Thriving at the One Iowa Gala!

So….the other day I attended the 2017 OneIowa Gala – celebrating the progress we have made to support LGBTQ community in Iowa.  I attended as a representative of my company and I was beyond honored to show my support for those individuals who have shown courage, perseverance and conviction to be who they are.

I have thought a lot about the way we label people and quite frankly, I am overwhelmed by all the “labels” that I need to learn (see Katie Couric “Gender Revolution”).  I suppose my identity would be called a Cis-gender heterosexual female, yet I have a lot to learn about this.  I am open to learning.

But here’s the thing….I really don’t like labels and to me, they just confuse me.  What I can identify with is the label of a human being who is Accepting. Loving. and Supportive.  Label me that way.  Refer to me that way.  That’s a label I embrace with pride.

As I attended the Gala I watched, I listened and I learned.  I witnessed the courage of people who stood up for what they believed in and persevered to drive change that was important to them from the depths of their soul.

I witness strength of amazing people who persevered to be who they were despite the cruelty shown to them through ignorance and fear.   I felt pride to learn about progressive companies who have stepped up to their important role to create a supportive, inclusive workplace for all people.

This Gala may have been to honor a select community but the takeaways are for everyone.

Embrace who you are.

We spend so much time, effort and energy trying to be what other people expect us to be.  No matter what your “label”…dig deep and find the courage to be YOU.  Live your life who you are with pride.  You are a unique human being and if other’s aren’t okay with that….find new “others”.   After all – no one can do YOU….better than YOU. Wear it well.

Look for commonality verses differences.

If we were really honest, we would admit we have more in common than we have differences.  Let’s start with the fact we are all human beings put on this earth for a unique purpose.  Every one of us has struggles, challenges and obstacles and we all want to be loved, accepted and supported.  Let’s start there.

For God’s sake, stop the judgements.

Literally  – for God’s sake.  The only judge.  Let’s not try to play God.  We won’t measure up.  In the meantime, show tolerance, compassion and be open to learning.  Having diverse beliefs, ideas and opinions is a beautiful thing….it really is.  Having the courage to share your passions is an awesome gift.  Where this concept falls short is where our opinions become the opinions and we lack tolerance for anything else.  Judgement is rooted in fear and ignorance.  Stop it.

Love is Love is Love is Love. 

It’s not about who you love it’s about that you love.  If we focus on Love it will breed understanding and acceptance.  It’s the perfect place to start.

ithrive31:  Now comes the time for action.  Here are 3 ways you can take action over the next 31 days.

  • Show support – Each of us likely knows someone who needs a friend or someone who is struggling to gain acceptance. Reach out.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone and take a risk.
  • Demonstrate encouragement – Do you know someone who is facing opposition by supporting a cause or personal passion? Walk beside them and let them know you support them.   You may not even agree with the position they are taking but let them know you recognize the courage and perseverance it takes to stand against opposition.
  • Learn More – It’s time for you to do some self-reflection. Do you have opinions and beliefs that are rooted in your own insecurities and fears?  Be open to learning more.   Be conscious of your thoughts, reactions and beliefs to the unfamiliar or different.  Ask yourself “Is this more about me than “them”?”

Take the action to learn more, do different and impact the world in a positive way.  As a result, you will live a more thriving life.

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