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Diversity Beyond the Surface

Diversity Beyond the Surface

Diversity is more than a department in an organization or any one label to create civic changes. The most simple and most complex definition is “the state of being diverse; variety”.

The best word I’ve heard recently to help me navigate the space is background. This blog is scary for me because I may unintentionally hit a nerve that I don’t even know is there. I’m sharing opinions, views, my understanding, which are not the same as facts. I respect the opinions, views, and understanding of others even when they differ from mine. I deliberately chose a visual that did not include people because it was difficult to find one that truly conveyed diversity to me. Books are a great symbol of the many layers of diversity.

 

Backgrounds

 

We were all born somewhere. None of us had a choice in the matter. Yet, that single event sets the tone for our lives.

We can learn to adapt, navigate circumstances and decide to change. However, nothing changes that event. When was the last time you asked or were asked where you were born? Interestingly, I was asked that question this week! In a team building exercise, 11 people shared their place of birth and favorite thing about it. Even the question of what was your favorite part makes assumptions. Is it possible that someone could NOT have a favorite thing about where they were born?

What if the question was – where were you born and what do you want others to know about it? THEN, what if the receiver of that information listened to understand without judgement? Is that too much utopia for the first topic? Maybe…. and it seems really possible.

 

Experiences

 

Have you ever met someone with the exact same experiences as you? If your answer is yes, it’s possible you’ve had your identity stolen and should check your credit report – lol. I’ve NEVER met someone with exactly the same experiences as I’ve had. Of course, there have been a small handful that I share many experiences with. When this happens, I usually say – I found my people. There are far more that I don’t share many experiences with. Are they NOT my people? No. What I really mean when I say I found my people is that the person gets me and I think I get them. Humans want to belong. That is not the same as conform, fit in, be allowed to be or do something.

We each have our own unique experiences that shape how we think, feel, and act. We each have choices for how we integrate those experiences with our lives. If I ask myself about my comment – I found my people – through the lens of diversity I have a different thought. Here goes – tell me what you think – All people are my people. Rather than view experiences as the shared or different, I think – they just are and I have something to learn from any and all of them.

 

Thoughts

 

This topic is one of my biggest triggers! I find myself in sooooooo many situations where I either think differently or think I think differently than many of my peers. I spend such a large amount of my time at work that it really challenges me. I regularly wrestle with compromise and conviction.

When is it appropriate to compromise? When is it important to have conviction? I have gotten better at disagreeing and aligning. However, the closer a thought is to my deeply held values, the harder it is to move past my thoughts. So instead of continuing to do the hard thing, I begun to add to my thoughts. I’ve added some questions.

First, is my thought true? We don’t have to believe all of our thoughts and can recognize that our “true” is not Truth. Second, how do I know? That’s a stop me in my thought tracks question.  If my answer is I don’t….at the very least I can keep the thought to myself because it may not add value to share it. My observation is that there is a really bizarre phenomena in our world that thoughts have become interchangeable with facts. Does that make anyone else but me a little nervous? I hope for a world where we can share thoughts and have them respected. I don’t want to be convinced to think differently and find it exhausting to attempt to convince others. Influencer? No, thank you. Inspire? Sure thing! I love the words thought leader/leadership.

 

Opinions

 

Are opinions the same as thoughts? For me, not always. However, I do see them in similar ways. I also ask myself similar questions. The main difference for me is the intention or result . When I share thoughts or thought leadership, it’s about giving and sharing. It feels like an obligation to serve by sharing the successes or failures I’ve had that helped me grow as a leader. I’m not attached to the outcome. I tend to see opinions have an intention to convince or influence with attachment to an outcome. For some that works beautifully. I think we need both and prefer the philosophy that I am a leader if others WANT to follow. I consider that inspiration more than influence.

