The cover of my journal says Perfect is Boring.
I was at a workshop when I picked it, and the message has spoken to me many times since, in different ways. Today, it struck me as an important point when talking about the work of diversity and inclusion.
Sometimes we don’t know what to say…
In workshops and facilitated discussions, I often hear that people don’t know what to say when discriminatory comments or jokes are made, or someone is being harassed, or that they are afraid to say the wrong thing when a topic of conversation veers into the territory of human diversity.
When we are preparing to do a workshop or a discussion with staff, leadership is often worried about people being uncomfortable.
Messy is where the magic happens…
Maybe it’s a human condition to want everything to be ok.
But in this work, the messy is where the magic often happens. In fact it’s where it usually happens. We have to be ok with discomfort; it won’t be perfect.
When we try, we often mess up. If we are committed to learning and expanding our awareness, if we are committed to creating spaces where people belong, if we want to connect and build community when we try we are also showing that we care. Silence and not engaging doesn’t build community or show people that they are valued. Making an effort, being willing to listen and to course-correct is where the work is.
We need to ask…
There is so much we don’t know about each other.
Being afraid to ask for fear of saying the wrong thing only makes the space wider as the stereotypes and assumptions spin in our mind. Not speaking up leaves others unsupported and feeling alone.
To bridge the gap, we have to be willing to have it not be perfect.
We have to be willing to get messy, to stay in the mess and work through it together – and come out the other end, changed. It’s not perfect, and it’s certainly not boring. But it can be a game-changer in the creation of environments where people feel seen, heard, and valued.