Some reflections

Cohen RIP, Vimentis VIP, Empathy and world politics. High and low. This week has triggered quite a number of reflections. I’d like to share a few of them.IMG_3602

Personal transformation

I spent my Wednesday at Vimentis VIP event in Gothenburg. A day well spent in meeting interesting people, being inspired and challenging my own comfort zone.

I attended the first meeting the first week after my company really started. I reflected about how I felt about sales, pitching and all of that now and back then. Wow! What a difference. I haven’t realised how much taking a leap into the unknown and starting Unicornsulting is doing for my self-confidence.

Let your light shine through

I feel more humbled about the struggles of starting your own business at the same time that I feel more in harmony working for my own goals and that it is difficult to understand what you really do and why. I find it easier to accept myself as I am with all flaws and cracks and weirdness. To quote the fantastic musician/poet/philosopher Leonard Cohen, who sadly passed away today:

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in”

I think that it is truly beautiful, and I would like to build on it. This is how I aspire to see myself and my fellow human and non-human beings:

There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets out.

I think of it as every person carries a light deep within themselves, which is often veiled or clouded for the person her or himself. I mean every single person.

I find perfection boring. Perfection is not letting your light come through. Perfection is not letting your guard down. Life is not a fight. We can not build a better world if we fight. So when we acknowledge our cracks, our imperfections that is when the light shines through. It can be a very powerful light, that is why we are afraid of it. We are afraid of what we really are capable of.

Olle, a wonderful friend and marvellous being that lights up my universe, wrote the following in the light of the US presidential election on his Facebook page:

“If Donald Trump can win the presidential election, imagine the kinds of shenanigans you will be able to pull off.

Time to get real! A new world of crazy opportunities are opening up. This is a sign. Do all the weird things.”

Indeed! It is time to get past shame, law of jante, search for perfection etc and dig deep in order to let your weirdness shine through in all its glory.

One year ago

Starting Unicornsulting is the best investment in my own personal development that I’ve ever made. I have so much to thank my wonderful partner in life for encouraging me to take this leap. One year ago I had the job that I dreamed of four years ago. I remember sitting at Haket at Första Långgatan, looking at the Ericsson building across the water and saying: ”One day I will be innovation leader and head of innovation for Ericsson in Gothenburg”. Two years later that came true. I have learned so much during the two years as innovation driver for Ericsson Gothenburg.

One thing has changed dramatically since I started Unicornsulting. One year ago I had to take Losec 2-3 times per week in order to handle stress related symptoms. The amount of Losec that I’ve needed the past three months: Zero!

My stress level is much lower and my ability to reflect and engage myself is much higher. I feel so grateful for this.

Vimentis VIP and crafting my pitch

Let’s get back to Vimentis VIP. Besides very interesting presentations we had a good exercise in crafting and delivering a story based pitch. Definitely outside the comfort zone, but very helpful.

The following thing emerged from that session that almost took me by surprise:

When I was in my twenties, I worked with technology for the sake of technology.
In my thirties, I worked with technology for people.
Since five years back I work with people for people.

The sharp observer might see that working with people for technology is missing. I did that for a short while. I don’t mean serving our robotic overlords, but working with people to develop technology. However, I found technology as a goal not sufficient for me.

I realised what I want to achieve with Unicornsulting is surprisingly simple.

The purpose of Unicornsulting

Why does Unicornsulting exist? Simply put:
To help people and organisations blossom.

How to achieve that?
By planting seeds and help ease growing pains.

What does that mean?

Helping understand the current culture and providing advice and counsel around leadership and culture of innovation. Giving presentations to spark discussions and design and facilitate workshops to identify and shape the culture.

There! Simon Sinek would be proud of me =). If you ask yourself who Simon Sinek is, then pass go don’t collect any money and and watch his famous TED talk about How great leaders inspire action.
29 million people can’t be wrong, right?!

The US presidential election

After the presidential election earlier this week quite a lot of people are thinking that how can almost 60 million people be wrong voting for Trump (or alternatively a little bit more than 60 million people be wrong voting for Clinton).

There are a lot of people analyzing and in some cases blaming different groups for how this could happen.  I won’t do that. I think that the reasons are very complex and I believe that there is a solution. Not an easy solution. A very difficult solution. You might see that I have a hammer and the world is full of nails, but please bare with me.

From my perspective Trump as president and Brexit positions the board for a what I see as a very dangerous upcoming Swedish election in two years. I think that there is a legitimate risk that an authoritarian, populistic party might get a strong influence over Swedish politics. I believe that it will happen if we don’t start to listen and seek to understand.

Simple analysis and simple actions is not going to solve the problem. Stop categorizing people. Engage in discussions and try to understand different points of view. Acknowledge that you and others are experiencing fear and don’t dismiss it.

Empathy

I believe the way forward (again look I have a hammer and the world is full of nails) is empathy. Set aside your own view on the world and be curious of how people with different beliefs see the world. Understand the fears and then bring it up on the table and shine some light on it and evaluate if the fear is based on any real danger.

The urge to categorize people is human. In a simpler society it was even a survival instinct to be able to differentiate between friend or foe. In our globally connected society, I believe that this has transformed into one of the greatest threats to humanity. So I would encourage you not to think in terms of labels regardless if it is racist, anti-racist, social justice warriors, idiots, nitwits etc. You get the point. I would urge to call out and criticize actions that are harmful to others without putting a label on them.

Empathy. I do believe that it is the key, or maybe hammer.
Oh hai, nail! Nice to meet you =).

Giraffes and Peace Innovation Lab

The good old giraffe language and Non-violent communication might come in very handy. Try to talk to someone that don’t share your view and try to understand.

Days like these triggers the urge to set up a Stanford Peace Innovation lab in Gothenburg. If you are interested, please reach out to me.

Peace, love and understanding.
Please, can’t we just try that route for once?!

/Kalle

Three things that I am grateful for today:

  1. Wonderful muscle pain after a good iaijutsu (the art of sword fighting) training session yesterday.
  2. For all Leonard Cohen’s songs.
  3. That I see me as a beginner in life.
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