Submitted by April Vance (Inclusive Leader and author of “Hey Church Girl: Get Outta Your Head and Into Your Heart”)
The art of inclusion applies with all humans no matter gender, practices, age, race, creed or religion. Many people arrive at Inclusive Leadership with our own experiences of dissonance with what we have been taught or come to believe and our own determination to live inclusion in every aspect of our lives in peaceful manners with Love.
I am pretty excited about writing “Hey Church Girl”: a book about authenticity and how to connect with your heart and to begin to follow your dreams. I really believe that living in-authentically is a barrier to building your best life and building inclusive communities. I also believe that Women and Girls make the biggest changes in this world for the better. I hope to reach the girl or woman, like me, who is questioning and open to a better more real life.
This was the journey for me. In my old life, born into an Evangelical Christian fundamentalist family, beliefs and behaviour were more important than anything else. As I grew older I realized that all of the belief systems in my head were cutting me off from what my heart was telling me.
I’ll give an example. I found other groups who were not immersed in my belief system to be “other” or “them”. If they converted, then they could be with “us”, however, I was never comfortable with that and I was never any good at converting people – even though I’d taken workshops on how to evangelize and “win the lost”. So, I just decided to love people, be their friend and the more I did that, the more I wanted to follow my own authentic-ness. In my case, this led me out of my religion.
Then my Inclusive Leadership experiences showed me I was not the only one who wanted to live authentically and to live more inclusively AND to change the world for better and for LOVE. Inclusive Leadership addresses struggles with ourselves and with others by being in a calm state and in a safe place to share and experience growth through the dissonance.
Our struggles are often with the people that we are closest to and with whom we have the least objective perspective. Many of these struggles confronting us are due directly to our practice of inclusion. Struggles range from expressing minor irritation and conflict to unloading grief caused by loss of deep relationships.
Participating in and practicing Inclusive Leadership Workshops or Online Education provides opportunities to share strengths, and builds a sense of community, new friendships both international and domestic, ideas, and knowledge beyond our own corners of the world.
Being in a calm state and in a safe place creates authentic opportunities to share, speak our truth and learn from each other. We go into the world having grown from being in a flight/fight/freeze state to more grounded, peaceful ways of living and interacting with each other with purpose and intention.
Calm and safe interacting gives birth to creative ideas for the variety of people involved for how they may go forward and practice these principles in their lives. We feel empowered to live our most authentic selves and to share, knowing we have made new friendships based on these principles that we can draw on.
Click here to explore April’s “Hey Church Girl” book
Click here to explore Inclusive Leadership Online Education. With no financial barriers and ongoing enrollment, we can all realize our potential to become globally aware and locally skillful at embracing diversity and inclusion.