MGU 305 | Community 2022

 

The end of the year is almost upon us, and a new year means change. With so many things in flux, what impact can a community have on 2022? Whitney Lauritsen takes a look, as she deep dives into what our immediate future will be like. It’s time to be future-focused as Whitney discusses resolutions, influencers, mental health and why our sense of community will be vital this coming year. Tune in for more inspiring words as Whitney delves into things that just might get you uncomfortable.

Listen to the podcast here:


 

Community Is The Key To 2022; Here’s Why

Before I started recording, I was looking at myself on the webcam for the video version of this and realized I don’t need to be wearing these headphones because I’m not talking to anyone. I’m still getting used to being a solo host on the days that I don’t have a guest. If you have not read my solo episode where I announced Jason’s departure from the show, please go read it to have a little bit more context.

I want to talk about 2022. As I generally like to share, I record the episodes at least a week in advance. This is a big advantage to recording on my own as I can record whenever I feel like it, for better or worse. The pro is that since I’m a night owl, I can record at 11:52 PM Pacific Time. The con is that I have been trying to record this episode. I have been thinking about it for a while but I struggle with procrastination.

This ties in with our topic because this is the time of the year where a lot of people are making New Year’s resolutions and thinking about what they want the next year to be. I’m not sure if this was ever brought up in a previous episode. I know for sure Jason had mentioned the big shift he went through in the past. His big end-of-year ritual was to create a vision board and try to manifest what he wanted to happen. I’m fairly certain that he mentioned that in an episode maybe in 2020 around this time. I’m not sure. After 300 episodes, you start to forget.

In case I hadn’t commented on it, I also fell into that ritual of trying to shape my life in the direction that I wanted it to go. In the past years, I have let go of that because it doesn’t serve me personally. There’s a lot of societal pressure watching what other people are doing and habits. We see other people doing things or we have done them a ton of times and we keep doing them even if they are not working the way that we intended.

Predictions For 2022

This episode is me sharing some things that I see as predictions and trends for what could happen in 2022, specifically around mental health, social media, technology, health in general, and some data behind that for those that are into data like I am. Also, some things that I’m hoping for and things that I’m doing personally.

To wrap up what I’m saying here, I don’t have any plans for 2022. The last few years have resulted in that for a lot of people. As we learned in spring 2020, there’s a lot that’s out of our control globally and it has always been the case. There’s something about the pandemic that put that right up in the face of so many plans that people were making that had to be changed or canceled because of the pandemic.

We are going through another big wave of that. Regardless of your stance on COVID, it is getting bad again numerically. That’s going to shift the way that people are going about their lives. There’s a huge wave of COVID cases in New York City. It has been interesting living in Los Angeles across the country but feeling that’s about to happen here too and wondering how the country and states are going to respond is a little bit of tension for me.

Fortunately, I didn’t have any travel plans at all moving forward. I canceled a massage to be on the safe side because it feels like this looming threat. Not everybody is going to respond that way but if you didn’t know this already, my comfort level with COVID is to be very cautious. It’s a trying time when we are in a holiday season but also moving into another year and thinking, “This is going to be the second year of the pandemic.”

There are moments where that feels heavy for me. I want to acknowledge that because I imagine you are feeling some sense of that, too. Some people are less concerned about COVID than I am. Maybe a good percentage of people based on my experience tend to be a little less concerned than I am. Some people feel very comfortable going about their lives in all different ways.

Unfortunately, since we are not all on the same page, we can’t just go about doing whatever we want because sometimes things are closed, restricted or other people are not willing to plan. That requires us to have so much flexibility, which is generally a good thing to practice because nothing is guaranteed no matter how much we plan. This is especially a good lesson for me. I’m a huge planner. I feel safe when I plan and yet sometimes, I feel a lot of pressure when I plan. There’s something simultaneously relieving when I feel things are up in the air.

As human beings, we crave freedom and flexibility and life demands freedom and flexibility, or at least flexibility because it's constantly changing. Click To Tweet

Going back to my initial comment about procrastinating this episode, I observe that a lot. I think about why I procrastinate and simultaneously love to plan. You would think because I plan so much that I wouldn’t procrastinate. At least that seems logical to me that I would say, “This is the deadline and deadlines tend to help me a lot. I’m going to get this done.”

For a huge part of my academic years, I would be that person who would stay up until the eleventh hour, get my homework done, and be exhausted. I’m sure I pulled all-nighters and would wait until the last minute before I had to go to class and turn in an assignment. That is the type of person I became. It’s interesting looking back at our roots and why we either develop that way or why our brains work that way.

I have wondered about me being neurodivergent. I have not been diagnosed that way but I have a lot of traits like that, where my brain felt I didn’t fit into the structure of school, work environments, socializing, and all these things which can be tricky. The way the reason that ties into 2022, a new phase of any type, whether it’s a new year, month, week, day, we always have the opportunity to reflect on how we have been operating and how that’s serving us. Also, being less critical of ourselves.

