I’m sure like me, when you think back on the last year you’re filled with conflicting emotions. It’s been about a year since the very first lockdown and while in some ways it feels like the world has stood still, in others so much has changed.
From the unique personal challenges each person has had to deal with, to the shared trials we’ve faced together, if the last year has taught us anything it is that we are an incredibly strong, resilient and remarkable species. From our heroic frontline workers, to patient parents, brave children, and every person who has remained strong despite great loss, we as humans are capable of facing the worst of times and making it through.
As a team, we have spent time reflecting on what has helped us to continue swimming in the deep waters of this pandemic. And while we have each found help in different things, one thing has been consistent with all: Hope.
In the worst of times, hope has promised a better tomorrow. In the hardest moments, it has offered relief. In heartbreak and desperation, hope has acted as a shoulder to cry on. And even in the mundane, where it feels like nothing is happening, nothing is changing and nothing is left, hope has shared the glimpse of light at the end of this very long tunnel.
I guess for all of us, no matter who we are or what the last year has looked like in our individual lives, we all need hope. It is what gets us from one day to the next, and unlike so much in this world, it isn’t limited to some. Hope is one of the few things that is universal and one of the few things that is absolutely essential. And because hope is so needed and so necessary in our lives, not just now but always, it is our theme for this year.
So if you’re asking us, why hope? Well, because what else. What else is as powerful, what else is as true, what else is as critical… What else?
In 2021, as we all try to begin to rise from the devastation that 2020 brought, what else is there to help us to do so but hope.
Just recently we launched four exciting new Hope Sweet Hope products! While that may seem like nothing major, for us these products hold so much significance. You see, when we launched our very first Hope Sweet Hope products a few years ago, we had absolutely no intention whatsoever to keep producing more. Hope Sweet Hope was meant to be a one-off, a no-biggie, and certainly not such a big part of who we are today!
Yet, its meaning surpassed the clothing it was on and what we noticed was that each person who wore one of the products, attached their own meaning of hope to them. All kinds of people, from all walks of life, all around the world, were wearing these three words with so much pride and filling them with so much meaning. It was almost as if Hope Sweet Hope became a movement of sorts and today it is one of our most-loved products. Upon reflection about why this is so, it seemed to us that the only possible explanation came down to the fact that hope, while it may look a little different for everyone, is universal in its effect on our lives. Hope always brings the promise of something better, it never fails to leave us some sort of encouragement - even the smallest fraction of it, and it is unfailing in its ability to bring us a sense of peace that everything will be okay. Hope, whatever it looks like to you, is one of the few things we all share.
And with this in mind, we decided that Hope Sweet Hope couldn’t possibly stop where it started. In the same way it brought comfort and compassion into the lives of so many individuals experiencing homelessness through both its message and the Wear One, Share One products attached to it, it also brought, and continues to bring, the same positivity into the lives of each customer who wears these words across their chest.
The message behind Hope Sweet Hope - a message that says that hope is more powerful than a home and more than just a place to rest your head but a place to rest your heart - is so crucial to OutsideIn and our mission to change the face of homelessness worldwide, that we decided to make it our theme for the year.
Throughout 2020 there were so many days for us as a business and for each person within OutsideIn personally, where the first thing on our minds was to just get through the day. But in 2021, we don’t want to be focused on merely scraping by, instead we want to instil a culture of hopefulness for all that’s ahead. It won’t be easy and we’re sure that there’ll be some days when hope just doesn’t feel possible, but we are using hope as a reminder of what it is we are here to do. Because without hope for tomorrow and for the future beyond us, we simply wouldn’t be able to show up everyday and pour out our best into everything we do. And if we fail to do that, we fail to fight for a better life for those experiencing homelessness. It’s these incredible people who are why we do what we do.
We would love to encourage you to share in our vision of our mission to instill hope this year. We know life isn’t easy and we understand that sometimes the knocks just keep coming. Don’t worry, we get it. But we also know that without hope, there’s little chance of a comeback. We want you to know that no situation is too bad for hope to work its way in and change everything. The smallest bit of pure hope is potent. It can change you, it can change your outlook, in fact, we think it can even change the world.
So no matter who you are or what’s going on, we want to share some hope with you. There are so many great things ahead of you! And whatever struggles you had to overcome in 2020, be encouraged by the fact that you got through them. And if you’re still in them, know that we are rooting for you.
As we get ready for March, let’s celebrate hope. Let’s allow it to enter into our worlds and propel us into our futures.
Whatever is going on, you got this. And we got you. And together, we all got a little bit of hope to share.