 

 

Feelings

 

Feelings for me are synonymous with flashes. I have hundreds maybe thousands of flashes on any given day. Some are bright. Some are pastel. Some are dark. They come and go in no particular order. I don’t always feel like I have control of them. However, as I grow and evolve I am better at recognizing what feeling and what thought led to it. I also recognize that the flashes may go as quick as they come, so it helps to take a beat, pause, breathe, close my eyes, etc. versus reacting to allllll the things. Those last two simple sentences have been absolutely life changing for me.

From a diversity perspective, I’ve learned that I am highly sensitive and empathetic annnnnnndddd not everyone feels like I do annnnnndddd that is a great thing. Can you imagine if everyone was highly sensitive and empathetic? What would be different in our world if we appreciated the way others feel and how that manifests? If appreciation is a leap, how about seeking to understand?

 

 

Actions

 

The topic of actions is for me the one that causes concern. I don’t believe in sticks and stones…but there can be a permanence to actions that makes at the difference. Our world has become so fast paced that the path from thoughts, feelings, and actions is short and the consequences can be long. Diversity has become a more commonplace word. That’s a GREAT thing IF we maintain focus on the underlying thoughts, opinions, and actions. Individual, group, organization, company, government….actions are all important for us to say we are diverse, live diversely, or honor diversity. What actions serve? What actions cost?

 

 

Diversity is so much deeper than what we see.  Is it possible that in a world that can feel out of control, we may gravitate to the things we can control like our thoughts, opinions, likes, etc.  and lean in to them to such a degree that we lose sight of the power of connection? When was the last time you tried to control something and it went well versus when you connected and it went well?  I’m not by any stretch trying to minimize the reality that what we see on the surface plays a huge factor in whether we truly live diversely. My view is that our thoughts, feelings, and actions have the power to create real change. As a human, I have the daily gift of choice for who I will be and what I will do. That comes along with the daily challenge to resist judgement, envy, competition, fear…..and choose acceptance, support, relationship, and LOVE. I am a work in progress. Connect with me so we can work in progress together!

3 Ways to Leap in February

3 Ways to Leap in February

 

I learned today that February means cleanse.

I started thinking about what cleansing means to me. My mind usually goes in multiple directions which may or may not connect with each other. I was finally able to see some themes and I narrowed them down to 3. These are my 3 and they are not particularly in order. It’s more like they are the top 3 of many more thoughts – because well…..overthinker. They all felt like leaps to me. You may have an entirely different set. They may spark thoughts, feelings, or actions for you and I’d love to connect with you about them.

1. Don’t waste your pain and re-channel your energy

For those of us who have experienced pain or trauma, we have each had many moments when we have to make a choice about how to move forward. Going back as far as my little 5 year old self, I can reflect on times that awful things happened.

In the moment, I didn’t always make the best decision and for many years one bad situation compounded into the next. Life wasn’t all bad, but there were enough bad things happening that caused me anxiety and depression. I was in some negative cycles for years.

By the grace of God, people and events happened that started to slowly enable a CLEANSE and shift to more positive cycles. That didn’t change how painful the awful things were, but paved a different path forward. Family dysfunction, abusive relationships, money struggles, shame – those could all have led to with very different life than the one I’m currently blessed with.

I was listening to an episode of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday a few years ago. Glennon Doyle was the guest. She talked about addiction and at one point said that she decided not to waste her pain. That very simple sentence struck like lightning and I’ve never forgotten it. Today, I am committed to not wasting my pain. I can re-channel it to grow myself and help others.

Where are there areas in your life where you have experienced pain? What would be different if that pain was re-channeled for your growth?

2. A second life and a mid-life awakening

For the past several years, I have had a nagging feeling that something was missing in my life. It felt a bit selfish because my life was great in so many ways. I had a great husband, kids, friends, home, career….and still I wanted more. However, I couldn’t put my finger on what. So, I kept going. The days, months, and years passed.

In 2018, I started to have glimpses of clarity. In 2019, I realized I didn’t want more. I wanted to give back. I had been reading and listening to a ton of information about individuals who were finding their purpose (it was the thing). The consistent thread across all of them was that they did not think about or see the same constraints I did. Each of the individuals had some part of their life that was all about AND. It wasn’t this or that. It was this and that. I had to CLEANSE my mindset.

