Date Added: August 2011
Note: This article appeared in the August 3, 2011 issue of The Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Gandhi said, "My life is my message." These words express a range of thought related to embracing diversity in your organization and communicating your personal brand.
Diversity is associated with politics, religion, nationality and ethnicity. Diversity can be disruptive for people and organizations, creating intense debate. As Hispanic, Hmong and Somali ethnicities expand in our community; are you and your organization engaging these groups? Too often we wait to be approached vs. proactively reaching out to others. Is this the message you want for your life or do you want to embrace diversity?
Arguably, religion is a very divisive issue, causing many wars and conflicts. When asked about his religion, it's been said Gandhi -- a Hindu -- replied, "I'm Hindu... and also Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Jewish." We typically believe our religion, ideology, thinking, etc. is the "right" way; which can cause issues with co-workers and within our organization. Yet, is this how you want others to think of you (i.e. my way is the right way)?
In terms of communicating your personal brand, consider Gandhi's words. We frequently are asked, "What do you do?" We are taught to provide a brief elevator story describing ourselves; giving our resume in words about our job, results, etc.
How would Gandhi reply? "I'm a husband, son and brother. I'm Indian and Hindu. I'm a pacifist, politician, philosopher and humanitarian leader." This is a very different response than we provide. Are we afraid to describe who we really are? Is it because it's not "politically correct," even if you're simply sharing this information vs. debating your viewpoint?
My LinkedIn page states, "I am inspire people and organizations to learn and continuously improve." I'm as guilty as others because this is rarely stated when asked, "What do you do?" It's time to overcome the fear of being different and live Gandhi's words more closely -- embracing diversity and life.
Our actions and how live our lives describe who we are and what we do -- not our vocation. Consider the stronger friendships we would have at work, home and in the community. What message are you conveying every day in what you think, say and do?