Diets, Time Management And Mental Health

For so long, I used to beat myself up for things like that, like procrastination. I felt shame around that. I’m like, “I’m such an awful person. I can’t ever get things done. Why can’t I be like everybody else? Why wouldn’t I get it done by 9:00 PM? Why would I wait until 12:00 AM or 3:00 AM, or whatever time?” I felt shame because it seemed like everyone else had it easier and maybe they had a different system and there was something wrong with me.

This time of year can bring up a lot of those feelings. It’s an opportunity for us to readjust and get ourselves in shape. Many resolutions are revolving around our diets, health, exercise, and trying to do things in a way that we think is right, good or better. That can be very dangerous for our mental health, especially because most people do not follow through with their resolutions. I forget what the statistics are but the average person gives up on their New Year’s resolutions if they set them within a few weeks like 14 to 21 days. Why is that? Probably because they are not setting themselves up for success or maybe they don’t work. Statistically, diets don’t work.

MGU 305 | Community 2022

Community 2022: As we learned in spring 2020, there’s a lot that’s out of our control globally.

 

I remember for so long feeling confused by that statement like, “Diets don’t work. What do you mean? They have worked for me. I have been on this and that diet.” When I started to learn about intuitive eating, I recognized that all this time, and energy I put into trying to eat a certain way because I thought that was the way that I should eat, that was the optimal way and that would get me the best results, it was forcing me to change in an unsustainable way.

I have talked about my keto diet to an upcoming guest, my friend, Liz, who is a fellow vegan keto cookbook author. That’s the way she eats. That’s how we met. We talked on that episode about how it’s not 100% for either of us. She eats keto more frequently than I do. The reason I bring that up is not only because the episode is coming up but keto is something that I have these pulsating relationships with or a swing back and forth.

I like the low-carb diet, which I will share more about it in that upcoming episode but I’m not always going to eat that way. Even when I do eat that way, I tend to have more of an intuitive relationship with it and that feels more sustainable for me versus the strictness. Something I have wondered about myself is, “Do I just not work well in strict environments? Do I tend to rebel against deadlines and structure? Is that why those feels challenging for me?”

Structure And New Year’s Resolutions

Maybe most of us don’t thrive in those tightly structured things for way too long. As human beings, we crave freedom and flexibility. Life demands freedom or at least flexibility because it’s constantly changing. This is all very important to consider. First of all, if you are feeling compelled to set some resolutions for yourself to make a big change, I encourage you to ask yourself, “Why? Where’s that coming from? What is your personality in terms of how you thrive?” Some people do thrive on structure. I don’t know if they can do that sustainably in the long run.

It seems to me that most people struggle to do anything super strict and structured for a very long time but there are certainly exceptions to that rule. That all depends on your personality and the context of your whole life. Getting to know yourself and where you thrive but ultimately asking yourself that important question of, “Why are you doing something? Is it truly for you? Is it because of cultural conditioning and pressure? Does it feel comfortable to set resolutions?”

Especially if you have been in the habit of it for a long time, perhaps that tradition and ritual feel good. Maybe it feels completely fine if you don’t follow through with it. Maybe you are used to not following through. My next question from there is, “Do you feel okay with not following through?” I struggle with that. I feel shame around not accomplishing something but that in itself is something I can work on. It is like, “I can try something and if I fail at it and don’t go the way as planned, I can practice letting go and recognizing that things will not always turn out the way I intend them to.”

There are lots of layers to this. This is not an easy thing. New Year’s resolutions tend to feel very cookie-cutter standard. There’s a lot of marketing around this too, which can feel challenging and uncomfortable. Ultimately asking yourself why is the most important thing to do, and then you can determine what’s going to work best for you beyond that.

A few things that I have been examining are it’s helpful to see where things are going societally, especially when it comes to these trends within certain categories that we are interested in and figuring out how to use them to your advantage. For me, I also feel comfort in expectations, even if I know that they may not turn out that way. I know what could happen. What’s more likely to happen, I suppose. Maybe this will give you some comfort if you think like that, too.

Trends And Gen Z

One of the big things that ironically ties into all of this, I don’t know if ironic is the best word but coincidentally maybe, especially for Gen Z, is that there is an Instagram blog post about trends coming up. It was mostly focused on Gen Z because that generation is influential through social media but also in the way that the younger generations tend to have such a big impact in the media, which then has a ripple effect in all of our lives like music, movies, TV and all these things that we consume. Gen Z is having a major impact on them. I thought this Instagram insight was fascinating.

Striving and never feeling satisfied gives us a reason to live. Maybe just the idea of creating the reality that you want to and it never ending might actually be a good thing. Click To Tweet

Creating The Reality You Live In

The big theme for 2022 is redefining how we approach life. That ties into some of the things I’m sharing. It’s like, “Will you benefit from redefining how you approach a new year?” Gen Z tends to be very future-focused, which is perfect for thinking about the next year. They tend to consistently create the reality they want to live in. Although from my observations, that’s more of a desire. They want to create that reality but it also seems like Gen Z as a whole doesn’t feel they are reaching that quite yet and a lot of us can relate to that, especially from my viewpoint on TikTok, where I do a lot of my cultural examinations and market research.

