Eller Everett is a co-founder of BothOfUs, a technology and design consultancy that use their expertise in UI/UX design, web, app and hardware development to develop social impact initiatives and projects working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Why are purpose and sustainability so important to you?
To be honest, I would start by saying why isn’t it important to everyone? Everyone lives on the planet and in society. Everyone is affected by climate change, by human rights violations. It should be the responsibility of everyone really, because it’s our whole world, it’s not just up to a few people to try and make positive changes. It’s about everyone trying to do their bit.
I think it’s important for people to think beyond themselves and the people around us, and what we’re doing globally. The key thing is to think holistically and globally because it’s not just how something affects you directly, but actually, how does it affect the planet and society in general? I think it’s important to have conscientiousness and ask, is what I’m doing positive for people, for the planet? Or is it not?
How has running a business changed your life?
For me, it’s being able to put all of my time into something I really believe in. So, it’s not like work, it’s my passion. Sometimes it can be really hard and feel like you’re fighting this impossible battle to create a better world. But, when you’re doing it around amazing people, like the brilliant people I work with, it’s amazing.
Every day I get to speak to incredibly inspirational people. And then it changes from being an impossible battle to being like a joy. You know, it’s like, oh, this is amazing. Because it gives you hope, and it means that I feel like I’m not just sitting there waiting for things to change. I can be part of that change and try and influence other people to be part of that change as well.
What challenges have you had to overcome and how did you do this?
My main challenge and this has probably been this way my whole life, not just in business but with everything is my inability to say ‘no’. I would always say ‘yes’, because I think everything is wonderful. Now that I’m having a business, you can’t do that. To survive you have to make decisions on what is also best for the business. They have to be conscious and they have to be sustainable and social choices, but unfortunately, it means that you can’t say yes to absolutely everything. I had a coaching session recently with a wonderful leadership coach and he said to me one of the things that measures your success is also the things that you say ‘no’ to. And I love that. I’ve always prided myself on always saying yes, and always doing things.
What tips do you have for people?
I would say to just be yourself. I know there are some things I know that I’m not good at, at all. And for me, trying to change myself to fit into this, to fit into this kind of leadership style or that kind of personality, I’m never going to succeed because it’s not who I am. So I think it’s really important to be yourself and to find your angle, you know, what are you good at? And how can you make the most work with the people around you?
I would also say, just really, really doing something that you believe in. Because if you don’t believe in it, it’s never going to work. Because your heart is not going to be in it. But if you’re doing something that you believe in, not only do you enjoy it a lot more, but it becomes more of a hobby than a job. I believe that if you’re doing something with all of your passion and you’re loving it, then you will be successful.
How have your approaches to challenges changed over the years?
I think being able to say ‘no’ to things. I also think believing in myself and that if I set my mind to something, and really believe in it, then things are possible. One of the main things is that life should be about enjoyment and celebration. And although life is difficult, especially trying to make a better world, especially when there are a lot of negative things going on in the world. But I think it’s also trying to focus on the positive sides. There’s this concept called Dragon Dreaming and it focuses on four different stages to what you do. So it’s Dreaming, Planning, Doing and Celebrating. It’s really important to celebrate things and say, we’ve done something brilliant.
I think it’s really important to think about things positively. By thinking ‘this is something brilliant we can all do together to make an amazing change’. The more positive it is, then I think we can bring more people together to make a bigger impact.
What gives you hope for the future?
I think, especially this last year is seeing, there are these massive networks and connections of people doing amazing things. And it’s a lot bigger than I realized, which is just amazing to see and it’s completely global. I think this last year, communication and connection are so much it’s easier. Every day I’m talking to people from literally the other side of the world. Yesterday I spoke to someone in New Zealand and then I spoke to someone in the US.
As soon as you connect with someone brilliant, or connect with a lot of people doing amazing things. I think it gives you more motivation because trying to do something on your own is just a bit difficult. I’m in slack groups of 5,000 people all talking about the circular economy, which is incredible. All of these kinds of initiatives are getting a lot of momentum, which is, wonderful.
Do you have a short quote that sums up what you believe?
This is something my dad has always said and he is also my hero. And that is simply to be good ancestors. And that’s it. That’s the aim. That’s the aim of life is to be a good ancestor. So put your whole life into being a good ancestor.
Is there anything else you want to add?
I have recently come across this idea and now it keeps popping up at me and that is the idea of paying it forward. If someone is good to you or says something nice to you, or similar. You can pay it forward and keep this love, this appreciation going through society and your networks. So do something nice or do something nice to others. I think this is so nice.