Working with heart-centered businesses all over the world. There are two common threads that metaphorically place them all in the same basket. That basket is overflowing with beautiful intentions of being inclusive both in life and in business. BUT and it’s a big ‘but’, these business owners will never create an inclusive business. I know this may be hard to swallow but it’s my job to share the hard to swallow stuff with you (with love and compassion of course).
Intentions don’t create change. Intentions don’t create inclusion. And intentions alone don’t support your souls desire to love and be inclusive of all people.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, your business is most likely engaging in one of many forms of exclusivity. I’m not talking about exclusivity that makes your product of service seem more valuable or rare either. I’m talking about actions, words, systems, or images that send messages to people of marginalised groups that say your business isn’t safe for them. That the business space you are holding isn’t a safe space for them to be in, physically, emotionally or energetically.
Honestly, I have met the most kind-intentioned entrepeneures, but 2 seconds into assessing the inclusivity of their business, exclusion, othering and acute cases of not showing up in business as the ally they are in their heart, jumps out at me.
The problem isn’t a lack or wanting or desire to be inclusive. It’s a lack of inclusion-based intentions, backed by inspired inclusive-action.
Taking the action is the key.
Taking action is the thing that is going to move the needle. It’s the thing that creates the inclusive space. And it’s the thing that’ll transform our worlds into ones of acceptance, love and inclusion.
It’s also the thing that’ll fulfill that pull within you to do something about the inequality, intolerance, discrimination and all-round not-niceness that you are opposed to in life and in business.
So, what’s getting in the way?
There are a few obstacles that most inclusion wanting business owners come across, here are a few of them:
Fear of causing offence to mariginalised people
Fear of doing something that’ll cause offence or harm to the group of people they want to support. Essentially this is also a fear of making a mistake.
Fear of judgment of your inclusive actions
Fear of the judgment of others. That it’ll seem like they are being tokenistic or performative. Or that they are virtue signaling through their business. The thought of not seeming genuine in their inclusive actions stops them from taking action.
Not knowing what to do or say to be inclusive
They don’t know what to do or say. These entrepreneurs feel there is a vast gap in their knowledge, understanding or exposure to marginalized people, their voices, their struggles, or their solutions. This is further amplified because they aren’t sure where to turn for help or advice on this. They feel inept and intellectually unprepared to take action because of this gap.
Fear of confrontation about the topic of inclusion
Fear of confrontation and not knowing how to handle the situation is another big player in the minds of the heart-centered business owner. Allyship and creating inclusion is something that isn’t necessarily supported by our western societal and cultural systems or norms. It’s a change-making act that challenges the status quo. While most people aren’t satisfied with or supported by the current status quo, most people are comfortable in the uncomfortability of it. It’s familiar because they always know what to expect. It adds a layer of security for them, even if that security doesn’t feel all that great. It somehow still beats the uncertainty of what change or innovation might bring. Entrepreneurs who recognise this can feel ill-equipped to facilitate inclusion-based conversations or manage any conflict that could arise.
Unconsciously damaging allyship
This obstacle is probably the most dangerous one to inclusion and equality of marginalized people. It’s the oblivious heroic entrepreneur. The well-meaning business owner who is so invested in their self righteousness who champions equality, allyship and inclusion yet takes no action to stop and listen to marginalized people. They don’t assess their own unconscious biases, they don’t check their privilege, they speak ‘for’ marginalized groups and they believe they are helping save, those marginalized groups of people. They feel like they are the saviors and they’ll go on a loud and proud crusade thinking the whole time that they are helping the situation. Whereas they are probably causing more harm than good with their ill-informed perception of what marginalized people need or want from an ally. If you’re not already following or listening to people from marginalized groups; if you’re not investing in their inclusion and diversity courses, workshops or coaching, please don’t step up as an ally for marginalized people.
Allyship is led by the marginalized and oppressed people, not the other way around.
If you’re feeling like one or some of these above points are a reflection of you, please know that you’re not alone. Some of the most wonderfully kind, compassionate and active business allies that I know of have experienced these too. And the truth is, because you feel these things now, doesn’t mean you’ll experience them for ever.
When I work with business owners there are 3 key myths about allyship and being inclusive in business that I need to share with you. Let’s do a bit of myth busting shall we?
