Monday, April 30, 2012

Why Should I Listen to You?

I am in the process of preparing my speech for the Jacksonville Business Journal Diversity Awards.  As I do, I have been busy interviewing and researching for my topic: Innovation Inspired by Diversity.

One of my research methods is interviewing the people around me about my topic. I seek various perspectives and see what I am missing. I ask a few questions and get ideas from the brilliant people God has put in my life. It is fun and enjoyable way for my pals to add into my work in a way that is fun and engaging. I often quote them and cite their brilliance from the podium.

So the other day, I am with a friend who is recently been through a horrible divorce.She is feel down and in this zone of fear and healing. We were having breakfast and sharing our lives. I spoke to her about my process and hoped it would help her see her way through. Eventually she asked me what I am working on, so I shared this topic of diversity and innovation. 

She asked me the purpose of the speech. I said, I wanted people to comprehend that exploring other perspectives on a situation is good and healthy. That we as a community have so many resources and that when we bring people together, we must have a respect for all view points even though we might not understand them. We talked about it and laughed and cried and enjoyed creating some ideas together.

Suddenly she blurted out, a big thought. She asked my why I felt I had what it took to speak in front of a few hundred people. She simply asked, "Why would they listen to you?" As I took in her question, I realized she was the person feeling like no one listens to her. I told her why, and she smiled. She told me how proud she was of me and how she hoped one day she would be capable of doing similar work. I know she will heal and i know that as I help her see how I find mine, she will find hers. That is how the divine works! It is called living in the world of diversity.

What I was struck by is her fear and her ability to find her voice within the fray. I have to be honest, I started crying, with joy as we spoke. As I listened to her ideas, she found her voice that morning. She found a way to express her wisdom, her perspectives in a way that honored her and her journey. WOW, what a blessing this speech prep has been for not only me, but the people around me.

I felt so grateful that I have the chance to find my voice in a way that will help my community. I know that the work I do helps others find theirs. So as I jump back into the work of getting ready for the event tomorrow, I shall bring everyone's journey with me to fuel and focus the pile of to dos. 

Looking forward till tomorrow...

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