I don’t know if anybody feels like they are fully creating the reality they want to live in. Some people are but I also feel there’s so much about that Instagram perception of, “I have everything figured out and have the best life. I have checked off all the boxes.” Whatever those boxes are, we can put out this facade of having it all together so that we look good to other people. Like Keeping Up with the Joneses and Keeping Up with the Kardashians, creating this dream life perception that other people think highly of us.

I’m curious, does anybody feel like their life is the reality that they want to live? I don’t know. That’s one big thing I have learned from this show. Nobody feels fully satisfied because they are always striving for more and that’s a good thing. As long as it doesn’t deeply poorly affect your mental health, striving, and never feeling satisfied gives us a reason to live. Maybe just the idea of creating the reality that you want to and never-ending might be a good thing.

MGU 305 | Community 2022

Community 2022: If you’re feeling compelled to set some resolutions for yourself to make a big change, ask yourself why, where is that coming from?

 

Gen Z is also into exploring new territories. I’m a Millennial and I can relate to that. I love to explore and it makes me think of my road trips. That’s something I want to do more in 2022. I’ve got a couple of big trips that I have been slowly starting to plan. Traveling in general, especially because of the pandemic, is something a lot of people are yearning for. Road trips for me have been a wonderful way to experience that.

Connecting With Family

Another big thing that I consistently want to create from my reality is a connection with family and that’s going to tie into a big theme that I found through my research and observations, which is community. The pandemic helps me place even more emphasis on family. I have been family-oriented my whole life but knowing that life is precious, we don’t know what’s going to happen and people can get sick.

The saddest part of this global experience of COVID has been that many people are affected in ways that many of us didn’t see coming. It made me want to spend more time with the people that I love and family members that I hadn’t seen in a long time. I did that in 2021 and I want to do that again in 2022. I encourage you to think about that too. I imagine that you have.

Think of ways that you can connect with people that you care about or maybe even people that you didn’t feel conscious that you cared about, which may sound a little odd. Some of us get in our heads or we put up walls and guard ourselves against feeling a deep connection to others but that’s a huge part of our humanity that we need to prioritize, in my opinion. A key to our well-being is making sure that we are in touch with people that care about us, too. Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that other people care about us.

I was having a conversation with someone about this and it started by asking some questions about this person’s family life and realizing how different they grew up and how disconnected they were from their family. For me, I grew up with the privilege of being very connected to my family. Not just my immediate family but my grandparent, cousins, second cousins, and all these relatives. It wasn’t until that conversation that I recognized how many amazing people I’m related to that I took for granted. I’m choosing to be conscious of those special relationships and cultivating them. We have to put effort into them.

It doesn’t have to be just family. I have put effort into my friendships and that can sometimes be hard and uncomfortable. I tend to be an anxious person. I get anxious about what my friends and family think about me. I’m wondering, “Does someone like me? Are they talking badly about me behind my back? Was I weird or awkward?” It will get on my head about that. I have to push through that and say, “Is it worth the risk of embarrassing myself or someone thinking poorly of me not liking me, which I can’t control?”

It’s worth the risk of putting myself out there to create connection because I found a lot of times people think highly of me or at least neutrally, much better than poorly of me. Maybe those people are just as anxious about what I think of them. By reaching out and connecting with them, we can create more of a bond and be there for each other. That is all increasing. Maybe it’s age, too. Getting older, you realize these things. Spending time and traveling with people is bringing this back to that travel component. Seeing people made such a big difference.

People need to make money and we buy goods and services from others that we are not creating. But sometimes they're being done just to make money from you, not for your betterment. Click To Tweet

I hope that in 2022, something will shift that we will all collectively feel more comfortable traveling and connecting with people in person. Another thing in terms of Gen Z and also something to apply to many of us is reevaluating goals and what success means. Certainly, the pandemic has inspired a lot of us to do this and that’s specifically success. Work-life balance is something that more and more people are focused on. Alternative paths to get to our goals and success, whatever that means, and how our choices and our careers impact our emotional health and well-being.

Stress And Exercise

Stress management is something that data is showing as growing as a priority in people’s lives, which excites me. It also ties back into what I was sharing about resolutions. The more I have studied dieting, exercise, career stuff, and success, the more I have realized how much of that contributes to stress ironically because you would think that a good diet would help with stress. We hear this a lot. The way that we eat certainly has a relationship with our stress levels but if we are too restricted, we don’t feel free within our food choices, we are doing it for a reason and that’s more about external validation versus internal satisfaction, that will cause us stress.

MGU 305 | Community 2022

Community 2022: Nobody feels fully satisfied because they’re always striving for more. That’s actually a good thing, as long as it doesn’t deeply affect your mental health in a poor way.

