Inclusion starts with I
Do you believe your mind is free of judgement? Do you think you do not favour one person over another based on the way they look, think or live?
Do you think you can sit back and judge others from your convenient chair with a ‘woke’ sign on the back?
Everybody has prejudices. Is biased. Judges. That is how we are constructed. How we make sense of the world we live in.
Don’t try to deny it or get rid of it. Just be aware of it and look at it. Don’t be ashamed of it, learn from it.
Study yourself. Your thoughts, your words, and your behaviour. You need to work on your blind spots. Train yourself to become aware of your conditioning. Recognise who you truly are, caught up in your prison of beliefs.
Just like you need to train your body to stay strong and healthy, you need to train your mind to be open and inclusive.
Challenge your own ideas en views constantly. Get uncomfortable. Go to areas that scare you and walk around. Talk to people. How different is it from what you are used to?
Give up your privileges. Offer your comfortable chair to someone who is not even invited to the party.
Leave your ego at home. Are you really the best candidate for this position or can you pass your chair to someone that would be better but is not considered?
Stay focused on the goal. When people don’t listen to your story, let someone else tell it. It hurts but it is not about you. It is about the message.
Pick those battles with nothing for you to gain. Be the man that fights for women’s rights. The straight person who battle homophobia. The white girl standing up against black oppression.
Talk to people you disagree with. Don’t try to convince them they are wrong, because they are not. They just have different ideas. The only way forward is to understand where these ideas come from.
How can you be fighting for inclusion and preaching for different perspectives if you are not able to make space for views that do not mirror yours?
Ask questions and be truthful. Be empathetic. Feel the pain of others. Make them part of your journey.
Look at your friends. Do they look like you? Do they all dress, talk and dance like you? Make new friends.
Talk to kids. Look at them. Listen.
Push yourself, but don’t push anyone else. Radical new thinking needs time. Nobody changes their mind overnight. Plant a seed. Allow it time to grow.
It is not about being right. It is about doing the right thing.
It takes hard work. But it is worth it. I promise.
Inclusion is not a fight or a challenge. It is a huge opportunity to grow. As a human being. As a company. As a culture.
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