I have this way of being able to reframe situations. I’m gifted at the why-is-this-happening-for-me kind of thinking. And that’s not always a great thing. Because sometimes hard stuff happens and it’s best to say this sucks and just feel our way through it.
When it comes to humanity overall, I see no other option than to maintain general positivity and hope. Because that hope leads us to look for solutions.
So, as we start this new year, I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful because humans have never been without challenges and we’ve overcome them. I’m hopeful because we have a knack of being able to perform under pressure. And we come together when stuff gets really bad.
Five trends that give me hope for humanity in 2019
Reason 1: The continued rise of podcasts
Podcasts continue to rise in popularity. It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of podcasts. Podcasts connect people with content that’s relevant to their lives. They’re providing another way for stories that haven’t traditionally been told to be told. And all this free* content is helping to democratize knowledge and the sharing of ideas. And sure, it could be a platform for manipulation — like any other — but there’s a giant good side too.
*many podcasts include advertising, so they’re not totally free if you put a value on your attention
Reason 2: Social enterprises and cause-related business missions
Charity isn’t just for charities anymore. We’re seeing more organizations with purposes bigger than their legal structures.
For example, if you’re in need of new sandals, you can purchase from Brave Soles, a shoe company that’s recycling tires from landfills in the Dominican Republic and providing opportunities for vulnerable people. (side note: Scott and I know the co-founder Christal from our early years of running leadership events and I’m not at all shocked she created such a beautiful enterprise).
Our local college here runs a Centre for Social Innovation designed to bring people together to tackle complex issues. Plus, we have community bonds, which give individuals the opportunity to invest in projects to improve their communities and society, in exchange for a return. Also, social procurement is providing a way for businesses and organizations to ensure their purchasing decisions are creating more good. This is especially important in the public sector.
Reason 3: Marketing focused on connecting and helping
Hubspot introduced the flywheel in 2018. The concept replaces the old funnel idea of selling. It’s not about closing the sale. The conversion is actually the beginning of what’s hopefully a long-term relationship. It’s all about empathy, customer experience and providing value.
The book New Power came out in 2018, which explores the rise of movements and of shifting power structures. I recommend this book to anyone working in communications, or if you’re interested in how we can tap into connection and empowerment to create change.
I’m hopeful we will see continued progress away from interruption-based marketing… that annoying marketing that interrupts your day, and, even worse, is often designed to make you feel like you’re lacking something… with “If you don’t do these things you suck” kind of headlines. We can all help push this trend along by not clicking on headlines that make us feel like we’re not good enough as we are.
The ideas of interruption-based and permission-based marketing are concepts Seth Godin has been talking about for years. I received his new book This is Marketing (another 2018 release) for Christmas and I’m excited to dive in!
Reason 4: Humanity may actually be doing better overall
Maybe you’re scratching your head at this one. Because things seem so grim sometimes. Here’s the thing. We know a lot more about what’s happening because of the wide-spread, constant coverage. And we juxtapose this against our thoughts about how things were better before. Now, it’s important to recognize that you’re being shown a filtered perspective of events — filtered by media, filtered by social media, filtered by your own bias. But here’s something I found intriguing — our data is showing we are making progress. Check out this Ted Talk by Steven Pinker.
Reason 5: We’re trying to measure what matters
And we know from this Harvard study that our connections are most important to living a good life. So I’m hopeful that we’re starting to look at indicators that matter. Kudos to the organizations and people who have the courage to drive change in this area.
On critical issues and politics
I realize there are atrocities happening around the world. And there are people who don’t feel hope. And who live in constant fear. I know we’re privileged to enjoy the safety we do. This makes it
Perhaps all the concerning politics happening around us are a reminder not to take our securities for granted. A reminder that, in the end, all we really have is each other. And our choices on a daily basis matter — our decisions to vote, our decisions to support causes, our decisions to be kind to one another. All of these little things make up the big things.
If we can’t get it right in our own lives, how can we expect to get it right at the population level?
So, I’m hopeful, as always, that we will continue to work to get it right.
Wishing you grace, peace and love for the year ahead.