The following excerpt is taken from a moving essay about diversity, written by Jim Madrid. Jim is an expert in Strategic Planning and human behavior, and has been working closely with Cal South over the past two years to assist with mental health initiatives. Both Cal South and Jim are determined to spread positivity within our community through sports. All of our programming and outreach projects are designed with diversity, equity, inclusivity, belonging, and respect at the forefront.
In the wake of mental health awareness week (October 2nd to 8th), we hope you enjoy Jim’s thoughtful and provoking words.
Diversity: The Hallmark of the Human Potential
By Jim Madrid,
Advance Sports Technology, Inc.
As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” And that is the key to this article.
Over the last two years of working alongside the new administration and staff at Cal South, there has been a definite shift towards a more improved relationship in the way youth soccer should be administered and in creating a safe place for our youth to enjoy and learn from the beautiful game of soccer. I only wish that other youth sports administrators would follow their lead.
Before I define what diversity is, let me define what diversity is not. Diversity is not a corporate initiative. It’s a way of life. Diversity is not so much about acceptance. It’s about familiarity and fear. Diversity is not just about external influences and first impressions. It’s about holding a mirror up and really seeing our own reflection.
So how do we remove the barriers between people to fully embrace diversity and raise the bar of our cultural intelligence? The solution is simple – yet it is a lifelong process of discovery. It involves three things: awareness, change, and wisdom.
Step One: Awareness – Understand Your Fear
Let’s face it: everything we think and do, every second of every day, is dictated by how much we fear. The good news is that we can consciously become agents of change to override the tribal mentality we were born into, to understand and move past our fear, and kick the adrenaline addiction.
So, forget the fear… it’s holding you back… it’s a stumbling block… get over it… get on with your life and get into diversity. Move to the next level of human development and awareness.
Step 2: Change – Cultivate a Curious Mind
Be curious. Navigate new territories. Value human differences. Celebrate humanity. Respect others. Focus on the horizon, not the territory behind you. Enjoy the journey in the process, the journey of discovery, new experiences, and personal growth. Embrace diversity by networking and getting people to work together and move forward for innovative solutions.
Step 3: Wisdom – Build on What You Know
Change is the key. Be an agent of change. Change the way you talk because form follows thought. Our words and actions motivate others to think and act differently. They facilitate dialogue. From boardroom presentations to coffee room conversations, the message of respect, understanding, compassion, and appreciation will spread.
It’s time that we recollect the spirit of humanness and the successes it propelled the human mind to achieve. Diversity is the hallmark of our humanity. We all have cause to celebrate our shared destiny.
Read the full article here.