Thoughts on every day acts of ordinary courage…
The thing about working at an Inclusive Design Firm, a company that claims to teach best practices in DEI and Inclusive Organizational Design, is that there is never a day off. We, like so many of our clients, are constantly interrogating our own opportunities, contradictions, and yes, failings, to live and embody the work we teach.
As CEO of our small but mighty company, I recently had to confront my own shortcomings and failings as a leader as it pertains to the very common Enneagram Type 3 tendency to play ‘rescuer,’ (a strategy to avoid confrontation in exchange for being liked) in order to receive the lesson I needed on how to better protect my company and the people I am responsible to. Sitting across from my mentor I said off-handedly, ‘maybe the reason I am such a great teacher,’ the one compliment I will ever allow myself, ‘is because those who can’t do, teach.’ And my mentor, true to style and without missing a beat, responded, ‘maybe you are a great teacher because you never ask your students to do anything you don’t ask yourself to do.’
(Although I think that BFA in Dance and Theatre shouldn’t be discounted either… Especially because so many men I’ve sat across from in C-suites have tried to use it to discount me. Hahaha, jokes on them.)
The truth is, I learn as much from all of you as I teach most days. Like our one leader who recently wrote to me to tell me how their triggers at work mirror their unhealed childhood trauma. Or a person who wrote to ask me to send them some research about the correlation between how their brain works and anti-racism practice.
It is these every day acts of ordinary courage that keep me feeling naively-optimistic about the work we do, as I talk about here in my recent interview with King5 News, and inspire me and the rest of the LTHJ Global team to constantly question how we live and activate our values of, determination, grace, creativity, flexibility and autonomy, and to call that shit out when we miss the mark.
Failing is hard. And failing as a Black woman as LTHJ Global Therapist and Culture Coach, Lisa C. Greene, talks about this month in her article Adjusting Your Crown is even harder. But as I have learned time and time again, failing is the main path toward growth, healing, and maturation. We can see this is true even in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. Although it is baby steps, and no replacement for a man’s life cut short, ripples of change will be his legacy, such as those captured here in our article The Reactions Of Corporate America After The Killing of George Floyd: What They Tell Us About Intent of Change, and the launch of so many internal DEI initiatives. Perhaps even yours…
Ripples of change.
In a society that teaches us to value quantity over quality, and progress at all costs, I think it is the acts of ordinary courage, the ones that start as drops, and grow into ripples, and eventually become the Ocean that, although they often go unnoticed, will ultimately tip the paradigm.
On Ordinary Courage: A Journal Entry…
Ordinary courage is a highly undervalued trait. It gets no comic book, no shield or cape. There is no pomp and circumstance for ordinary courage, no keys to the city.
Ordinary courage is, by my definition, what you do when nobody is watching, when there’s no tick of approval or pat on the back in your future.
Ordinary courage is just you, your values, and your ability to look in the mirror at the end of the day and say, ‘do as I try every damn day to do, not only as I say’.
Diversity is the norm,