Inclusive Leadership feels like an important part of my life. This is because – even though it could be described as just a few weekend retreats that I attended several years ago – Inclusive Leadership led to long term change in my actions. There are three things that frequently make me think back to those Inclusive Leadership weekends and how my actions have changed since I’ve been there.
Appreciation 1: Over the past few years when I find myself in conversations, my internal monologue will sometimes say something along the lines of: “Hey! Someone is talking to you. Remember your Compassionate Communication skills from Inclusive Leadership!”. I am not always a great communicator: I often focus on I’m going to say next while people are talking, and I interrupt or pipe in excitedly at the first pause. But when my internal monologue says this to me, I remember back to the Compassion Communication course, and I start to slow down and focus on what the speaker is saying to me.
As a result, I feel I have become better aware of how people are feeling and feel I am better able to express to them my desire to listen. Recently, I have been having this internal dialogue so regularly during conversations at work and with friends that I felt as though I must express my gratitude for the opportunity I had to attend Inclusive Leadership.
Appreciation 2: I love to talk about social issues with friends and family: LGBTQ issues are frequent topic of discussion. Whenever this topic comes up I think back to one particular Inclusive Leadership weekend that changed my views regarding the LGBTQ community. This was an Inclusive Leadership Adventure that I attended alongside members of a Gay-Straight Alliance called Youth4Diversity in the community of Campbell River, Vancouver Island, BC. Before this event I had only met a handful of people whom I knew were openly gay and I was irrationally fearful when associating with them. Spending the weekend in an environment that fostered building relationships with diverse people while laughing, learning and playing, removed that fear I had. Within a year I was travelling to Campbell River to march with Youth4Diversity at their annual “Walk Away From Homophobia”. Within a few years I would call myself a fully-fledged supporter of the LGBTQ community. I am constantly thankful that this Inclusive Leadership weekend changed my point of view on this topic.
Appreciation 3: I want to express my gratitude for all the wonderful people I have been afforded the opportunity to meet because of Inclusive Leadership. As a result of Inclusive Leadership, my family and I became more involved in our local community, we discovered new family members, and we are better for it all.