Let us all thrive
Several weeks back I was walking after dark and behind me a chap started shouting abuse. Becoming scared I looked for refuge, but the houses were all dark. A car slowed to turn into the road I was on. I stepped onto the road preventing the driver from passing. I expressed my fear, asked for a lift home and bemused, the driver took me.
Would the situation be the same if I was not white? I wonder.
Being white and secure in my position in society meant I assumed I’d be helped. So I confidently stepped in the way of the car.
Working in Africa, PNG and, in Australia with men and women who have not had my privileged background (my childhood was hardly wealthy, but it was safe), I’ve been exposed to the material power that comes from being white and educated.
But it was not until arriving safe on my doorstep that it dawned on me: My privileges gave me something beyond value – A belief that I was entitled to help.
It is very easy to see other’s lives as mirrors of our own yet no one’s life is the same as mine. No one’s life is like yours. Yes, we each seek a life which is happy, safe and supported by good health but how this materialises, differs.
Leaders who forget these two factors – we are unique yet have the same wants – fail to live up to their potential and so keep themselves and the world around them, small.
This impacts career, relationships, profit and company sustainability.
Reader, you may never know what it is like to walk the streets believing no one would help you. Indeed I hope you never do. But please know you do have privileges and with privilege comes responsibility. It is in your power to help others feel more safe and secure.
So I ask you to remove your blinkers and see the privileges you have – because of your title, your gender, your skin tone, your education, your height, your strength, or what have you.
See also the power and safety they bring which are not available to others who lack these same privileges.
Each time you do this you improve your ability to accept others as they are, so treating them increasingly in ways that bring fairness. You will also influence others to do likewise, as well as build skills that improve your decision making.
As the American riots and the Australian protests show us: “United we stand. Divided we fall”.
Let’s build a world in which we all thrive.
Make your privileges work for others, as well as for yourself.
Your actions matter.
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Jennifer is a business and executive coach who helps leaders use the wisdom of their heart to turn their strategies into remarkable results. Call her to discuss your needs +61 439 520 182.