It was one month ago today that I participated in the greatest parade...the parade OUT of the hospital. The parade was led by friends and family, all who gathered to mark the importance that I was DONE with chemo! Remembering that parade still makes me smile.
In the days since, I have had strong days and weak days. The weak days make me crazy. Tears flow. I can't name the reason. I'm slow in my movements. That frustrates me. I fatigue easily. I want to push through it. I think I should be farther along. It just is. Then, I try to focus on the goodness--all of the people who have held me up for the last six months, who have included me—whether in their thoughts and prayers, in their encouragement of me personally, or in their support of work that we’re doing. I think about the things I have learned. Family matters. Forgiveness matters. Relationships matter. People matter. Life matters. Cancer sucks.
Since I’ve been on this journey, I’ve been a lot more contemplative about the world in general. When I consider the work that we’re doing, sometimes I question the real heart of organizations and corporations. Does inclusion really matter? Do women matter? Does each individual have value to the organization? Or is all of the “talk” about the importance and value of human capital part of the script that enables corporations to feel better about themselves without really taking action to create change? Of course, there ARE some corporations actively involved in creating real and meaningful change. I’d ask those who aren’t to just stop talking.
This work is not just the responsibility of HR, or Diversity and Inclusion. Corporations are made up of individual people. I wonder what kind of world we could create if each of us committed individually to taking the “talk” to an actual “walk” of inclusion. Here are some ideas:
1. Pay attention. When was the last time you actually thought about how inclusive you are? Have you considered your own biases? What if you sought out, every day, at least one opportunity to engage with someone that you’ve not engaged with before—especially if and when they look different than you do?
2. Use Your Voice. When you witness inequities, speak up. When conversations seem exclusive, stop them. When words seems to minimize the value of someone else, encourage different words. Fight the notion to stay quiet. When your gut tells you that conversations or circumstances are unfair, pay attention and take action.
3. Acknowledge Others. When you see others honoring the value of human capital, acknowledge them. Encouraging others to be inclusive builds a community of individuals who will create change.
4. See the Good in Others. Regardless of your long held beliefs about another, push restart. Assume the good. It’s amazing what can happen when we look for the light in others rather than darkness.
5. Stand Up. Stand Out. Create Real Change. Every journey starts with a first step, and that first step requires that we stand up. What do YOU stand for? What do YOU believe? Next, we need to let go of our fears and stand out. Standing out requires that we take inventory of that which matters so we’re able to speak and act with conviction about those things. Creating real change means taking action. Talking less. Listening more. Taking action to create real goodness in our world.
Imagine a world where everyone was committed to increasing goodness. That would mean inclusion of all. That would mean that each and every one of us mattered. We do! AND we’re required to do the work.
Let’s start today. What will YOU do to deliver goodness in the world?