2021 – what we’ve learned

 

My intimate insight and wishes for all of us in the year 2022

I know, I know… Not all of you are fans of long texts. But somehow, with last year’s reflection I unleashed my internal wish to share my naïve, optimistic, wishful thoughts with the world. At least on the transition to the new year. I don’t post much during the year, so you, dear reader, can count that this will not happen every day.

We’ve now entered the year 2022 and when I was thinking of what I want for my loved ones and the world, of course I read my last year’s writing first. And not many things changed. They just got emphasized and are now even more relevant.

After a hard, unpredictable and crazy 2020, 2021 showed how adoptable and persistent we really are. If there is one word that I would like to expose in these times and was present throughout the entire year among most of the people I socialise and / or work with is … Courage. Many embraced the future that came sooner and went on their own paths. Or, within a company, they dared to do a project that would be considered a waste of time and money before but now they surely see the necessity to innovate, change, try something new, different, out of the regular scope.

The world we live in demands it. If in innovation spheres we were saying this for years and years, now everyone knows it is true: change is the only constant thing in our lives. And we started to embrace and build up on this state. Showing more courage than ever. Sure, we’ll need much more in the upcoming times but, as my other word is, together! We can cope with everything.

So, from the year of turbulent change, loss, pain, chaos and insecurity we marched into the times as they are, equipped with likeminded people, trust, determination and courage.

And boy, we’ll need a lot of determination and courage to, not only address, but react to the destruction we are bringing upon ourselves. The way we live and act is destined to fail as it is. Hurting our planet and hurting ourselves is still the silver lining of everything that is going on in the world. I wished I’d say all my last year’s wishes came true and we now live in a peaceful, symbiotic place. Of course not. We’re more divided than ever, time flies faster than ever, our beautiful planet is in bigger trouble than ever. Yes, the good thing is, we’re now really aware of it. I hope so. I wish.  If in 2020 we were still convincing the unconvinced, today at least we all acknowledge the issues that we have. And in my world, this is already a very important step. Now, we can really react and get in action. We were forced into changing our habits and in some small steps we can already see it.

There has never been more innovation in the green field. Never more innovation, startups, organisations growing AND! Being financially backed in the field of social, impact entrepreneurship. Finally, we’re starting to realise, digitalisation is here to make our lives easier, not make us slaves of our own agendas. Speaking of, there has also never been a higher awareness and wish to reconnect with self. Finding the balance again. Oh yes, this also means maybe spending less time on social media and more being present here and now. Truly present. But this takes a little bit of personal determination and a desire as well. Each in his / her own time and pace I say. But all of this reflects on a better foundation for the future. We all know (if we admit it loudly or not) we desperately need a new system/organisation, a new way we run things. With open eyes and open hearts. No more only scratching the surface through social media posts can put us on the right path. But deep drill down into issues, bringing them to the light in a very analytical way. We need to step off the “instant fact” train, take a deep breath, think and … start walking again. In all the senses possible.

I wrote about changing habits already last year. But this still remains in the “epicentre” of things. First, we need to want to change. And I do hope that the wish is present in more people than just my personal circle that is motivating me for more. We need a collective awareness and support to really start doing things differently. And we know that wish to change comes from a sense of emergency. I do hope we all know now there is a big emergency already. So, why wait! Do it now! With the support of like minded people it is even easier!

Not just the changes for a better tomorrow but also what you have on your bucket list. Life is fragile, finite, you shouldn’t postpone your wishes to “when I’ll have time” or “saving for the future”. No, make and take time now. Prioritise your activities in the way that you’re on the priority list as well. And your loved ones. Don’t postpone and later live with regrets… Be here and now and live now – for yourself and your loved ones.

A lot of thoughts up there, ha? I know…It was 11 pages before I shortened it to this version. And I do appreciate you still reading this 😊 If I’d have to make a structured recap of my wishes for all of you while the new year is already starting?