Myth busted: Allyship and making a stand on inclusion is loud and confrontational
When we think about creating social change or making a stand for equality or inclusion, we tend to think of protests. Visualisations of being loud and angry come to mind.
It doesn’t have to be like this at all. Change-making driven by anger, sadness or unhappiness of any sort is based in low frequency vibrations that can only attract more of those lower frequency vibrations. When we feel these low frequency emotions, it’s our body’s way of telling us we are out of alignment with our soul. If we aren’t in alignment when we feel that internal drive to do something, this is motivation. motivation is an external trigger that evokes a knee-jerk reaction in us. Sure, we might feel the anger, the sadness, the disappointment or disgust at the time, but once the trigger is removed or after time passes, the strength of that drive dissipates.
When I talk about allyship or being an active inclusion creator, I’m talking about it from a high vibrational space. One that’s based in love, respect, equality, kindness and compassion. One that’s completely in alignment with your soul.
This type of change-making is something I’ve not seen or heard in the world of creating social change. It’s innovative, it’s energising, and best of all it comes from a place of inspiration rather than motivation.
Inspiration is a strong internal drive or calling you feel to do something from a high frequency place. It requires no external trigger as your want for inclusion, equality, love and acceptance for all is eternally linked with the desire of your soul. It aligns with you completely. And when you make a stand or take inclusive action in your business from this space, you feel joy and happiness and fulfillment.
Inspired action is what I facilitate in business owners.
Myth busted: Taking a stand on inclusion means you need to take on all topics where discrimination is present
I’m not sure where or how this idea could even be a thing. If you want to support inclusion in your business that doesn’t mean you have to take action to support every campaign or social movement linked with inclusion. It blows my mind to think people expect that of themselves.
You’re not here to save the world, that’s a lot to expect of yourself.
You’re here to do what you can as a unique business and individual to create inclusive spaces that shares your own self expression.
One of my Elders shares a Dreamtime story of the carers of everything. Yes, we are the carers of everything, but as individuals we don’t have to care for everything. We each care for our own little bit in the world and therefore as a human collective, everything is cared for. The question is what is your bit to care for. I can help you uncover this.
Also, in terms of focus and energy. If you were to put your time and energy into all movement on inclusion, your attention and energy would be spread so thin, it wouldn’t even make a difference. By focusing your time and energy to a specific cause, there is a much greater chance of creating real change and innovation in that space.
Myth busted: You need to convince others to agree with you about inclusion
You don’t need to convince anyone that you’re right, inclusion is right, and they’re wrong. That’s a lot to hold on to. There are a lot of people in the world to convince. We’re not here to dictate to others on what is right and what is wrong. We are here to live our lives to the fullest expression of our soul. Our soul isn’t concerned with what others think. It’s concerned with us living in alignment with who we authentically are. So if inclusion is important to your soul, live a fully expressed inclusive life. Enjoy and revel in the feeling of loving and accepting all people.
By doing this, there will be a natural energetic flow from you that’ll ripple out and influence others to live by their own inclusion-inspired soul alignment. I call this the ripple of inclusion. By us doing our own thing without feeling like we need to convince anyone of anything, we create powerful ripples throughout the world. Often in ways we’re not even aware of. Just like the butterfly affect.
Take me for example. I’m not here to convince anyone that I’m right and they are wrong or that they should even care about inclusion. That’s their journey to take. I share my truth, my experiences and my knowledge and make sure they know I’m here to support, guide and coach them through their allyship and inclusion journey when they are ready.
If what I say, the way I approach inclusion and social change & innovation resonates with you, then I’m the right person for you. If it doesn’t resonate, I’m not the right person for you. I have no qualms about that. You’re still amazing and I’m still amazing, even if we don’t see things in the same way. But I’m guessing, if you’ve read this blog to this point, a lot of what I’ve said does resonate with you. Yay!
If this is true, and you can feel that resonation, I’d love to share with you that I’m hosting a free 3-day online workshop on Creating Inclusion in Business from 4th-6th January and you are personally invited to join me in that space.
Over the three days, we’ll:
- assess your business and it’s inclusivity,
- look into your social conditioning, unconscious biases and privilege
- transform your inclusive intentions into easy-to-take inclusive and respectful business actions
If this sounds interesting to you, you can find more information or sign up here.
And if you’ve found this blog useful, please don’t forget to share it with your business friends. Thank you so much for reading.
I am grateful.