I was fortunate to attend an amazing conference at the end of July, hosted by CultureAmp, here in San Francisco, called Culture First. It was impressive, to say the least: more than 1,000 participants, beautifully produced, palpably energetic, well organized...and it was all about diversity and inclusion. More specifically, since CultureAmp is in the human resources business, diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace. And how, despite most employers’ best intentions, there is still A LOT of work to do in that space - to ensure we have a healthy (and needed!) cross-section of gender, race, ethnicity, age or sexual orientation in business...and in our world.
The speaker line up included thought leaders like Esther Perel, Simon Sinek and Chip Conley; change makers like Deray Mckesson and Cleo Wade; breakout facilitators covering everything from how to lead in life and business empathically to what healthy masculinity might look like in light of our patriarchal weightiness.
I was blown away.
I was humbled.
I felt my white, affluent privilege shining like a beacon the whole time.
I knew it was time to get involved.
We’ve talked before in these newsletters about the improv principle, Start Anywhere; how someday is not on the calendar. That it’s a myth. And that truly, all we have is right now.
For the most part, I’m proud of the work I’ve done doing/writing/making/performing things because I just...get started. Sure, there are inner bullies along the way scolding me for publishing before my writing is “done” and “perfect”, but at least it’s out there, in the light.
But what about other starts? For instance, activism. Why do I keep hearing myself say (out loud, to my journal, in my head): I really want to help make a change - give back, volunteer, start a movement, protest - to make a difference in our world. But I’m not really sure how...so I’ll start tomorrow.”
So. I’ll. Start. Tomorrow.
Where’s the righteousness of my improv-as-a-life-practice now? Why is it I can put content out across the internet and perform shows in front of hundreds of people, but choosing a cause paralyzes me? Why can’t I Start Anywhere?
Doing nothing in these toxic times is not an option. I knew that going into the conference, but procrastination has been the easier route. Waiting until someday is more comfortable. I mean, who am I to take a stand to empower the LBGTQ community as a straight, married mom from the burbs? Who am I to join the fight against immigration injustice or speak up about gun laws from the relative peace and safety of my community?
So I’ve been in waiting for the “right”’place to start. And since the conference, I’ve decided that time is right now.
And please know that I’m not here to preach about the power of our collective engagement. I’ll assume we all know that already. No, this is more a message to myself; a declaration that I’m tired of doing nothing. And that my Start (Anywhere) is...Here.
So thank you CultureAmp and all the inspirational speakers you brought together for your awesome event. My eyes are wide open and I accept the offer to be a part of the change.