Light, a lot of light and hope. Magic…. Kindness … Courage ….And so much more… And this is why I’ll continue to write and you to read – hopefully 😊 But you can as well just go through the bolded parts 😊

  1. Be bold, courageous – challenging times demand it. But…  stepping out of the comfort zone does something magical to us. We see that we can do so much more than we thought. Yes, there will be obstacles, challenges, moments when you just want to give up. But always remember the feeling when you did something for the first time. That amazing feeling of “whoa, I did this”. Let this lead you and help you embrace everything ahead of you. A whole new palette of opportunities pops up when we decide not to be afraid of new situations, things, experiences anymore. Do something for the first time more often 😊
  1. Differences – embrace them. The time is full of dividing people one way or another. Our world is beautiful because we are different. Our lives are richer because we are different. Respect and acknowledge this. There is no need to take them all into your life but try to understand and let them be. Yes, point out the wrongdoings and negative differences. But please keep a respectful tone.
  1. Be kind, do good, impact – selflessly. You know how every one of us likes to be treated with respect, kindness, and be noticed,… ? Truly treat other living beings (yes, animals as well!) like you wish to be treated. That mile in another person’s shoe can do magic in your perspective. Don’t wait for others to do good and be kind. Be proactive in it and show a good example. There is just too much aggression and wrongful doings against human beings and animals that it pains us to read the news. We’re all responsible for this and we have the power to turn things around. Help and support the local charity, see if you can do something for the local animal. Is there an organisation that helps the elderly? There is so much need and not all of it is in money. You can do soooo much by just dedicating some time and spread awareness. And do good all year around. Open your eyes, open your heart. You have the power to be kind, to do good. Use it!
  1. Listen – really listen. You’ll see the beauty of reaction from the person that was really heard. We’re in so much hurry all the time that we don’t know how to listen anymore. This goes hand in hand with being present, there and then. If you take time to talk to a person, do that. Effort of listening to what is said and not waiting your turn to speak. I just adore this quote by David Augsburger “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” Hint for all the business people reading this: active listening (listening with a purpose to understand) is by all recent research one of the 3 most important skills for tomorrow. So, yes – listen!
  1. Ask more, don’t assume – after listening, asking has the perfect spot 😊. Now that you’re focusing on really listening, you’re ready to ask more 😊 We make so many assumptions every day that we’re not even aware of them. But… with making assumptions we’re drawing conclusions that are more often not correct and can lead to a lot of miscommunications. A lot of stress comes out of assuming. Even more when you need to solve the issue. Just take time and ask. And then listen 😊
  1. Learn – whatever happens, take it as a learning moment. We live in a world where knowledge has never been more accessible. Use this time! Read books, listen to podcasts, .. and share your knowledge. I’ll repeat one thing from last year cause ..well, I’m repeating it quite often 😊 Be self- critical If you are the smartest in the room, don’t get too comfortable… find a new room where you’ll again learn more and more from smarter people… Learning new things and sharing them with your loved ones and friends is just amazing.
  1. Mentor and inspire – this one is so interconnected with all the other above. When you learn, do good, take care of others and spread love and joy, well, you’re living your life to the fullest. And even if you’re not aware of it, you do inspire. Even if just one person. Inspiration is contagious and it spreads … And you get inspired in return…It is easy as that. There are so many people, startups, entrepreneurs,… that could benefit from your knowledge and energy. Reach out to them. No words can describe the feeling of mentoring and inspiring others.
  1. Innovate and regenerate yourself and your business – this one is a call to action to all the business owners. Honestly, individuals as well. We’re in era where all indicators show we’ve hit the wall with “business as usual”. In order to address the challenging future with climate change, social necessity and new order, we’ll have to innovate as probably never before. And transform our businesses dramatically, also in the way we see and make profit. Innovation is in the core of every next step we have to take. And if you’re not innovating in the way of greener products, services, if climate is not in the centre of your transformation…. Guess what, you’re already lagging behind. More and more consumers, your end customers are becoming “origin” sensitive in the way that it is important for them that the product was produced somewhere close, in an eco-friendly way, wasn’t tested on animals and it is vegan. More and more. And the new generations are also very vocal about it. If 2020 was a year when everyone was saying we should reinvent ourselves around the environment and living beings, more and more companies are fully transforming in that direction. And individuals? Yes, changing our habits in what we eat, how much we really need to buy, how and how much we travel, … our individual habits are also forcing the change. Not only “political” agendas and initiatives. The pressure and the need is here. Climate disasters are here. Not even knocking anymore but entered already. It is our duty to fully engage in innovation and new, regenerative business models. Keep in mind – this is a field of vast opportunities. Don’t look at it as a cost making “troublemaker” but as an innovation for good, where totally new business opportunities lie. We’re not doing innovation anymore without considering the wider impact. And business, of course. Confused? This is the only “selling” moment in my wishes for 2022…. We can help you with that because…well, this is what Transformation Lighthouse does 😊
  1. Circulate – this one I’ll just repeat from last year since the need is bigger but also options and opportunities. I was inspired a couple of years ago by the mission of Circular Change and their leader Ladeja Godina Košir and by a local charity: Someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure. Remember when we were kids and we were sharing clothes toys with brothers, sisters, cousins and then giving it further to friends? I still wear a summer shirt that my uncle had when he was teenager! In reality, we don’t need that much and especially don’t need to have everything new. Let’s renew the fun cloth exchange with our family and friends. Let’s circulate more, recycle more and buy less. And when we do buy, let’s see what is there from your local artists, craftsmen, producers. We can do so much for our local businesses and for ecology by just circulating a bit more. And don’t throw anything away. Your local charities will make the best use of your used pans and pants. 
  1. Connect and co-create – with the above innovation in mind, the moment to stress out the importance of my “together” has come. We’ve never been more connected (if we wanted to be) and more knowledge available. Let’s use it and connect and co-create the innovative new future, where we can all have lives we deserve. Animals included. Let’s connect even more, co-create even more and grow together even more. Network on the events, talk to new people. Use all those lovely white boards that you all have. Use virtual collaboration tools and… just start. Opportunities are everywhere and more eyes, ears see and hear more, know more. Did I really have to say that? Yes, because somehow we tend to forget.
  1. Love – for yourself as well!! Spread it, live it, believe in it. No one is ever truly alone. Trust me on this one. Love whom it should come. Love just is, when you open yourself, open your heart to the world. Don’t let sad, negative experiences close you to self, to others. I might sound naïve but these are my learnings that I got walking through a lot of rough and unpleasant paths. But I always believed. I choose to see people from their good side. Show and express gratitude to the ones sticking by you through the good and bad. Do it now. No, I mean it. You just read this line, now take a minute and write a sms, text, mail to someone you really appreciate but somehow you take this for granted and don’t express it often enough. No better time than now.
  1. Laugh and play – oh we can do so much when we really love what we do with the people we love in the environment where we feel good. Doing new, out of the box steps seems just like a game. When we play, we forget about boundaries and we’re simply creative and open to wherever the game leads us. Don’t just play with your kids. Having fun and playing is as reserved for grownups as it is for the kids. And you know all those sayings about the healing powers of laughter? There is another one by Victor Borge “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people”. Play and laugh and the distances between us will be smaller.
  1. Grow – when you’re open for change, when you reflect on your day and recognize lessons learned you always grow. And again, all my wishes for 2022 are growth oriented, personal, team and business.

