Respect is a 2-way street

Image - Adobe Stock - Humanity = Equal Rights for All

Sounds rote, doesn't it? It’s not.

The alarm goes off, confusion and frustration hit your gut. Ongoing chaos wracks our brains and wrecks our belief systems, our children are confused. We’re all searching for answers, the way forward through the madness into a place we no longer recognize.

Guided by unfounded fear, barraged with conflicting information, we are victims of gaslighting. Do not believe what you see. What you hear is not what happened. Statements made one day will be disputed the next. Real-time events we witness are thrown into a hurricane of denials. No, you didn't see what you saw or hear what you heard. “Alternate facts” have now become a part of our lexicon.

Our collective consciousness has been rocked to the core with images of acts we believed would never take place in our country.

Our disappearing middle class has been rocked by COVID-19 and the loss of jobs and businesses, many established generations ago. As the granddaughter of immigrants that like so many others, built our cities; providing hope, promise, and a real opportunity for every individual, I rose. Armed with trust in the process and an attitude of stewardship for each other and our planet, I approached my adulthood with grit and determination.

However, there was a caveat: The success of one depends upon the support of others, listening to and hearing the needs and concerns of your community. In my Middle Eastern family, that came with a protocol based on respect for the others whose journey and attitudes may not be the same as yours.

Over a meal or on the stoop, you put your tools down, let go of your fear of what you don’t understand, set aside years of long-held assumptions, looking them in the eyes and listening. In other words, treat them with the same respect you demand. We must open our minds and our hearts with empathy – it’s the only road to equality, happiness, and success for every person.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have had the privilege of speaking with colleagues, friends, and clients who are working harder than ever, seeking solutions to build inclusive organizations. They cite food lines, horrific images of the breakdown of society, the deep hurt they feel and see in clients and colleagues.

We made the decision to take immediate action and are working together to build constructs, connecting like-minded leaders with professional peer groups toward a singular focus on a more inclusive environment. We are bringing together entrepreneurs, innovators and C-suite executives from companies large and small, to do the hard work of listening, leading, asserting, connecting and contributing – with a sense of urgency in the right here and right now.

Because making things better isn’t about what you look like or where you work. Making things better is an attitude. The attitude of possibility and the posture of generosity. And then making the decision to own your actions … Seth Godin

Having the courage to do the necessary work is the ultimate act of patriotism.

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