I wanted to spend more time coaching AND keep my full time job. Now, almost 2 years later I have learned more than in the past 20. I have a coaching business AND a successful career. I am thinking about more speaking events AND a book. It’s a ton of work AND highly rewarding. My perspective is that I didn’t change my life. I started or added a second life. Some people have a mid life crisis. I had a mid life awakening.

What have you put off because you think or feel you have to choose it over something else? What if you thought about an AND?

3. Clarify and Refine

The New Year is the most obvious time of time to set goals. That’s usually true for me. And then….pandemic. Nothing has been the same. The last two weeks of 2020 didn’t seem the same because we didn’t have the same milestone events with family and friends. The beginning of the year snuck up and started off very busy.

Sometime around the middle of the month, I started to feel overwhelmed and realized I needed to CLEANSE – clarify my priorities and refine my actions. I invested time on opening the planner I purchased and had been avoiding, adding calendar events, and looking for ways to automate steps in the business. This meant being disciplined in a way that is outside of my typical approach.

At work, I shared my priorities with my team and began taking intentional actions to match what I shared. I am a people pleaser at heart and saying no was very uncomfortable. I learned a couple of lessons. First, I was more concerned about saying no that others were about hearing it. The time I gained back had higher returns for myself and many others. While the latter may not always be the case, the former gives me more reason to continue the CLEANSE.

What areas do you want to CLEANSE? What do you need to resolve for that to happen?

I don’t propose that anything I’m sharing here is a fact. These are my opinions and experiences and I share them as food for thought. The specific food – watermelon. Enjoy the fruit and spit out the seeds. Take what adds most value.

Want to work with me, connect, or enjoy more fruit?

Til next blog…..

LL

 

 

 

When things don’t go as planned…..

When things don’t go as planned…..

I woke up this morning about 8 am, showered, grabbed coffee ….wait before that I wrote a short to do list that included – 4 simple items. 1) Watch Launch videos 2) Write blog post about fear of finishing 3) LAUNCH (underlined several times with exclamation points). I added the 4th item to post on social channels. Ok, back to coffee….I made my coffee and a quick breakfast thinking – I should eat breakfast today because I’m going to be busy working on all things launchy and might not take time for lunch. At this point I was excited and had butterflies about my newly designed website launch. It is 12:59 and each minute that passes adds to my dread that this launch may not happen today – after I committed on all the socials to launch today. I’m feeling pretty crappy. Here’s what happened in the time between 8ish and 1ish:

 

To Do # 1 – Watch Launch Videos

 

When I started down the path of a website re-design, I bought a  Website course from Brooke Lawson. I learned about her and her services in a writer’s retreat hosted by Sara Connell. I really enjoyed Brooke’s style and personality and when the time came that I was ready to stop feeling guilty about the initial money I spent working with a previous designer for my first attempt at a business site. In hindsight, I wasn’t ready to articulate my brand to someone. There was also something about building the site myself that gave me an appreciation for alllllllllllllll the things already done for me in corporate America. As a small business owner/entrepreneur, I either have to do those things myself or pay someone to do it. If you are an entrepreneur reading this, I KNOW you know this and might be smiling or empathizing with me. Anywhooooo, Brooke’s course was AMAZING! She provides a beautifully designed template that you use and fill in your content. She goes a step further to provide prompts in the template to help with content creation. For example, on the About Me page she reminded me what to and not to put on a page like that. That may seem like a no brainer, but when you an entrepreneur infant, it is priceless! THEN, she goes further to provide videos that literally teach and walk you through the steps of building the site. I built my site on WordPress and I would have cried and quit without those videos. Her teaching style is genius because she only teaches one piece at a time very intentionally so you don’t try to get ahead of yourself and get totally overwhelmed. Guess which little miss know it all tried to get ahead only to get tangled in a ball of yarn of her own making? So, when it came to the Launch, I was going to be a proper student and watch the damn video first.

