Blog

What are my hopes?

So it is the twelfth day of Christmas and time for my last post on hope.

It has been an interesting challenge and I am surprised that I was able to write 12 posts on hope as this is not a topic that I think about or talk about where often. Thanks Ed for the challenge.

So what are my hopes? That is a good question.

I hope that this will be the year, where I finally move properly to Stockholm.  I hope that I can find enough work here to live of it, so I don’t have to travel as much. I will still travel for conferences 🙂
I hope I will get better at selling my workshops. I hope that I will get better at having a balanced life and put resting into my daily routines. I hope I will find ways to gain energy.

I hope that my work and my conference talks will help people. I hope that leadership will start changing in more companies as we move towards leading people and not managing resources. I hope that more people will feel comfortable in their skin and know that they are okay just because of who they are. I hope that our workplaces will be more human and allow us to be humans. I hope that more people think about ethics in their work

I hope that the world will become a place of love, acceptance, respect, and tolerance. Where you can love who you want (provided there is consent and it is adults) – love is damn hard to find, so lets celebrate it. Where race and ethnicity are just another aspect of who we are, and not something that decides how we are treated. Where religion is people’s own business and we respect that.

Some of these hopes will be hard to fulfil, but not impossible. When I asked the people in my friend’s house “what do you think of when I say hope?”, the young man from day 3 said “hope creates opportunities” and that is so true.

When we have the hope, we also create opportunities for that hope to happen. We start looking for things that will help us, for signs that things are already happening, and we start taking steps towards these hopes. Maybe we even speak our hopes out loud. My friend Lena said yesterday that some of her good stuff only happened because she said her hopes out loud.

So with this last post on hope, I wish you well and that your hopes come true.

You are perfect with all your imperfections and you can do so much more than you think ❤️

Creating a space for hope

Eleventh day of Christmas and second to last blog on hope.
I felt really frustrated yesterday as I was pulling a blank on topics. I have struggled a bit the other days, but as soon as I found a headline, the words would just flow out of my hands…

The topic of today was suggested by my friend Arlene; we are both in a slack group, where one of our most important channels is called “Brag and appreciate”, so we can practice speaking up about the things that we do. Another is “Whining and ranting” where we can vent and get support, when we feel down. Each serves it’s own purpose 🙂

Yesterday when I was frustrated about my lack of inspiration, Arlene said, “…you holding a safe space gives hope.” and referred to one of the times, where I shared a story in the brag channel a while ago.

The story was about one of my 1-1 conversations. When I start up with a new team, I always start out with a 1-1 conversation with each team member; the main purpose is to create connection, so they feel comfortable with me – that enables me to help them better. I ask them about their background and what they think I can do for them and for the team – and that is the basically it. They can ask me whatever they want, and then we see where it goes. These conversations have lasted between 10 minutes and three hours over the course of the 4-5 years I have been doing them. The majority are short, and then sometimes there is much to be said… Or maybe the thing is that there is much to be heard. Some continue with 1-1s while I work with the team, and other just have the one. And both is good.

The brag was about how baffled I still become, when people, I have just met, show immense trust and tell me quite personal and sensitive stuff. This was after a quite emotional and sensitive talk.

The thing is that I listen and care. That is mainly what I do. It does not sound like much, but it is to some people. They may rarely have someone, who gives them their full attention and just listen to them. At least my experience is that when I listen, people speak. I hold a space, where the person can safely talk even about things that are uncomfortable.

I had to ponder a bit about how that gives hope; I guess it is because people find that space, where they are okay, where they can talk about anything, where they can be.  And when they are listened to, they see hope. Hope that they can be helped, that they can help themselves – or just hope that everything will be okay. I am actually not sure, and I never considered that I created hope; in retrospect I do see the hope in people, when I create a space. Then it does not matter what kind of hope it is.

You may also create hope for people without knowing it.

Running out of hope

It is the tenth day of Christmas and I am running out of hope. I mean topics; I am really struggling to find something today.

I can’t really run out of hope because I do not have hope for many things…

Well I hope I don’t panic tonight when I fly back to Stockholm – so much wind…

And that will be all for today. Since I lack inspiration, I will let it be, and hope for a better result for tomorrow. It feels like cheating, even if Daniel says that it is about taking care of myself. So I better do that.

The sound of hope

Ninth day of Christmas, ninth blog post.

