Sofia Appelgren is the founder of Mitt Liv company, which in translation from Swedish means “my life”. Since 2008, Mitt Liv has worked on the vision of creating an inclusive society and a labor market that values diversity. Today, their primary two target groups are companies and organizations that through concrete solutions want to develop their diversity and inclusion work, as well as academics with a foreign background who have difficulty finding jobs corresponding to their skills in Sweden.
I found out about Mitt Liv through a friend, and I’ve been following their work for almost eight years, and I saw all the journey that this company had to go through, how they grew and what they continue doing, and that’s why I was very thrilled about having this conversation with Sofia.
One of the most valuable outcomes of this interview for me was the topic of importance of discussing values with kids. Sofia herself is reflecting on the times when she as a kid was raised in Christian values, since her mom wanted to be a pastor and Sofia herself was attending a religious Christian kindergarten. She remarks on how beneficial for her was to talk about Christian values at such an early age, and go help people around her.
Why is it so important to start this early? Sofia says that it’s because as a kid you never judge. You just get an early understanding that the world is different for all of us. And because some people are privileged and some are not, you have to do something about it. This feeling of responsibility has come and gone, as well as the frustration about the injustice. This is what gave Sofia a strong drive for doing something.
Since her father was traveling through many countries, at the dinner table they would often discuss different cultures and the various ways people in other countries live. And it’s very important for us as leaders in our families, with our kids, but also as leaders in the companies, to know how to bring up such topics, in order to raise curiosity and values.
To be able to address those topics, Sofia suggests first to figure out what values actually mean to you, define them. You have to explain to kids that we are all human, and even if we were out to address the differences between people, we also have to talk a lot about similarities between us. Kids are very curious and don’t have prejudice, so you have to maintain this curiosity and learn together with them, when they ask you questions. Kids should be proud of who they are and what their roots are. But the main thing is when you set the values that are important to you, make them common and share them with others, so that people can respect them. That goes for kids, companies, personal relationships, because only by having a strong foundation of values can you build strong relationships.
If you are interested to find out more about Sofia’s story and why she founded Mitt Liv, why followership is the biggest test for leadership, the importance of cognitive diversity or practical tips on how to expand your normal, listen to the whole recording here.
Stay tuned and be genius!