Happy GAIAversary!

Since ancient times, numbers were associated with mystical meanings. Although any number itself has its own separate symbolic sense, the number 12 has particular importance in history. The spiritual symbolism of 12 crosses religious and cultural boundaries, suggesting an innate mystical quality. Number 12 represents a full circle and was one of the most significant numbers in ancient cultures, having a direct and dependent relationship with the zodiacs as well as with the months of the year, whether they were determined by a lunar or a solar calendar.

At GAIA Insights, this year we are celebrating our 12th anniversary – and in some weird way it also feels like we’re coming full circle. When we look back, it’s been an incredible rollercoaster experience. Starting as a solopreneur venture back in 2012, the first few years were dedicated to brand building and establishing credibility. In 2015, we launched our first global leadership program, which to this day remains a career highlight for those who had the privilege to be involved. At a time, when holistic leadership journeys and hybrid working had not yet become mainstream trends, we were building our expertise as a niche provider, and we did so by operating a 100% virtual business model.

The next few years were marked by exponential hypergrowth, tripling turnover year on year. We ran up to 10 global programs in parallel, our team grew, we expanded our offering in the form of an online leadership game. We shifted towards a horizontal organization, we applied regenerative principles and even became a certified B Corporation. Then, in 2020, the global pandemic hit, and the world stood still. All programs that were running or planned at the time, were concluded virtually, postponed, and eventually cancelled. Much of what we had built over the course of a decade, what we had put our blood, sweat and tears into, was fading away. Our staff diminished, so did our financial reserves. We were not sure if we would make it.

By now, this feeling of uncertainty is the new routine. By now, it has become clear that there is no ‘going back to normal’. What is normal in a world that keeps getting more volatile, more complex, more unpredictable? We used the past few years to question and reaffirm what we stand for. Our vision of making the world a better place by developing people to lead from within has never seemed more important and worthwhile, and it has certainly been a source of inspiration, hope and perseverance throughout the years. Our values – integrity, courage, positivity, and passion – have been put to the test many times. And yet, here we are. Still. Against all odds.

12 years after GAIA Insights was introduced to the world, it seems we are back at square one. A tiny core team still fueled by our mission and the desire to leave a legacy. Still inspired by the idea of making a humble difference. Still caring for people, planet and purpose. And yet, there is one important difference compared to 2012: We are going into our next cycle of 12 more than a decade wiser! If anything, we honed our skills and continue to design and deliver top quality leadership development, confirmed by our participants year on year. At an organizational level, deliberate decision-making and anticipatory actions have served us well and will continue to guide us as we navigate continuous change, working through shared feelings of frustration, disappointment and grief, but also making space for new beginnings. As poet Hermann Hesse wrote: “There is a miracle in every new beginning.”

Among our clients, we are known for going ‘all in’. Whatever we do, we don’t do it half-heartedly. The next 12 years won’t be an exception to this rule. Happy GAIAversary!

Authored by Martina Mangelsdorf, Chief Strategic Dreamer at GAIA Insights.