I warned you I’ll make you read more than usual. But when I start writing and putting down my thoughts for us all, I just can not stop. I’ll always be that naïve optimist in the room with a big pessimist’s foundation. As in a beauty competition, say: I do want our world to be a better place. I’m aware it is hard work, but I know together we can make it. Together. By starting now – not tomorrow.

In the spirit of new year’s resolutions – don’t make huge lists, just “attack” each item at the time it appears on your list. Don’t wait for the new year’s resolutions and then forget about it. Act now, live now, play now, love now. No better time than the present.

To conclude, I have to express my deepest gratitude and love for my amazing, mind-blowing team that is sticking with me through all the times. And constantly challenging me. Which I really love.  Martin, Anastasia, Sabina, Yulia, Giacomo, Tanja, Robi B&I (you know who you are) you’re all my light so that I can endure every challenging day passing my way. And my dearest EDG family: Herman, Jan, Lisa and Damir, for showing me that there are no boundaries possible when you connect with your heart and mind.

These past years connected us and brought us closer than ever to so many I’d love to thank from the bottom of my heart as well. And the new virtual friends. It is because of all of you I keep learning, growing and becoming a better version of myself.

And because of all of you I know we can make it. Change is difficult. But we’re never on that path alone!

The Transformation Lighthouse team wishes all of you a year of health, prosperity and growth. Live life, take chances. This year is perfect for going from words to action. With lots of love for everyone. And we’ll continue to shine our transformative light on all of you.

Urška Jež

Founder & CEO of Transformation Lighthouse