Two weeks ago I joined Demos Helsinki, a global, independent think tank with a mission of helping build a fair, sustainable and joyful next era.
It turns out for me, the joyful next era has begun. Think tank(ing) has already proved to been a boon for my mental health.
A friend messaged me after reading my LinkedIn job update and said, ‘sounds cool…but, uh, what the heck do you guys do, exactly?’ I laughed, my mind whirling through the kaleidoscope of projects I’d been able to glimpse in my first couple weeks in between on-boarding sessions, virtual team lunches and sprawling philosophical discussions.
Perhaps surprisingly, my response to my friend’s inquiry began with how comfortable I felt. From my first interactions (while doing reconnaissance), I felt psychologically safe, imbued with a sense of security and empowerment to question and contribute. From my first work day, I engaged without worrying about the point where my lived experience, perspective or initiative flowed beyond the boundaries of the ‘role’ I have within the organization. (I’ve never understood the arbitrary need many leaders/managers/orgs have, to restrict the richness of an individual’s contributions because ‘it’s not their job’ and thus normalizing self-sensorship from even the most avid of contributors).
For example, I am part of a project that is working to initiate a broad transformation in governance towards an inclusive, participatory, stakeholder-driven approach that seeks to center humility, imagination & experimentation in a process that builds relevance and resilience through community-based co-production… I mean, wow! That’s revolutionary - and vital, as we are confronted by an onslaught of wicked problems, right now.
So yes, I work at a think tank, and the work is pretty rad I’ll admit, but the best part is that I can bring my full self to each and every day, every project, every meeting, every human moment. I show my weirdness, and own it- and it feels amazing!
The world needs more psychologically safe places where everyone’s uniqueness can be on display. Being seen matters. Mental health matters, and it is in a state of crisis, often exacerbated by work environments that fail to provide strong, supportive leadership and culture, and a feeling of security and openness.
I hope that in sharing this, that it will connect with some of you. I would love to chat and share experiences, so if you’re interested send me a message 🌸.
Have a wonderful week everyone ✨