, Canyon, Texas, and all that space in between, then we’re getting somewhere with this regional knowledge-sharing. And that makes our publication stronger.

3. We model what we want in the world 

This takes point #1 beyond the personal and into your community.

For us, the act of publishing a Lower Midwest magazine is our contribution to a more peaceful and beautiful world.

We pour all our energy into editing each magazine, as an act of service as much for contributors as readers. We also love sharing gift subscriptions to nonprofit fundraisers. We hope to share more as time goes on, through events and other avenues.

You probably create your own version of a great life in your home, work and personal projects. Maybe you don’t see a way of working with The New Territory right now, but know that reading our book, displaying it on your coffee table and telling people about the magazine is in itself an act of modeling the world you want. You’re our kind of friend.

4. We diverge, and it’s beautiful

Yes, our team and readers unite over deep understanding of the Lower Midwest. But we get excited about all kinds of things!

For instance, while Kate was in Oklahoma, she volunteered for a pit bull rescue team and co-created The Conversation Workshops. Bryce is hosting a podcast of deep conversations about motivation and self-improvement. When I see them invest in their own passions I want to do more of my own.

It’s like Maria Popova writes on Brain Pickings: “…Friendship affords us a more dimensional way of looking at ourselves and at the world, thus enhancing our understanding of the meaning of life.” If The New Territory is going to deepen understanding and love for the Lower Midwest, we’ll create it alongside friends that will inspire and challenge us.


Can we be friends?

Again, The New Territory is making plans to build a bigger team, get our business on track and attend and host more events with partners. We need all kinds of leaders—visionaries, operators, processors and synergists—to make it happen. The details will depend on who shows up and does the work.

If this sounds like your kind of people, let’s start a conversation!

Email me at tina[at]newterritorymag.com to see if our paths might align or sign up for our newsletter to get a glimpse of what our team talks about each week.


Tina Casagrand
Tina Casagrand
Tina Casagrand is the publisher of The New Territory magazine, a student of the indie print magazine business, and 8th generation Missourian hell-bent on finding and sharing new possibilities for meaningful life in the Midwest. You can email her at tina[at]newterritorymag.com or tweet to @gasconader.

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