 

So it’s now 1:25, and I just got off a 1 hour and 45 minute call about domains and hosting. This had nothing to do with the video. There were details of domains I did not know. My journey of starting a coaching business that began in June of 2019 has been a series of unlearning, learning new, and sometimes re-learning lessons. I would like to believe that I have learned most of “the things” I need to know to be ……..amazingly successful helping thousands of individuals, posting all my success all over the socials, enjoying a life of peace and freedom, and so on and so on. However, after working literally hundreds of hours, giving up weeknights, and full weekends sometimes, running into technology and emotional obstacles and achieving ONE huge accomplishment for me today I am 100% confident that I can figure out whatever is in front of me.

 

I’m not going to talk about the other to-do’s here. I went into the amount of detail I did about #1 to share that something worth accomplishing has a beginning, middle, and end. Sometimes those stages will be quick and simple. Other times, they may have layers and layers of shtuff. How you choose to deal with alllllll of that based on WHO you are can take you down your path of success. Now, I have to wrap this up because my new website is

 

 

LAUNCHED!!!!

Do You Have a Big But?

Do You Have a Big But?

 Do you remember a time when big butts were not in? Then big butts became popular. The world changed, society changed…..and I’m not talking about physical butts – stay with me – this is a LinkedIn topic, I promise.

 

How is BUT impacting your life or career?

That tiny little word made up of three simple letters can really impact the design of your life   

How many books or articles have you read that say don’t use that word? Have you heard of the complibut? 

Well, here’s the thing – just like having a healthy body image is not about your butt – having a healthy life design is not about your big but. When you start to dig deeper you will find that who you are at your core is what you must know to design a life you love.

What makes using that word ok for you? What are you accepting in your life that allows that word to be so common and easy to say? What are the inner thoughts, emotions, and actions you have or take everyday that make your but bigger?  

As you prepare for your New Year, here are a couple of things to consider? Do you love your big but more than your unique traits, skills, and talents that make you amazing? What would you think if someone you love only talked about their big but instead of who they are and what makes them absolutely special? 

What if you no longer focused on your big but and loved yourself and all that you are and are capable of doing? What would be different? What would that feel like? 

Your call to action is to pay attention to how many times your big but gets in your way? How often do you say it? What could be different if you replaced it with another thought? Want to talk about that? I’m just a message away. 

Independence, Dependence, Freedom

The past few weeks, geez maybe months have been a rollercoaster ride. Can you relate? I’ve worked through physical issues, battled some inner demons, worked full time, and made an effort every day to invest time in this business. I’ve had days of feeling overwhelmed and have gotten upset with myself for taking on too much. I alllllways take on ….Then….

This morning I woke up thinking (patience, there is a plot twist) it really sucks that we should be leaving for New York today to see Samantha. We had already postponed the trip once and it would be so much fun to be in NYC for the 4th….prior to 2020. My heart was heavy and I was pissed if I’m being honest. Fortunately for me, my morning routine includes some form of audio or written scripture. It’s like my coffee before the giant cup of coffee I really drink.

So, I read the Word and a thought comes to me from Him. How flippin’ lucky am I to have these problems.? I live in a country that is focused on safety. I have a job AND can put some time into a side hustle. I am sitting in bed in the home I absolutely love typing up this post with all the equipment I need. I have the most amazing support system around me. I have technology at my fingertips and I can Zoom with Samantha all day if I wanted (p.s. NOBODY wants that)

So, here’s what – to show gratitude for all the freedoms I am so fortunate to have, I am committing to posting every day in July. The mere thought of that gives me heart palpitations, BUT in addition to many studies that have proven this – I know that when I tell someone I am going to do something, I do it, no matter how hard or uncomfortable it is. So, I’m doing it. I’m also asking for your help. If you’ve read this far, tell me what topics are important to you. If you hired a coach, what would you want to get better at? What challenges are you facing? What success are you having? If you don’t want to post in the comments send me a message. You might be surprised at what happens when you put yourself out there and share. 

© 2020 Laurie Lowery Coaching & Consulting   |   DESIGNED BY BROOKE LAWSON