Five inspiring thoughts to kickstart 2022
9 February 2022 at 5:15 pm
Mike Davis, chief podcaster at Humans of Purpose, reflects on some of his favourite interviews and shares five inspiring takeaways he learnt along the way.
A quote that really blew me away in its simplicity and instructiveness over the holiday break was: “Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are.” – Jose Ortega Y Gasset. It’s amazing how a short sentence can help you everyday in arranging your life with focus for better outcomes.
So I ask you in my first Pro Bono News piece of 2022 – what are the things you choose to pay attention to? No need to reply here. Just contemplate this, let it sit with you for a while and see what comes up.
I’m a lucky guy. Each week, through my podcast Humans of Purpose, I choose to pay attention for a few hours to the lives of inspiring people who are having a major social impact through their purpose-driven work. In doing so, I elevate my hopes, dreams and aspirations for a better future.
As a result, I become more positive, more future-focused and more pragmatic about what can and should be done. Doing this for a couple of years and over 230 episodes puts it about 1,000 hours, or 41 full days of my life so far. All I can say is that this is what I or Tristan Harris would refer to as “time well spent”. Bring on the next 41 days!
The point of this is to say that I’ve heard some amazing things from some truly inspiring people that have helped me each and every day. I’m going to share some of them with you here and what they meant to me.
1. Phoebe Gardner
About: Gardner is the co-founder and CEO of Bardee. Bardee is reshaping the global food system by transforming food waste into protein, oil and organic fertiliser with insects.
Key thought: “We think about culture so much at Bardee and that really comes from a values lens. We’ve got three values at Bardee. I spoke about one before, which was accountability to nature. The other two are speed with integrity, which really speaks to the essence of being a startup, particularly in the areas we operate in. And then the final one is to live passionately, be formidable. And that speaks to the kind of people that we look to be on the journey with.”
My reflection: Values are vitally important in shaping culture and should not be overlooked. However, they must be powerful, clear and compelling and speak to action to be useful. This will ensure you attract the right people.
2. Frankie Layton
About: Layton is the founder of The Dirt Company. Basically, Layton and the team at The Dirt Company make laundry products that are stylish, make your clothes smell and look great, and leave you feeling far better about the impact you’ve had on the planet.
Key thought: “I guess it’s probably because we started from the platform. I mean, we say our purpose is, ‘do less harm, or make products that do less harm’. That feels like an extraordinarily authentic place for us to start. Because if you do have a product, you do, do harm. I mean, if you do exist, you do, do harm, you have an impact in the world. And so our mission or our purpose has always been about just doing incrementally less harm along the way and finding the best solution possible.”
My reflection: Good planning starts with having a clear shared purpose for your organisation. Without it, you will easily fall out of alignment with your why and what you set out to achieve.
3. Krystian Seibert
About: Seibert wears many hats as a researcher, educator, advocate and non executive director. He is an industry fellow at the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of Technology. He is also an advisor to Philanthropy Australia and the chair of Mental Health First Aid Australia.
Key thought: “And then I just every so often… sort of say, ‘Community service announcement, let’s just be polite and respectful, kinder to one another’. And yeah, my rule is that I don’t say anything on Twitter that I wouldn’t say to somebody in person.”
My reflection: Seibert reminds us whether on social media, online or in person, when we are communicating to do so with politeness, respect and kindness. This should always be our starting position when communicating with anyone in or outside our orbit. On social media, we should always remember to communicate from a place of empathy and understanding.
4. Katherine Boiciuc
About: Boiciuc is a futurist, technologist and an imagineer. She is chief technology officer and director at Maximus, focusing on supporting leaders to adapt and grow through embracing disruption, experimentation with new technology and ensuring new ways of leading are embedded in daily practice.
Key thought: “So I look at their understanding of technology because I think all executive roles within the next decade will be leading a form of technology for the organisation. It’s no longer the role of the CTO. I look for their ability to curate and partner and manage ecosystems. So I think that the boundaries of organisations are going to continue to be blurred, and you’re going to see more and more partnerships and ecosystem partnership agreements emerge, particularly as we are talking about the collapsing of the value chain. Leaders that are trusted and have a great ability to network are going to be successful in that type of environment.”
My reflection: Technology and getting better at navigating it and using it to good effect is everyone’s responsibility. Also, a big part of current and future leadership will be understanding and navigating various ecosystems, which will require strong relationship building skills, networking skills and most important the ability to build trust.
5. Andre Eckmeier
About: Eckmeier is the founder of Good Empire, a platform to unite and empower a global community to live more purposeful, connected and impactful lives. The future state here is to create a more equal, abundant and sustainable world.
Key thought: “We definitely didn’t come up with this brilliant idea from the start. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, I reckon. I spent a year or so just consulting to organisations just to learn and to make a bit of money, and just trying to get organisations to find a truth in a purpose, and then build that through the culture and branding they’re offering. I spent about a year doing that, but I’m a terrible consultant. But it was a learning… it was like that’s when I discovered… I guess I just walked into this space. I was like, ‘Hey. Hi, I’m here. I know nothing. I come without ego. I just want to learn what is happening in the world’.”
My reflection: Andre’s enterprising and adventurous spirit pushed him outside his comfort zone and he executed his research journey with humility, curiosity and open-mindedness. We could all think about approaching new and exciting opportunities with this humble, learning spirit that echoes the mindfulness concept of “beginner’s mind”.
I look forward to bringing you many more weekly conversations and insights from our community of purpose-driven leaders. The lessons from today are:
- Values matter and must speak to the behaviours and people you want to see in your organisation.
- Having a strong shared purpose will help you decide what is in and out of scope for you and/or your organisation.
- We must connect and communicate from a position of empathy and understanding and listen openly to others.
- Technology is everyone’s business and navigating multiple ecosystems is the next big leadership challenge.
- Growth means stepping outside of your comfort zone with humility and curiosity and learning from different contexts.