So much can change within a single year. No one is immune from experiencing change, whether it’s small or life-changing, but we can always learn from it. We can learn how to handle it gracefully, ease suffering, and make the everyday work of improving the world a little easier. As we move forward into 2019, we want to take a moment to remember the top three lessons we learned along the way in 2018, and how they’re going to help us in this new year.
Lesson 1: Stay persistent
Persistence helps us get through some of the most difficult times. What is a difficult time? It can be the American political climate for the past two years. It can be a family working through grief. Persistence is being in something for the duration, seeing it through, no matter if the results are a success or failure. Persistence folds each failure into the process and develops new approaches.
In 2018, we witnessed amazing political victories here in Arizona. Eight years ago, these kinds of victories seemed so far away and out of reach. Democrats picked up four statewide offices – three at the state level and one at the federal level. They also picked up seats in the Arizona Legislature.
However, that did not happen overnight. It was the result of hard work and persistence over years and many elections cycles that brought those crucial wins. Without persistence, we give up and go home. We fall into a story that goes, “One person or one team can’t impact change. This is too much, too hard, I can’t.” Yes, you can. We owe a lot to the persistence of others to change the world and it inspires us to continue the work. We may not see our impact tomorrow, in a year, or even a decade, but we have to remember that persistence is key and change takes time.
Lesson 2: Keep up with kindness
Kindness is an action that tells another person they are recognized, they are not alone, we will get through it together. What else is worth fighting for than the human capacity of immeasurable good? Kindness is one of the greatest lessons of 2018 and will probably be for 2019, 2020, 2021…too. There’s no mastering kindness. Just when you think you’ve done it, a new situation will present itself to you in which you have to exercise an amount of kindness you didn’t think you were capable of.
Kindness is the heart of Javelina and it helps us get through the hard work it takes to create change. Kindness can look like many things:
- Bringing a box of donuts for your staff during a rough project.
- Being honest during a difficult conversation.
- Making someone dinner after they’ve door-to-door canvased.
- Writing a note to congratulate a colleague on a job well-done.
The list can go on and on. It is not limited to “things” to “buy” but actionable choices that recognize the human experience and seek to provide relief or clarity. Kindness recognizes change requires action. Without kindness, we suffer alone and we don’t get very far. It’s hard to remember to be kind when you’re in the weeds on a project or feel like you’re struggling alone, but keeping kindness at the forefront keeps us going. No expression of kindness is too small to get us through a tough moment, an unexpected obstacle or setback.
For a longer evaluation of kindness as a Javelina core value, re-visit our How Kindness is Critical for Change-Engineers blog post.
Lesson 3: Change comes at you fast!
Remember when things were looking a little bleak? We had a few roller coaster moments this year, ourselves. One thing that kept us going in 2018 was the potential for change. Nothing stays the same. Ever. We don’t know if the change we will experience is going to be good or bad or an unexpected mixture of both.
Things are constantly shifting and evolving. This year at Javelina, we experienced quite a bit of change ourselves! We expanded our team, launched our first podcast, moved out of our office, and hit a few bumps in the road along the way.
We learned that things will always change. No matter how prepared or certain you feel about an endeavor, new or familiar, things will still shift and evolve in unexpected ways. We just have to learn to roll with the punches, exercise kindness and know that our persistence will eventually pay off.
We know you’re heading into 2019 with goals to change the world. You aren’t alone! Remember that in the face of any variation to your vision. Let it comfort you that, even though the process is long, exercising persistence along the way will keep you motivated to keep going. Practice kindness toward those you communicate with when you are sharing in celebrations and defeat. Accept change because it’s not going to change for you. Change is constant, no brakes are big enough to slow that one down.