I, like I am sure many of you are, am a member of about 100 + Facebook groups for business owners. haha! Okay, it might not be quite that many. But it is a lot!
So recently in a normal scroll down my Facebook feed I stumble across a post in one of these groups that stops me in my tracks. I don't remember the author and even if I did I would never share something directly without express permission. But this person was passionately talking about how she only liked people who thought like her. And she was very passionate and even pretty harsh going as far to use vulgar name calling for people who had differing opinions than her. (While I am not known for having the cleanest mouth I still try to keep it clean on the blog and when working so that everyone can feel welcome! So I will not share her exact words.) And she kept reiterating essentially that people who thought differently were horrible people.
What struck me about this too is that the topics she was talking about weren't things that I would consider being mainstream beliefs. The topics were pretty controversial and likely those that agreed with here were probably fairly few and far between. And while I actually agreed with the premise of a lot of her opinions, I couldn't get behind her because I don't believe that people who think differently are less smart or less nice or any of the words she used to say so. She went as far as to say she hated people who thought any different. Ah!
I just wanted to yell! "Hated?! How can you hate people you don't know?! How can you be so firm in your opinions that you block others out?! How can you discredit the people with other life experiences and opinions?!" Again, her opinions on their own were valid. But the way she felt about other opinions was not.
This actually truly worries me that maybe women in business feel this way. That the way they think is right and will always be right and no one else's opinions are valid. This is so dangerously arrogant! So dangerous! Not only can this kind of thinking hurt your business but it can hurt your personal growth! So I want to talk about that with you guys today! And how we can change that narrative in our own businesses! Because I am confident that we all have some things that we probably aren't as good at listening to other people opinions on. So let's work through this together.
Hurt Your Personal Growth:
When you aren't listening to other opinions or understanding that those opinions are just as valuable as yours, you are missing out on an opportunity to learn something new from another perspective. Our life experiences shape our opinions. It's just a fact. But we can grow our opinions by learning from others. We allow ourselves to think we know everything or are right about everything when we don't value other life experiences or listen to them. And we would never want anyone to think that of our opinions or life experiences. I don't mean we have to agree with everything someone else believes. But we have to see their opinions as just as valuable and valid because theirs were born out of their experiences just as yours were.
Help Your Personal Growth:
Encourage discussions with differences in a non-judgmental and non-confrontational way. It's totally possible to have great discussions with someone who thinks very differently than you! My husband and I affiliate ourselves with different political parties. But we are still able to have great conversations about politics together because we understand we are both adding value to the conversations. I am not saying you should start off with a political discussion because those can get pretty heated. But starting a conversation among your friends or within your community on anything controversial can be so healthy for you and those around you! Give it a try!
Hurts Your Business
When you aren't valuing others opinions or learning about other people's experiences you are hurting who are able to reach out to and connect with. Even if you aren't as extreme as the woman I mentioned before, your lack of openness can close you off to a lot of chances to meet new people and learn new things and work on your business being open for all!
Help Your Business
Join diverse communities. Engage in conversations other on all sorts of topics. Keep an open mind. Share your opinions with openness and grace. Share your heart! Don't demean other people because of the differences!
You really can have an inclusive business! Stretch yourself and your business! Consider how to factor this into your plan for 2017! One person I know that is really making waves as she talks about diversity and about putting yourself in situations for growing is Monique Melton! She is running a killer Facebook group all about it! It's called Shine Brighter Together (and no, the post I mentioned before was not in her group! haha!) and you can view her site at www.MoniqueMelton.com She is an amazing resource for diversity in business! Check it out!