 

On the outside, we may look healthy and maybe our bloodwork looks great but if you are going to these great lengths to eat a certain way, for me at least, I found that caused me more stress. Intuitive eating has made a huge difference in my life. I also have a history of disordered eating and that in itself was stressful. I have associated stress and food a lot. Moving forward, I would like to get rid of that correlation.

From my understanding not being a medical professional, scientist, biologist or whatever, exercise is causing stress on your body but sometimes that’s good stress and temporary stress. It’s different types. We have to find out what type of stress is good for us and healthy for us. That’s going to depend on several different factors. This is such an important thing to remind ourselves of because there are so many one size fits all approaches to exercise.

I was thinking about this, not in a deep way but it came across my mind. I saw some people working out in a television show that I was watching. I’m like, “I hate that exercise.” I thought, “Why don’t I like that exercise? It seems it would be good for me to do cardiovascular.” They were in planks. It’s something that we do in a lot of the classes that I have taken over the years. I don’t know why I can’t think of what that is called. You are doing a plank but your knees are coming up to your chest. I don’t like that move at all. It feels physically uncomfortable in not a temporary way.

The thing that I have noticed about exercise is there’s a difference between the temporary discomfort of like, “I don’t like this but I’m going to move through it and maybe over time, I will like it.” If you are consistently not enjoying something, why would you continue to do that? I don’t like doing that specific move. Why would I over and over again force myself to do that? It doesn’t serve me on an emotional level. There are plenty of other exercises that could give me the same, if not similar results. That’s why I have an issue with this one size fits all.

One Size Doesn’t Always Fit All

If you feel good about running, walking, doing yoga or swimming, there are many forms of exercise. We can find the one that works best for us, and then we can also find the pacing, timing and types. There are all these nuances, which makes it wonderful that we can find that work well for us. Trying to find more customized advice when it comes to exercise and diet is important and also trying to observe who’s trying to sell us something. Especially this time of year, people are trying to sell you their books, courses, in-person classes if those are happening, their food, on and on.

There’s so much marketing involved. On one level, that makes sense. That’s how our world works. People need to make money. We buy goods and services from others that we are not creating. Sometimes they are being done just to make money from you, not for your better good. Being discerning this time of the year is something that we need to continuously observe. “Who is trying to sell me something and why? Is it something that I want and need? Is this a good fit for me?”

When you can connect with other people, when you are tapped into your value and your self-worth, that has so much deeper meaning than trying to buy something to fill the gap. Click To Tweet

Investing whenever possible, whenever it’s available to you. Investing in some custom guidance will go a long way because sometimes we only need to learn something once and apply it for the rest of our life or maybe it’s only a few years. It’s like going to the doctor. You get your blood test done, they check you up and give you some custom advice based on where your body is at. That’s something that I’m valuing more and more for my mental health, also to optimize for what my body needs at this stage in my life.

In the past, I used to try to apply all of this cookie-cutter stuff. Even flashbacks, I read the magazines as a kid that would have these basic exercises and they are promising this huge result. I would try all these things and I wasn’t getting those results because of several factors. It was like, “These magazines just wanted to sell me on buying them.” I keep buying the magazines and trying all the things, and nothing was working so I felt defeated and shame. I thought I was doing something wrong when the reality was, they were not right for me for whatever reason or weren’t the right system that I needed, the accountability, whatever else.

I had to learn over time what worked well for me and that’s not going to be this quick thing that you can accomplish within a few weeks or even a few months. This is sometimes a lifelong thing. Something else to keep in mind is that not everything is going to be resolved in January but maybe not in 2022. This could be the rest of your life that you are working on something and that’s where a slower and mindful pace can support you.

Coming back around to this re-evaluation, balance, and thinking about how things impact our mental health and stress management, it all ties in. Another big factor of all this stuff is budgeting and saving money. This is top of mind for Gen Z and most people. There was a good report that I read that said, “The economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis has brought to light the deeply rooted financial struggles that many Americans face.” It also touched upon the UK but I imagine a lot of people around the world, wherever you are based, are in a similar position.

There was even this term that I don’t think I had heard before called financial fitness. I thought that was interesting and that ties into what I said. It is not like working out your body but your mind and finances, a little bit of a stretch I suppose. That term is interesting. Some of the things that people are struggling with are lack of assets, too much debt, money management challenges and not knowing what financial services to use or not having access to them. These are creating financial anxiety and stress. It’s important to acknowledge that.

Especially when it comes to fitness and food, this one size fits all model that a lot of us keep seeing may not apply based on your financial situation. Each of us has to examine our lives through the lens of where we are at that moment. That ties in nicely to the sponsor who has sponsored December 2021’s episode, SimplyCodes. If you haven’t heard me talk about them yet, they are one of the greatest things because I’m looking at them every single day when I’m making a purchase.

