2016 was pretty awful for many reasons.
The Brexit vote unleashed a torrent of hatred and abuse in the U.K. That guy from the Apprentice (as my brother calls him) actually became President. Terrorist attacks, gun shootings and climate change killed or traumatised thousands people. A whole lot of amazing celebrities died.
For me personally it had been supposed to be a new start in moving to the UK but instead we found the UK an incredibly negative place which caused me to suffer the worst depression I’ve ever had.
Talking to many friends around the world, many had a really shitty 2016 too.
So 2017 arrived. I wondered if all the horrible stuff would continue for another 12 months.
But while things did get worse, in a way that actually led to things getting better.
In the U.K. they actually seemed to get tired of being miserable about Brexit and started to work towards what Britain out of the EU would look like. The hatred seemed to reduce down when the whole country came together after the Grenfell Tower fire. The orange faced guy tried to enact such racist and sexist policies that it brought people together to protest, create groups to support each other and work against what he was doing. Decades of sexual harassment and abuse against women finally came into the light with the #metoo movement and finally this behaviour has become unacceptable. The conversation on equality for women has finally started moving forward more rapidly and real progress is starting being made (Iceland has just made it illegal to pay women less and the UK banned gender stereotypes in TV adverts). Black lives matter and kneeling during the national anthem also showed there is still huge racial inequality but again started new conversations and progress to changing this.
The tipping point might also about to be reached after the Las Vegas shootings with stronger callings to introduce some form of gun control in the US. And with climate change now causing more and more devastation, there was even progress on environmental issues. And on a side note, the number of celebrity deaths returned to normal levels.
For me personally, Fraser and I relocated to California and found this a much more positive place to be. For the first time in several years I no longer had any anxiety, depression or other issues and was happy! We travelled, we spent time with friends and family, discovered some great new places and people, and even got some time off to read, do some writing and generally enjoy life.
Elephant continues its journey to provide unforgettable training and events around the world. We got fantastic feedback from our New Zealand and U.K. conferences and workshops – so know we are helping people grow their skills in a meaningful way. More and more companies are running our Management Bites programme and helping managers manage their teams better. We also spent time in Hawaii and are working to launch Elephant in the US.
All in all 2017 ended up being a pretty great year. Sometimes what follows something awful is initially more awful but leads to something great – even if it doesn’t quite look like what you imagined!
So if you had a great 2017 – here’s to 2018 being even better! And if 2017 wasn’t good for you, then I’m wishing you a much better 2018.
Happy new year everyone.
Angela Atkins is People and Learning Director for Elephant Group NZ and Elephant Group UK – and also developed the Management Bites training programme. She is best-selling author of the bites series of books and is passionate about helping HR and managers create better businesses. You are welcome to follow her on Facebook . Angela splits her time between New Zealand, the UK, California and Hawaii.