In a world full of chaos, in times of crisis, and when the only thing constant is change, people are yearning for a place where they belong. People want to feel comfortable in their own skin, regardless of the color of said skin or any other descriptor they identify with. People want to be seen, heard, respected and valued - as they are, for who they are. They want to connect with folks around them engaging in authentic conversations, even when the topics are complex and multi-faceted. Beyond comfort and connections, people want to contribute something meaningful to their environment. They must see their place at the table as a valuable part of the overall purpose of the group.
Whether it's at work, at home, on a field, on a court, or in another type of community organization, people are searching out a place where they belong. It is our job to move beyond the basic concepts of diversity & inclusion to build a culture of Belonging. In every atmosphere we are present, we need to make sure that the people around us know, "You belong here."
Food may nourish and sustain us as humans, but it also can comfort our soul in difficult times. Clearly, chicken noodle soup is a great food remedy for the common cold or flu. It is also a go-to meal for many people during a stressful or challenging time in life.
What are some of the foods (and beverages) that comfort you in trying times?
Growing up in a house of seven, the kitchen or dining room table was the best place to share stories and make sense of the day's activities or current events with the family. To this day, I find that my most meaningful conversations take place gathered around a table with family, friends, or colleagues, sharing a meal.
Where is your favorite place to connect with family, friends, and/or colleagues?
Complex, multi-faceted topics seem to be more polarizing today than ever before. These topics include racism, politics, discrimination, immigration,and religion - just to name a few. In a world where everything seems to marketed as an "us vs. them" position, conversations with the people around us have become increasingly difficult and sometimes nonexistent. For in today's climate, it is easier to avoid the hard topics than to have the hard conversations. Let's change that!
The only way forward is through. An advanced global society is comprised of ever changing and always challenging concepts. We must engage in authentic conversations in order to find meaningful common ground, in which we can grow forward together. These conversations are hard. We will need to approach the table with an open mind prepared to actively listen and responsibly share our experiences, insights and opinions with others gathered around the table.
What are the conversations you are avoiding with those around you?
In order to feel a sense of Belonging, people have to know that their contributions matter to the overall mission of the group. In today's society, people want to have a purpose and want to serve in a meaningful way in the places that they work and live. Personal values and goals must align with the organization's values and goals. In order to fulfill their personal mission, people need to feel like their contributions have a purpose within the construct of the group or an organization. To build a culture of belonging, every seat at the table needs to play a valuable role in accomplishing the group's overall shared goals. When folks are able to see the results of their contributions positively impacting the organization, they achieve a sense of belonging. In return, they continue to add value and positive outcomes typically result.
Let's gather a group of people around a table and begin building a culture of Belonging together. Family, friends, peers, teammates... Coffee Talk, Tea Time, Lunch & Learn, Kitchen Table Sessions, Wine Pairings... Anti-racism, Workplace equality, Religious & Cultural differences, Political debates, International business...
Let's get creative! We'll build a session or a program around you and your group. We'll meet you where you're at on this journey. We'll bring comfort food to your (possibly digital) table, along with conversation guidelines. You bring an open mind and some people to the table. And together, we'll build a culture of Belonging.