Especially this time of year, I tend not to shop online a ton. I’m an only-when-I-need-to type of shopper. I like shopping in person but the pandemic has changed some of that for me. This 2021, I was shopping online for a present for some people that I’m close to in my life and found myself looking at things for myself. I was doing some Black Friday deal shopping or a Cyber Monday. Just buying things that I had already wanted but felt like we are a little bit of a financial stretch.

My favorite tool for figuring out how to save money any time of year is using coupon codes and that’s what SimplyCodes does. They are one of the largest sources of coupon codes. What I love about them is the community factor. A little sneak preview is that they are very community-oriented and people are contributing coupons together. They are sharing all the coupon codes that they like.

SimplyCodes created this amazing extension that you can use on your computer or your phone. It’s iOS only. Apple products like in your iPhone, Mac computer or iPad, you can download their app and install this extension. Whenever you are on the website, check and see if there are coupons available. SimplyCodes has a beautiful layout. One of my favorite features is that you can see immediately the codes that have worked the most recently and frequently. The highest chance of success is at the top of the list. You can try out the code, and then there’s a little survey that pops up and it’s like, “Did this code work?” You can say yes or no.

I find that satisfying because I want to contribute to the community. I want to let other people know if I had success and that makes the whole system work even better. I will talk about SimplyCodes a little bit more. If you want to check them out, you can go to SimplyCodes.com/wellevatr and that will lead you to the new iOS app to try out. If you don’t have an iPhone, go to SimplyCodes.com and you can install it on your web browser.

MGU 305 | Community 2022

Community 2022: It’s important to acknowledge that, especially when it comes to fitness and food, this one size fits all model that a lot of us keep seeing may not apply based on your financial situation. Each of us have to examine our lives through the lens of where we’re at in that moment.

 

Minimalism And You

Let’s see what else is a trend. I have a long list of things but I find this also fascinating. This was an interesting phrase. I don’t remember where this came from. Maybe it was from the Instagram report. “Taking what already exists in unexpected directions and looking ahead.” That’s what we naturally do but maybe that’s something helpful. A lot of us feel this pressure to reinvent ourselves and do things completely differently because it feels like something is working.

Especially when it comes to our finances, if we are trying to budget and save and we feel stretched then, a lot of times what we do is look at what we already have and see how we can stretch it more and how we can make something work. This ties into another big theme with Gen Z but many of us are experiencing, which is minimalism.

That involves repurposing, reusing and thrifting. Those are all big things because if you want to keep things minimal in terms of your expenses and resources, you could reuse something that you already have. You could repurpose it, take it and do something completely different. That’s better for our environment, budget, and mental health. It benefits everything.

We can do this even emotionally in some ways. We can try to reframe. That’s always available to us. Sometimes our brain tricks us into thinking that things are complicated or negative but a reframe can help us realize that it might be simpler. We might have the answer already or maybe the answer is hidden below something else that we thought of.

A lot of problem-solving tends to be so simple that by the time we figure it out, we were like, “I had the answer all along,” or we think, “Why didn’t I think of that before?” Taking something that already exists in two unexpected directions is interesting on some levels. A big focus for many of us is wanting more joy, trying to be more optimistic, and finding ways to express ourselves using more creativity. This all ties in, too.

Because people are trying to be authentic, they're faking authenticity. Click To Tweet

The reason people are very interested in general about minimalism is going towards the famous book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It can make your life different and bring you more joy. The big question that Marie Kondo, the author of that book, asks is, “Does this spark joy?” That might be the best way to go into 2022. If you are sitting here reflecting on the end of 2021 moving into a new year, ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” You could do this with items that you own.

The whole point of that book is getting to that minimalist mentality like, “What are you using? What has a purpose? What brings you joy?” You can go through your wardrobe and items. I remember books were a big part of that and that was hard for me. Pick each item up and ask, “Does this spark joy?” You can do this with practice. “Does the way that you are eating spark joy? Does the way you are moving your body spark joy? Are you like me?” Whatever that exercise that I can’t remember. I want to say Running Man but that is not what it’s called. I’m going to look it up. I’m hoping it comes to mind.

Going into minimalism a little bit more is how much that involves our awareness about what we are buying, what we are keeping, what we already have, and where things are coming from. A lot of us are striving to be more sustainable. We want to support small businesses. One of the challenges with that though is those small businesses tend to be a little bit more expensive than the big businesses that have the money, resources or subsidies to make things cheaper.

Big businesses like Amazon have a whole system where they can reduce their prices and offer free shipping, subscriptions and all this. Not a lot of small businesses can do that so they can’t match that same price. By you spending a little bit more money to directly support a small business is great for our economy, small business person’s mental health and the environment.

Based on the resources, there are so many factors. That’s another reason why I love SimplyCodes. I mentioned a few episodes ago about holiday shopping and anxiety. I was excited about using coupons and having sale days like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday because with the reduced prices, I felt more comfortable buying high-quality products.

