One of my core values is freedom. My intention as a coach is to help people find freedom – freedom from the beliefs that limit them and freedom to pursue the lives and careers of their deepest desires.
Little did I know how symbolic this little word freedom would become in 2020. It’s never been my intention to speak about current events or politics; if anything, I’d prefer to shut out all the worldly clamors.
Which is part of the problem. My silence contributes to injustice, rather than neutralizing it. I’ve been hiding in my bubble, and because I am white and privileged, I could ignore what many people of color have been pointing out for hundreds of years: they are treated as less than because of the color of their skin. Being black in the U.S. isn’t safe.
It’s kind of ridiculous for me to try to write anything that doesn’t consider the context of where we are at this time in history, in the midst of a global pandemic, nightly protests in support of police reform, and increasing awareness about what systemic racism looks like and how deep it runs in the U.S.
As I’ve engaged in conversations with people, I keep coming back to a few core beliefs:
Humans are meant to be free.
Humans are meant to grow and evolve.
Humans change attitudes, beliefs and behavior only when they think it’s a good idea to do so.
Judgment leads to more judgment, not transformation.
As much as I want to change someone else’s beliefs by pointing out how catastrophically wrong they are, doing so is more likely to make them dig their heels in. Expecting other people to change without looking at myself and how I need to change misses the point. Last week I found myself intolerant of intolerance. I realized I was practicing the exact same thing I criticize: intolerance and judgment.
I don’t know the best way to move forward. What I DO know is that my ego is the single greatest impediment to growth. Anytime I think I’m “right” and have it all figured out is a sure sign that I’ve closed my mind, stopped listening and stopped growing. No one benefits from that.
I have no idea where this awakening will take the country, much less myself. If you want to opt out of the newsletter, I understand. As I mentioned last week, I have a lot to learn, and I can't stop with education. It's not enough to be upset and sympathetic. I've got to take action.
So instead of focusing on what everyone else is doing and whether they are doing it right or wrong, I’m re-educating myself and taking different actions. I want to support economic development for people of color. I found several websites with directories to black-owned businesses here in Portland. Even in our current Covid-19 environment, I can still support them. It’s a small step but also one that I can sustain and then build on. It's a beginning.