I was struggling with finding a topic for today and asked Daniel again.

I found the suggestions that he came with somewhat silly, like “what does hope taste like or sound like?”

And then I started thinking. Does hope have a sound?

No it doesn’t; it has many sounds.

The sound of the phone ringing when you are expecting a phone call from a loved one, and hoping it is them calling.  The sound of the ring tone, when you are calling and hoping the one in the other end will pick up – or maybe not pick up if you are scared of the call. The sound of a slot machine, when you are hoping for the big win. The sound of a key in the door; of footsteps, laughter… They can all be sounds of hope.

What does hope sound like to you?

A new hope

Eight day of Christmas and the first day in 2020.

Today’s title came up a few days ago, when my friend Daniel was helping me figure out what to write about. His help was an association exercise.

  • Daniel: “Ok hope is green, what do you think about when I say green?”
  • Me: “Yoda”
  • Daniel: “What does Yoda have to do with hope?”
  • Me: “A new hope”
  • Daniel: “And what was the learning of the movie?”
  • Me: “Damn it, I can’t remember; I am a bad geek”

And so I did not use it, but the title seemed perfect for today. We have started a new year, and with a new year come new hope. Many people use this time as a way to start over or to start or stop something: the all-famous New Year’s resolutions.

Most resolutions fail like in this great cartoon by Lunarbaboon; maybe because we set way too ambitious goals? Maybe because we have “should” goals instead of “what” goals? Maybe because we do not plan them?

I am not sure, and most likely it differs from person to person.

I think the goal being to big and us wanting to achieve it too fast plays a big part, so maybe we should stop making goals and make visions instead? And then do the smallest step that will take us in that direction? At least it is worth a shot 🙂

Helping hope along

Seventh day of Christmas and the last day of the year 🙂

While slowly getting ready to dress up and celebrate the transition to next year, I will write the last post of this year.

Today’s topic is suggested by Karina, who is the big sister of my oldest friend, and my chosen family 🙂

Interesting enough it reminded me of the great keynote by Stephan Kämper about luck – and helping luck along 🙂

You can always hope for something, but hoping is not always enough to make things happen.  Hope can be helped along by actions – big or small.

As I wrote about yesterday, we have been helping hope along throughout the ages by sacrificing so that the gods would grant us our wishes – in whatever forms those gods or deities were.

The hopes we have today are mostly not about the same things – though in some cases they are. Farmers hope for good weather and great crops; potential parents hope for fertility so they can have the children, they long for. And they help the hopes along. The farmers fertilize the crops, water them, weed, cut of branches of trees so the rest can grow even better fruits, look at weather forecasts etc etc. The potential parents may measure ovulation cycles, if they struggle to get pregnant, or they might get help from our medical systems (which in my part of the world to some extend is free).

We also have different hopes today: maybe we hope to find a new job, to win the lottery, to lose weight, to make that discovery in science that will make us famous, that the earth will become a better place.

All those hopes are great, and they will not happen unless we do something. We will never win the lottery if we don’t buy a ticket; we will not make a discovery unless we put in work; we will not make the world a better place unless we do something about it.

What does it take to make the world a better place?

Well that depends on your definition of a better place; just remember that it is okay to do small things as well 🙂

Recycling can help the environment, smiling at someone can help a lonely person, giving a lift can make someone’s life easier, knitting socks can help homeless people… There are plenty of options to make the world a better place if we take the actions.

Remember:

If we all do things that matter little to us and a lot to someone else, we can make the world a better place

Me at age 9

Happy new year to you and all your loved ones. Let us help our hopes along so they may come true.

Hope and sacrifice

Sixth day of Christmas – and today it was hard to find a topic; I have been surprised about how easy it was the other days.

After some contemplation I realised that I had been reading about hope many times today. I went to Moesgaard Museum today with two 18-year olds; it is a marvellous museum that has great exhibitions – not only do they have the items of the past, they also tell stories that make the things come alive. If you are ever in Århus, I recommend going.