There was one, for example, this supplement that I want to buy but it was so expensive, especially for the first purchase. I’m like, “Is this even worth it?” With the coupons and special deals that I found, I brought down the price a bit to feel more comfortable buying it. That’s why coupons can be incredible. Getting free shipping sometimes is amazing. Maybe you want to buy direct as opposed to from a big company like Amazon but you are stuck in that mentality of the convenience and the cost-effectiveness of Amazon.

First of all, I encourage you not to have shame around that. A lot of people feel like they are justified in judging you if you shop on Amazon. I have certainly found myself feeling self-conscious about that. Honestly, sometimes convenience is important for our mental health. Sometimes saving money is important for our lives and that’s okay. With tools that allow you to get the best of both worlds and be able to make something convenient and save money, which is exactly what SimplyCodes is designed to do, it’s helping your life in some pretty substantial ways. That’s exactly why I brought them on as a sponsor.

Capitalism And Community

With minimalism, there’s another phrase. I can’t remember where I read this one but I will read this quote and I will find somebody to attribute it to. “If people find comfort and calm in each other, then they don’t need to buy stuff to make themselves feel better. If they find self-worth and value in a community, then retail therapy rings hollow.” Finding comfort and calm in the community, and finding ways to feel better instead of buying something or doing something superficial, for lack of a better word or not deep and enriching, will give you temporary satisfaction.

When you can connect with other people and tap into your value and self-worth, that has a much deeper meaning than trying to buy something to fill the gap. That may sound counterintuitive to what I was sharing about purchasing. Some things we buy because they are retail therapy and some things we are buying because we need them.

That supplement, going back to it, I found out that my vitamin D levels were low. I keep bringing this up. This is such a good example. I wanted to buy this vitamin D because it’s such good ratings by multiple people that I trust but the sticker shock. I could have bought a variety of different vitamin D but I wanted this one. It felt so good to buy it. I feel excited to have it and grateful for it. It’s contributing to my health.

That’s a completely different thing than me buying some fleeting item that’s making me feel good at the moment through retail therapy. A big difference here is diving deep into your self-awareness so you know who you are, why you are doing things, and what means something to you. This is a great time of year to think about that.

The final section of all this that I have hinted at is a community and that ties right into what I shared. Many of us are yearning to spend more time together and ideally, that would be In Real Life, IRL, in person however you want to phrase it. The last video I saw before doing this episode was a TikTok video about this guy talking about how tough it is to be experiencing a wave of COVID during the holidays.

MGU 305 | Community 2022

Community 2022: Influencers and content creators, whatever you want to call them, actually have more influence than most celebrities, depending on who you’re looking at.

 

I have been seeing countless videos of people, especially in New York City where that big wave is happening, that got COVID and can’t travel. I’m not fully sure about that what the travel rules are but it sounds like people are having to quarantine or choosing to quarantine because they don’t want to get other people sick or maybe they are not allowed to fly. I don’t know.

When you test positive for COVID, then maybe you are not even allowed to leave technically, which sounds extreme. I’m sure you could sneak out if you wanted to but people are feeling responsible, especially if they are going to spend time with loved ones, which most of us do in the holidays. Who wants to get pass it on to somebody else? That’s a hard decision to make. Why community is becoming increasingly important is we have to rethink how we spend time with people.

We have been fortunate to have all these tools. We have video phone calls through all these different platforms. We have audio messaging, online communities that we can join, text messaging, phone calls, on and on. There are so many ways that we can connect. Does it replace spending time in person? No, but if that’s what we need to do and that’s what’s most convenient, it can be lovely.

Authenticity In Your Community

Our collective focus and emphasis on the community are so wonderful and that’s a huge “trend” for 2022. There are a couple of levels to this that are interesting and exciting. Community is about shared interests, building connections, conversations, and interacting with one another but it’s also, at its root, about people that feel they can relate to one another. A buzzword is a transparency, unfiltered, unscripted organic and authentic. Those are keys to human connection. We are going to see more and more of that in some different ways in the coming years, especially 2022 because the community is becoming this big buzzword.

You will see more apps being developed, websites, social media focus, and marketing around the world, community, which also requires us to be very mindful. It reminds me of the word authentic. That word has lost some of its authenticity for me because it has been thrown around so much. It feels like it’s not as substantial as it used to be, which is bizarre.

It lost a lot of its meaning because people are trying to be authentic. They are faking authenticity. That goes back to what I said of trying to pretend they have it all figured out and their lives are perfect. We have been conditioned to believe we have to show ourselves that way, prove ourselves, and convince others of these things that we may not be experiencing.

My hope but also belief based on some of this data for 2022 is that the community may be redefined and focus on a whole new way. Maybe it will be because of transparency. Ways for us to more easily tell when someone is authentic of it versus pretending to be authentic or using authenticity as a marketing tool. It will require us to be very discerning.

