I wake up with a lump in my stomach.
I feel worried and anxious about everything terrible happening in the world.
- The IPCC report states that our work with the climate is not going fast enough
- The terrible war in Ukraine – the suffering of so many people…
- The development around gender equality – goes backward rather than forwards.
It seems that wherever I turn, I’m overwhelmed by the enormous amount of strife and suffering that is going on around us.
I believe many people are disappointed with the current state of the world which can lead to rather intense despair when we think about how big the mess is and how little we can personally do to change it all.
Do you also feel a certain amount of despair, worry, or even anxiety?
Cause, when thinking about it, I realise that my work is very meaningful and I realise surrounding myself with people who day by day, step by step make a difference through their work and create a world we all want to live in.
The thing is, you and I may not be almighty beings who can change the whole world for the better just by snapping our fingers, but we can make big changes within ourselves and thereby begin to influence.
I believe we all have the power within ourselves to make a difference! You have all that in yourself. You have the power in you, to make a difference! We all have that. If we want to.
Let me explain a little bit deeper;
My work is about impacting people and companies to become more profitable by working with sustainability, diversity & inclusion and there is a domino effect that happens.
Because my work impacts my clients, my family, and my friends, and this, in turn, impacts their clients, family, and friends.
So you see, your impact creates a ripple effect and you end up basically impacting the whole world!
Where do I get started?
I would like to mention 7 different ways you, as an individual, can change the world for the better while also questioning the norms.
But first, what does it mean to question norms?
‘Norms’ are everything we’re culturally conditioned to believe as normal, yet nothing about culture, gender, or history is ‘normal’. It’s all made up by humans, so we need to keep this in mind when talking about a certain ideology, a historical moment, and so on.
We make snap judgments and assumptions about others based upon learned behaviors, media affecting us, and biases that are so established in our system that we breathe them in like air without even realizing it. Today’s society holds a great deal of bias, known and unknown. These stigmas and norms have become so automatic that sometimes we forget to stop in our everyday lives and ask ourselves an important question: do these stigmas actually feel right?
As an example, as raised in heteronormative cultures, when we hear the word ‘couple’, most of us will automatically visualize a man and a woman. And it’s here that we need to stop ourselves, realize that actually, a couple can look very different and that ‘man+woman’ doesn’t need to be the default. We then need to start normalizing different associations with concepts that we might have preconceptions about.
It’s from within us that we start the transformation that will help battle institutionalized discrimination and battle against the norm.
So my first advice is to
1. Be kind
This seems like a simple thing, but it’s amazing to see how often we fail to accept and celebrate others as they are.
Whenever you have the chance to do so, be kind. And if you have the chance to be really kind, do that too.
Did you have a great experience with your colleague at work? Thank them sincerely, and then contact their manager and tell them what a great job their employee is doing.
2. Love unconditionally
This is another one that people tend to have difficulty with.
To love someone unconditionally doesn’t mean that you tolerate poor behavior or abuse from them, but rather you strive to love them for who they are, rather than for whom you want them to be.
You can dislike someone’s behavior, but still, love them as a person.
Basically, we all struggle through life, trying to understand things while juggling a million different responsibilities, worries, hopes, and dreams … and sometimes it gets really hard to get things going.
Sometimes we fail, we can not always be the person we really want to be, or the person our partner would be happiest with, or our children for that matter.
It’s extremely reassuring to know that they love us even when we stumble, right? Let us love others equally.
3. Stand up against Discrimination and Racism
When you experience or see more of something, it will become normal.
When you first see a polar bear in Africa, you may find it strange because it is out of your typical experience. However, once you see more polar bears in Africa you will start to believe it is normal.
The same ideas apply to discrimination. If you are introduced to or become more aware of a different culture, race, or gender in a diverse environment or society. You tend to become less discriminating because of your new world experience.
Our worldview changes the way we experience our lives. When you interact, socialize, and work with people from different experiences, you can hear and learn from people.
4. Be a champion for Diversity
Why is diversity good and important?
Let me mention a couple of reasons
- Increased market share.