First we went to the special exhibition on Pompeji and Herculaneum that were destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvio in AD79, and hope was everywhere. Hopes that were about the disaster: The hope of escape, the ship that was sent out in hope of being able to save the people, the hope of protection your kids. All hopes that were not fulfilled as people died on the spot from burns, toxic gases, or ashes… And there was the hope of the daily lives: the baker’s hope of becoming a mayor in the city, or the hope of fertility of the land and the loins, which was helped along by having phallus around the house… Something you would not see today 🙂

As we moved through the exhibitions of the first humans in Denmark, of the first farmers, Vikings, bog man from the Iron Age, there were elements of hope everywhere. There were tales of sacrifices in the hope of better future, better crops, better health, better luck in war; sacrifices of food, people, dogs, pots, necklaces, weapons… the list goes on and on… Did it work? We will never know; all we know is that people in many ages throughout history made sacrifices to gain hope…

I wonder if we do that today. And if we do, what do we sacrifice? Time with loved ones in hope of a better career? Time in hope of money? Career? A better lifestyle?

What do you sacrifice? And is it worth the hope you gain?

Removing hope

Fifth day of Christmas and still going strong. Well maybe not strong, but at least I am sticking to producing a blog post about hope every day. So far is has worked out that I got inspiration somehow during the day. And though the posts may not be profound, I still hope that they will cause some reflection and contemplation.

Today it will be about removing hope.

The inspiration came as I was going through my expenses. For several years I have supported a bunch of charities with money every month no matter what my financial situation was. I have come to realise that I will not be able to help everyone and that some of the charities are closer to my heart than others.

But it pains me. I know that some of the charities are really struggling and they need the support. And as I was looking for email addresses to tell the organisations that I will no longer support them, I look at the messages saying how supporting them creates hope for people. Which makes me feel like I am now removing hope, and that gives me a knot in the stomach. I am removing hope from bullied kids, sick kids, people in need.

That sucks. I also know that I have helped them over the years and that I can use the money to help in other places. I gave up supporting hospital clowns, Folkekirkens nødhjælp, and julemærkehjem. All really great causes – as many charities are.

I kept two charities:

  • “Verdens skove” (World’s forests) that helps protect and grow forests and vegetation in Denmark and abroad. Originally they helped only in the rain forest, but now they also help locally.
  • And TUBA – terapi til unge og børn af alkoholikere (Therapy for young and children of alcoholics); this therapy is not covered by the state and I know from experience how much that is needed, so this is personal to me.

I have the same problem, when it comes to helping people: I find it extremely hard to say no to people, if I know that I can help them, that I can make them feel better about themselves, that I can listen, that I can give them hope. And yet I must learn to say no to some.

I can’t help everyone, so all I can do is hope someone else will help where I cannot.

Is there room for hope?

Fourth day of Christmas and it is not getting easier to find topics 🙂

As I was packing one of my suitcases, my friend came by and said: “I think you should write about hoping to have room for things”, so I will give that a shot.

She was off course saying this, because I was trying to fit in my new dinosaur, other Christmas gifts and some kitchen stuff from my storage in Denmark. And yes I was hoping that it would all fit. Just as I am hoping that I can make all my things fit in my apartment in Stockholm. It is fairly small and I have a bunch of stuff despite getting rid of a lot the last few years.

It also got me thinking: do we leave room for hope in our lives?

As I wrote the other day, I am not very good at having hopes for myself; I am so much better at helping others finding new hope. So I am not good at leaving room for it.

But what about other people? Do they leave room for hope in their lives? Or do they just go on their way? Do what they are supposed to do? Get caught up in the daily life?

I don’t  know.

Do you leave room in your life for hope?

Sharing hope

Third day of Christmas and my third blog post.

Today I have been contemplating about sharing hope.

I had a conversation with an 18-year old boy, who is struggling with not feeling good enough always, feeling like he is the one doing everything wrong, and trying not to be in the way. In short many of the things I have been struggling with when I was younger… And sometimes still struggle with.

So I told parts of my story; how my mom could make me feel like the worst person even when I logically knew that I was not the one at fault. I talked about how I felt relieved when my mom died. Despite not having seen her the last six years of her life, I felt like a burden was lifted from my shoulders; I never had to be afraid of her again.

I almost lost my sister then; because unlike me she felt huge sorrow and our different reactions almost drove us apart. I am glad that it didn’t.

“So what does this have to do with sharing hope?”, you might think.

I am glad you asked 🙂

By sharing my stories, how I suffered, how I evolved, and where I am now, I gave this young man hope. Hope that one day he can feel differently; that one day he can be the success that he sees me as.

So share your stories; you never know who needs to hear it.