Monday Morning Motivation!
Good Monday all! I hope you had a purposeful and productive week! Thank you for the comments and feedback from last week’s “Verbally Generous” exercises. I really enjoyed reading your comments. My Monday Morning Motivators are on it! I found myself being verbally generous early in the morning to strangers and it seemed to catch some people off guard. But they realized that the big smile that followed my polite or positive comments helped many of them to see that I wasn’t some random weird lady walking past them and talking to myself. The comments eventually became contagious as others around me saw me doing it. I enjoyed making an effort to be generous and I’m glad you did too.
Ok, now I have a question for you. If you were to do a 360 degree turn to assess the world around you, how socially diverse would you say that you were? I’m sure many people never take the time to think about it, and if they did, they probably wouldn’t see anything unusual about their extended social life. I ask this question of you because I asked it of myself many years ago.
My mother’s name was Angela Upshur. She died of breast cancer at the age of 47. She was the most influential and inspirational woman I have ever met. Yes, she lived a short life, but it was indeed a full life. She made a great impact on the lives that she touched. Of course, because she was my mother, I learned many valuable lessons from her that I carry with me and apply to my experiences every day. One of the greatest social lessons I learned from her was, “Open your heart and your mind to the possibility of learning from someone else’s world.“ She didn’t just say it with her mouth; she showed me how to do it with her actions and her behaviors. My mom loved to travel to new, unfamiliar and exciting places. She was a social butterfly and called different types of people her friends. Her friends came in all shapes, sizes, color, backgrounds and belief systems. Her friends were Black, White, Jewish, Spanish, young, old, rich, poor, and some were well traveled while others never left the city that they lived in. She didn’t care where they came from or what they experienced, as long as there was something about them to love and learn from.
As I got older, I learned the value of stepping outside of the comfort of similarity and familiarity to realize, in a more personal way, that we were all created by the same God - and that reality will forever connect the human race whether we believe or want to accept it or not. We have more in common, from a humanity point of view, than we have differences. However, many of us tend to stick to our own kind. Think for a minute, about the twenty people in your life who are closest to you. You know the ones that you text all the time, talk to on the phone, or hang out with. Not your social media contacts; Twitter followers and Facebook friends. They don’t really know you.
If you and your twenty people all talk the same way, eat the same things, listen to the same music, dress the same way, read the same books, watch the same television shows and are a part of the same environment, are you growing socially? If I were to meet the ten people who are closest to you, what would I learn about you? If I were to interview your closest family, friends, colleagues, schoolmates, neighbors, club members, church members, and exercise buddies, how socially diverse would I discover you to be? What would your circle, your team or your village look like, sound like or think like? No matter what the answers to these questions are, would you be willing to let someone different onto your team, or into your circle or village? I have come to realize that it is difficult to respect someone if you can’t see life or an idea from their point of view. You don’t necessarily have to agree with someone in order to respect him or her. With that being said, I present the next exercise.
Exercise: For the rest of the week, make an effort every day, to meet someone who is different than you are. No pressure…your choice. It can be someone who does not share your similarities in culture, work experience, opinions or the like. How and to whom you engage is up to you. I know this is an interesting exercise, but you just might learn something that you never knew about them or yourself. Let me know how you are doing throughout the week and we will reconnect next Monday.
Have a great week… on purpose!
Copyright © 2015 by Angela J. Williams. All rights reserved.