TODAY is the International Day of Peace!
This is the 4th article in a series to highlight what each of us can do to bring more peace to our world.
- The first three articles are linked at the bottom of this post.
I’m honored to include the post below from Jane Perdue, the CEO/Principal at Braithwaite Innovation Group, a friend and one of the co-author’s of the book, The Character-Based Leader… Instigating A Leadership Revolution… One Person at a Time.
I live in Charleston, South Carolina. In just a few days this past summer, my heart went from being broken by a senseless crime motivated by hate to being uplifted by people choosing to forgive, not fight or retaliate. Given my awe and respect at how my community handled this tragedy, Chery’s invitation to write about how leaders can limit division and create peace was incredibly serendipitous.
Retaliation and revenge are powerful motivators. We want to right the real or perceived wrong.
Several years ago I worked for an organization that invited several key customers to a meeting that would last several days.
The company invested a great deal of time and resources in the event, flying in the customers, planning the event, and entertaining them.
When the invitation was sent, the company said they wanted to better understand their customers’ needs and brainstorm ways to better meet them.
After the customers arrived, many were frustrated to discover that the company wasn’t really seeking to understand their needs at a higher level. Instead the company was just asking for a rubber stamp on an action plan that had already been created.
A few short months later I began working with someone that consistently emphasized that great leadership is strategy.
At first, I saw this person share a big vision, arm people with the tools and the support they needed and then get out of their way.
However, as time passed I began to realize that this person often worked relationships to avoid dealing with their own weaknesses and to drive a personal agenda.
And I started to wonder…
One of the parts of expat life that I looked forward to the most is living on a compound with people from all over the world. …People of diverse races and religions and values and personal histories living next to each other as neighbors…
Last week I shared a post with my friends – including some of my expat neighbors, about the people from Iran that were arrested after they recorded their own “Happy” YouTube Video.
I shared it because I’ve been really caught up in the news in the past few weeks:
- News of mass abductions.
- News of a death sentence for a woman who married outside of her absent father’s faith, that will be executed once her baby is weened.
- News of others that have been arrested, beaten and jailed because of a stand they have taken.
I shared it because the longer I live as an expat in a land that operates in many of the same ways as Iran, the more I sense a silent pressure building between our little trips outside of this country.
As a society we tend to label and categorize everything into the smallest, tiniest little box so it seems more clearly defined but is it always necessary? We always want to clarify with adjectives, adverbs and descriptors so there is no margin for error in what we are talking about.
- Does it help us to visualize better?
- Or does it hold more negative connotations instead of creating equality? Is it a form of discrimination?
- Will it call attention to and single out individuals as more of a minority status? How can this be kind?
About a month ago I got a note from Jane Perdue with an invitation to write a guest post for her blog with these questions as thought starters…
Do you ever wonder what women, men and society need to do so that…
- Women and persons of color are designated as a doctor, not “a woman doctor;” as a scientist, not “a Latino scientist,” etc.?
- Special designations aren’t needed in announcements, e.g.: the first woman to lead the federal reserve, the first female best director Academy Award winner, the first African American female flight crew, etc.?
I struggled with this topic for a month. I was so torn but my heart and most recent experiences led me to a very eye opening conclusion. One you may be surprised by.
Read more at: Braithwaite Innovation Group Why our world needs FIRSTS – LeadBIG
What are the most cherished gifts you have ever received?
For me that list is easy. They are the most thought-filled gifts and probably some of the least expensive ones I’ve been given.
- There is the Christmas stocking my parents purchased for me when I was four months old because they could not afford any other gifts.
- There is the memory of the first gift my husband ever purchased for me, after hearing about a song I loved. (This is years before instant downloads, so he visited every music store possible looking for that tape and finally had to ask if a store had it.) …It had just come in and had to be unpacked and priced before they could sell it to him.
- Then there’s a special collection of Hallmark tree ornaments, that remind my husband and I of a special memory from our dating years. In order to purchase all four of them, he had to go to the mall every week for a month…
This year I am especially inspired by two expat families who are determined to make Christmas memories for their children in spite of the land that we live in. For little cost, they have created memories that their family will cherish for years to come:
One named a plant Mohammed, created their own decorations, and turned that plant into their Christmas tree last year. Their kids liked it so much that this year when they had the option of a more traditional tree, they wanted Mohammed!