Appreciating Inclusion by Appreciating Authenticity

Today’s video talks about Inclusion and authenticity and their importance in today’s society. Unfortunately, labels are used to define people despite who they are in their authentic self. The word appreciate is key here, it changes how we see both inclusion and authenticity.

Video Synopsis and Additional Links

The Word-Play in “Appreciate”

The word “appreciate” has a bit of word-play involved in its definition that is both useful and fun because it gets us to think a bit.

  • Appreciate as in recognize, celebrate or value something – What does it look like to appreciate, recognize, celebrate and value inclusion or authenticity?
  • Appreciate as in to grow in value (from the monetary perspective, tends to deal with investments) – What does it look like to appreciate inclusion and authenticity, to increase the value of inclusion and authenticity, to grow the worth of inclusion and authenticity?

How do these play together? What is interchange? What is the exchange?

Creating more Inclusive Environments

I am currently working with people and organizations to really capture the value that comes from diversity and inclusion; a lot of work is going to creating more inclusive environments.

I help people show up more unapologetically and this has led in the discovery that some of the organizations I work with have created an inclusive environment for their ‘diverse’ population but at the same time, they are not really getting any additional value from it.

This is because the people in these inclusive environments are not leveraging their uniqueness, their authenticity. Authenticity brings to life uniqueness or new ideas, thoughts or approaches in a way that adds value.

Making the Most of authenticity in Inclusive Environments

So, how can people make the most value from inclusive environments? How can organizations extract value from the conditions already created within inclusive environments?

It is true that there are spaces and organizations where it doesn’t feel inclusive, yet there is that person that comes into the space and decides to be authentic. I will call this person a lone pioneer, who is going out against the wilderness, against wild and rough terrain!

The Lone Pioneer and the Perceived Cost

It is up to the lone pioneer to remain steadfast in their authenticity because often times, there is a perceived cost to show up authentically.

So, I want to give us an opportunity to explore what it would look like to appreciate inclusion while appreciating authenticity. How do we grow the value of inclusion by helping our individual members to feel comfortable bringing out their authenticity?

This is as they show up in an authentic way within their teams or groups, within the environments of families and relationships.

My questions to you

  • In what areas have you created an inclusive environment where you’re not celebrating and recognizing and valuing authenticity?
  • Do those within your inclusive environment feel that they are their authentic self and not just their authentic self because their skin tone or sexual orientation or gender is at play, but because they are their actual authentic self?

As an example, one of the reasons I feel I was able to be successful for so long in the US is because I didn’t consider myself a black male. I wouldn’t allow labels to drive what I do.

When it comes to inclusion, it bothers me when people have to show up based on the labels used to define them. If you really want to extract my value, call me Nemo; I am the most quirky person that you might meet, I am intense, I am intimidating, I am full of joy and I bring people together.

That has absolutely nothing to do with the color of my skin, my gender, or my sexual orientation. Now there are elements from all three labels that have characterized how I show up, however, to really extract the value from Nemo, you really need to get into the authenticity piece.

What Emerges For You?

I will leave the following with you to think about;

  • See what emerges for you, and see in what areas we are looking at appreciating authenticity, so that we can appreciate to grow and value the inclusion
  • Play around with this – perhaps you will find it more interesting to look at it from the standpoint of how to appreciate/recognize/ value and celebrate inclusion in a way that appreciates and grows authenticity

I want my clients to understand, recognize and create the conditions for an inclusive environment and to get the return of that investment in their organizations.

For the individuals that I work with, to understand, recognize and create the conditions for them to be authentic, and for them to get the value, the return on that investment in themselves.

It is not easy to do and at the same time, it is a game that is worth playing. I would love to hear your thoughts and I would love to see how all these will fall for you.

Here’s to your next frontier…journey on.

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