Finding Inspiration and Influence Outside Your Closest Circle

According to Shawn Achor, author of “The happiness advantage”, the happiest people are those that are part of something bigger than themselves and that contribute to the greater good. I believe in that.
Last week, I spent three days together with leaders from various industries in Norway, people whom I had never met before, and that I mostly had nothing in common with, until then. From this, I gained inspiration and personal growth way beyond what I signed up for.

The whole thing started with a crazy idea, was followed up by someone who believed in this crazy idea, and then came full circle when a group of people who wanted to make a difference spent their free time getting the most fantastic conference on the road. All because they wanted to achieve more, and to make a difference. And when people come together . . . magic happen.

What I learned on this trip was that, first of all, we all need continued learning to grow. Not only as individuals, but as leaders. No one is fully trained or educated – we can always learn more (growth mindset, they call it). It was great to hear from experts in important topics like leadership, diversity and inclusion. Second, it was good to hear from the “technology nerds” that they take responsibility for ethics, environment and safety when they innovate, and that more and more of new innovation is about making the world a better place. Having improvements made on education, learning and increasing the value of people’s lives, is of huge importance for the future. Third, learning about new technology is always both inspiring and fun. There is so much innovation going on, and hearing firsthand about Cloud, AI, Robotics, Cyber security, Design thinking, Machine learning and new technology was motivational and inspirational.

In addition, having the pleasure of listening to amazing women-founders! These women are founders and leaders of companies that they have built from the ground up based on ideas that they have had about issues that they really care about. These topics ranged from healthcare, to education, to feeling good about your hair.

Equally important was the time I got to spend with female leaders from industries other than my own. I am mostly used to meeting fellow tech company employees, and spending most of my time and focus in the IT-industry. It reminded me about how important it is to look outside your immediate circle to find inspiration and influence. I got to speak to many smart, fun and accomplished women – and I got inspired. From women that are like myself and that think the way I do, to women who are completely unlike myself and that have thoughts and ideas that are completely different to mine. I gained new perspectives on that trip thanks to the women I met & shared this experience with. 

One of the most significant thinks I learnt from this trip is that leadership is the most important thing in business and in life, and if you don’t take leadership of your own world, nobody will. Most people come to work every day wanting to do their very best, and it is our responsibility as leaders to make their work environment safe and secure and to get rid of the work-bias. To make every voice count, even if it is completely opposing than yours. That you need someone else to learn from, and if that person is unlike you in many areas, you can choose to learn a whole lot of new things that you might not have even thought about.

And lastly; no one can make success on their own. There is always a team behind you or with you. Even if they are not visible. We must take care of alle the people who make us better, that make us grow, and that make us shine.

Thank you for organizing this inspiring journey Benja Stig Fagerland, Camilla Bakjord, Inga Kleppe, Kimberly Lein-Mathisen, Kristine Hofer Næss and Siri Børsum. And thank you for a great time during the stay EVERYBODY – SHEconomy Summit 2018.


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