Deep and true connections that we can feel in our core and soul are going to become bigger and that has become of greater importance to me. I’m taking it very seriously. One thing I plan to talk more about that I’m hosting the show on my own is a community I started building in 2020 called Beyond Measure. I have talked about it here and there. It was a project that I wanted to do for quite some time but didn’t know how to.

I started it in June 2020, launched it on this platform, finally picked it, and had some people involved with it to help me get it off the ground mainly giving me feedback. It has been this journey of understanding what community means in a way that I didn’t before I began this. Beyond Measure was this concept for me of wanting to connect with people in ways that weren’t about the external superficial things in life. Specifically, ways in which we try to measure up to one another and try to prove our worth and our value because I believe that each of us has an innate value that we have so much love and value in many levels to offer to one another.

A community works so much better when everyone is treated equally. Click To Tweet

That’s often squelched because we are trying to prove ourselves, whether it’s our appearance, trying to look a certain way, through all these different avenues that we take to feel accepted, love and noticed. For me, a big thing with my career is it’s numbers-oriented. I’m trying to measure up by having a certain number of followers, podcast downloads or whatever other metrics. Age becomes a number. I can go on and on.

I was noticing all of this and feeling deeply sad about how much it felt like we were losing connection with one another because we were looking at these metrics. That’s the root of Beyond Measure. I started it and started connecting with people on a deep level in ways that I didn’t even know that I could. That has been magical. It’s a project that continues to unfold. Initially, I was thinking I would offer it up to the public and charge for it but it has been completely free and also private all this time. I don’t know if that will change.

Influencer Mentality

If you want to check out Beyond Measure, all you have to do is send me a message. That to me is such an important thing, creating that one-to-one connection. We are used to placing people in different tiers, I suppose. We have this celebrity thought leader, influencer mentality, which bothers me. I’m hoping that it will dissolve. Celebrity, in general, is changing drastically. We have seen the rise of the influencer, in many ways, take over celebrity, especially from a marketing standpoint.

Data has shown year after year that influencers or content creators have more influence than most celebrities, depending on who you are looking at. You could say the influencers have become celebrities. There are many examples of that. A reason for that is because influencers for the most part are seen as down-to-earth, relatable, authentic people, whereas celebrities feel like they are up on some pedestal, they are God and untouchable. They are not like us. That is showing as a trend to be shifting, which to me is exciting. I hope that it shifts, evens out more, and is not going to be influencers becoming celebrities, which is as bad as what celebrities used to be.

There are some good data around this and a phenomenal Twitter thread. A quote from that is, “The prediction that creators will build together with their communities blurring the line between creators and audience.” You can interchange creator with an influencer. “Being a creator shifts from being a “cult leader”, top-down, to being a core contributor to a community, flatter hierarchy with accountability. At a high level, we are moving from a world in which creators made their income on their own to one in which they build wealth together with communities. Lines between fans and creators blur into community ownership and the nature of being a creator is changing and reflects new incentives.”

I cannot wait for this to happen. I’m ultimately already doing that. It has been a huge evolution. For those that don’t know, I was fully in this influencer-creator world for a huge part of my career. Over time, I felt so uncomfortable in that space. I did not want to feel like a cult leader by any means. I didn’t want this top-down approach or play out in this, “I’m the leader,” where everyone is listening to me and paying attention.

Ironically, I’m running a show. You are reading and we are not communicating or having a back and forth. This is a big thing that’s going to shift, not just for me but for the entire social media industry. It’s predicted to shift into more community-oriented, and more of this contribution model and circular model.

There was a great diagram I saw about the difference between a “social media” community and a real community. The diagram was a triangle. At the top was the influencer, and then the rest of the triangle was people in the audience, versus a community is a circle. If you have ever sat in a circle with people, I’m sure you have and in school, you might have done this, a lot of groups get together and they sit purposefully in a circle, everyone was even and takes turns.

This is exactly what Beyond Measure has been. This is what I did not expect because the model I had seen over and over again was always people teaching or speaking to a group of people and an audience that was listening. What I learned through my private Beyond Measure community was that it works better when everyone was treated equally and that truly is the ethos of Beyond Measure. I’m very excited to see that as an industry trend, that is what’s predicted to happen.

MGU 305 | Community 2022

Community 2022: That’s where community comes in. That’s where this technology shifts. That’s where there is more equality. There is more collaboration. There is shared value. There is truly people working together.

 

That also ties into the sponsor, SimplyCodes, and the reason that I wanted to work with them is that on their website it says, “Our community, why we are number one is SimplyCodes is powered by people like you. You can help your fellow shoppers by sharing your codes.” It’s all about sharing value, thriving, and earning rewards. SimplyCodes is working on that behind the scenes. This whole world is going to be rewarding on so many levels.

I will talk more about that in another episode I have hinted at. I have been working on a project called WELL coin as part of this platform called Rally, which is a Web3 cryptocurrency blockchain project. If that’s all gibberish to you, don’t worry. It allows creators to build these true communities where they get to reward people and everyone is sharing financial value. I’m wearing this sweatshirt for Rally. I’ve got on that platform in August 2021 simply because I was so curious about Web3 technology and all that. Web3 is all based on community. I plan to talk a ton about Web3. I don’t think we are going to be able to avoid it in 2022.

