This is a follow-up article to the blog, Together We Stand, that provides more suggested actions to take to bring change.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve witnessed some really challenging social issues. The events relating to #metoo, #blacklivesmatter, government upheaval, LGBTQ injustices, and others have opened a giant wound in our country, and it needs attention!
Our days of turning a blind eye have put us in this position. We now need boldness from those who have higher standards; we need to hear from those who have great ideas, and we need action from those who have the courage and power to shift the current cultural paradigm. Where are these superhuman people who are capable of these great feats? They are reading this article at this exact moment! Yes, YOU! It may seem too great of a challenge to change this society’s culture, but you CAN make an impact. You can influence your family and friends, your circle, your community, and your local government, among many others. It’s time to kick apathy in the teeth and create the equitable relationships we all crave. It’s time to take charge and lead with conviction. We need cultural evolution!
What are some things we can do? Here are 5 behaviors to help advance equity in our society.
- Listen – Try to shift your mindset to one of being solutions oriented. When someone is challenging your opinion, be open and try to process the idea, ask questions, and evaluate whether or not it holds water. We too often shut down the voice of those who have different ideas. We were all raised with different values, different social conditions, different economic environments, and that should be considered a benefit to problem solving. We need all perspectives for progress.
- Voice – Don’t play it safe and stay silent when you have something to say. Use your voice when you have an opinion about something that was said or done. Offer your ideas to start or improve conversations. Be sure that you are speaking for positive change and not mimicking negativity or condescension that may already be taking place. Your voice doesn’t have to be the loudest or sharpest to be the most effective.
- Bravery – Take action while injustice is playing out in front of you. Be supportive of those around you who are trying to communicate and defend. Trust that you will be supported by those in your circle when you need to act. Creating a culture where a #metoo movement is not necessary takes incredible courage as we move to change what have long been considered social norms. Don’t be afraid to be the first to do something – someone has to lead each effort and why not you?
- Community – We are a species who have survived multiple millennia. Individual goals and lifestyles are easily created and achieved; we tend to make friends with those who have similar interests and as a result we avoid conflict which is a bad habit to start. Find ways of stretching your comfort zone and reaching out to get to know your neighbors; get involved, connect with others, and see the value people have to offer instead of differences to be avoided.
- Inclusivity – This is the very essence of community! We are all connected, and everyone needs to be involved! People of all cultures, backgrounds and beliefs who live in the community must be included. This isn’t a fight for who’s right and who’s wrong, but how to lift each other up as a society. Considering everyone’s voice will help us grow into a new age of equity. While not everyone can be served all the time, everyone can still be seen and heard!
Our wounds are deep. Like a bear with it’s foot caught in a trap, we’re angry, we yell, we snap, and we bite at those around us. But the wounds can be healed. It takes the above mentioned behaviors from leaders like you to create a movement of mindful people who want to build a culture where all people can thrive. #cultureevolution