Having a diverse workplace allows organizations to more effectively market, better serve, and communicate to consumer groups from different cultures, races, and religious backgrounds, which in turn may lead to increased sales and profits and access to a more diverse market.
- Productivity and innovation.
Diversity widens viewpoints and takes different ideas and perspectives into account. This can translate into creating richer solutions, obtaining better results, and maximizing productivity, innovation, and creativity.
- Employee attraction and retention.
Recruiting from a diverse pool of candidates increases an employer’s chances of finding the best person for the job. Once onboard, employees that feel valued and respected and that are part of an inclusive work environment are less likely to leave. Doing both of these successfully can help reduce expenses related to recruitment and retention.
Another benefit of diversity and inclusion is it can lead to you exploring the unknowns. A diverse workplace offers more than exposure to employees from different cultures and backgrounds. Employees learn from co-workers whose work styles vary and whose attitudes about work vary from their own. This is particularly true for employees within multigenerational work environments, as well as those who work in environments that are accessible to those with disabilities.
- Improves Employee Engagement in the Workplace
Once you have a diverse workforce with an inclusive culture, your organization’s culture will change without you even knowing it. Your team from top to the bottom will interact with employees from different backgrounds, world views, or different life stages. Your employees from diverse groups will have a better awareness of others’ world views.
A welcoming culture will increase engagement from employees because even your minority diverse employee will feel included in an inclusive workforce.
I am certain there are more benefits for diversity and inclusion, and the list of benefits will grow as companies measure and show return on their investment of it.
Diversity empowerment evidently has many benefits to a diverse workplace environment. However, let us not forget, working is not the only activity that we perform daily, we also have our social lives, our relationships in our community.
5. Find your life purpose and live in service to others
This falls under the “big choices” category and has to do with your life’s purpose.
I could devote several articles to this one, but in its simplest form, it has to do with what you want to do with your time on this planet. Your reason for being.
You have the opportunity to do just about anything you’d like as a life calling, so what will you do?
Choosing a career that allows you to work toward the greater good is one of the most profound and giving things you can do with the decades you have on this planet.
What draws you? What subjects interest you? What motivates you?
Whatever it is that inspires you, there’s a career path you can take that will allow you to pour your energy into making the world a better place.
6. Shop and invest ethically
The term “vote with your wallet” is a powerful one. Every time you purchase or invest in something, you make a statement about what you believe in, what you will tolerate, and what matters to you.
If you buy personal care products from companies that pollute the environment and treat their employees in a bad way, you tell them that you’re okay with that behavior, and will continue to support it.
If you buy items made by small business owners, or organic, fair-trade foods, you tell the people who make them that you appreciate their efforts.
Also, do not forget that money is power and you have the power to choose where you want your money to go. For example, choosing ethical and sustainable portfolios for the allocation of your pension money.
In which aspects of your daily life can you make little improvements?
7. Be a steward of the planet.
Building upon the choices listed earlier, consider the actions you take on a daily basis that affect both your environment and the greater planet beyond.
If you choose to use a potent chemical cleaner in your home, people, animal companions, and plants will be exposed to the fumes that the cleaner releases.
When you pour the cleaner down the drain, those chemicals enter the water table. The underground streams that carry those chemicals empty out into larger bodies of water, spreading the chemicals far and wide, affecting plant and animal life everywhere they go.
You can make kinder, gentler choices when it comes to personal products, and then go a step beyond for greater ecological stewardship.
If we all played our part, it would have a huge positive impact on the world.
Be a part of that change.
You are capable of doing something that can make a remarkable difference in another’s life.
And remember the “ripple effect” your impact has on the world.
So, what will be your first action to change the world for the better? Please share and inspire others to take action.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Eva Vati is an Entrepreneur and Business Strategist who helps Executives, Businesses, and Entrepreneurs future-proof their companies.
She is the CEO and Founder of VATI of Sweden, which is the first company in the world to give certification on integrating sustainability into business strategy. And also the Founder of VERIFY Agency of Sweden, which is the first company in the world accredited to verify organizations’ statements.