The Transition To Web 3.0 And True Collaboration

My last trend and prediction are, we are moving. By the end of 2021, we are in Web2 technically. I don’t know when the transition to Web3 officially happens, if it does, one day we will wake up and we will be in what they call Web3. That’s where the community comes in, this technology shifts, and there is more equality and collaboration. There is shared value and truly people working together. That brings me so much hope for 2022 and beyond. I hope it works out that way.

I don’t know about you but I am tired of this top-down approach. This MLM mentality, where the person at the top is getting all the benefits and trickles down, and maybe the people at the bottom get a little bit if any. This is one of the reasons why companies like Amazon, as convenient and affordable as they could be, are not going to benefit us and hopefully may crumble. Hopefully, the small businesses will thrive and we can find a way to make it feel more circular together and community-oriented.

I have a big belief in that. I’m seeing the trends in the data which should hopefully give you some faith. I’m encouraging you to rethink things and know that we are all taking it little by little. None of us know exactly what’s going to happen but hopefully, it will come to a place where we feel more connected and supported, feel less alone, and feel less inequality. I believe it and I hope that you do, too.

If this episode has resonated with you, I feel SimplyCodes will resonate with you, too. They are a small team of people. I have interacted with them directly. I’ve got to know them and thought that they would be a wonderful addition here. I wanted to make sure that you knew that there’s a community right within what they are doing. Even using tools like that restores my faith because it’s truly about people coming together to support one another on so many levels.

SimplyCodes is a community team of people that made that, and then they developed the technology to support all different types of businesses across the web to bring them more customers. They are supporting the customers by helping them save money, and then the customers are all collaborating to help other people save money. It’s all coming full circle in so many ways.

Everybody can thrive and I’m able to thrive too because I’m supporting SimplyCodes by promoting them. You are saving money. You can invest in small businesses. You, following the show, are supporting me. It’s all circular. This is what is developing throughout the upcoming stages of the web in the future, so let’s celebrate that.

Speaking of celebrating it, I want to make sure that you know how truly important you are to me. If I were to guess, I don’t know you at all. I don’t know what percentage of readers of this show I have communicated with but I would be willing to bet it is at most 10% or maybe 20%. It depends. Podcasts are hard to track. You don’t just get a subscriber number. I see how many people read to each episode of the show.

Based on the average number, I would guess that I only hear from maybe 1% to 5% of you directly in terms of you reaching out regularly so I know some of the regular followers. There is a huge chunk of followers of the show that I probably have never heard from or don’t know that they follow this show. I want to close out this episode by reinforcing the fact that I want to know you truly because that is community. My ideal would be that we would feel like we are sitting in a circle and while technology evolves, there will be more and more opportunities for them.

Here are the current opportunities. One is the easiest. Please send me a message. I’m on my own so it can feel a little bit lonely doing this show. If you reach out to me through Instagram, DM on either the, @Wellevatr account or my @WhitneyLauritsen, which is my account. DM me there if you are on Instagram. DM me on TikTok and on Twitter. I am on all these platforms. On Facebook, you can send me a message there but I don’t check as much. It may take me a while to see your message.

Social media is a great way to reach me. Email is a universal thing that most people have, so email me as well. The email address is on the Wellevatr website. I would love to hear from you. You can let me hear your voice through some of these platforms that you can record audio messages on. If you want to go the extra mile, do that.

If you want to go the extra mile, the ultimate way to connect with me is to come and check out the Beyond Measure community. There are no strings attached. You don’t have to pay anything. All you have to do is send me a message through email or social media and say, “Whitney, I want to check out Beyond Measure.” I will send you an invite and you sign up for it. We have weekly calls in a roundtable-style where everybody is heard and everyone is contributing. You could mute yourself and not say anything if you would like but I want you to know it is a place where everyone is equal, where everyone is heard and gets to connect.

What’s beautiful about Beyond Measure is you don’t just get to connect with me but you get to connect with everyone else. It is truly full circle and equal. It’s not about me. It’s about us. My big goal in 2022, if I haven’t made it clear enough, is that community. I would love to hear from you one-on-one. I would love to bring you into the community. I’m going to be working hard to build a greater community so that you are not just reading the show but feel part of a community.

That’s it for this episode. Thank you so much for reading. Thank you to SimplyCodes for sponsoring. If you want to check them out to support me, them, and yourself financially, go to SimplyCodes.com/wellevatr. That will direct you to the iOS app. If you do not use an Apple device, then go to SimplyCodes.com and check out their browser extensions. Let me know what you think when you reach out to me via message. I will be back on Friday with a special guest. That one is my beautiful inside and out a friend, Liz. There are lots of great guests coming up for you in 2022. Thank you so much for reading.

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