“This is slavery: To not speak one’s thoughts.” – Euripides
Have you noticed the topics that matter most are the ones we stray furthest from discussing?
We shy away from sharing about unrest in our family. We stay silent about mental illness. We keep our thoughts on deep seeded challenges to ourselves. We seldom convey how we are really doing with difficult work situations, how we really feel about moral issues and where we really stand on important issues facing our life today.
I realized last week that our neglect to discuss the real issues in our lives is rooted in our hypersensitive, politically correct societal norms. Let me explain.
I was on a call with my client who invited me to speak to her organization. We discussed how to craft our day together so that her team would leave ready to charge past current professional challenges, be unified and empowered to take on opportunities.
We had a wonderful dialogue. Before it ended, I asked if there were any topics to avoid during our time together. She responded, “Your faith and any other personal beliefs you may have.”
She went on to say “John, just be politically correct.”
My friends, I get the idea of being politically correct. I believe pontificating to others on personal matters is wrong. But, individually and organizationally, we absolutely become weaker when we can no longer share with others what makes us strong.
We become more divided when we are no longer free to celebrate how we are different. [Tweet that.]
We become less creative when we can no longer confidently share our thoughts and ideas with those around us without the constant fear offending.
Real freedom and an inclusive culture is not found in muffling people from proclaiming their faith, sexual orientation, political beliefs or view on business, leadership or life. Rather it is found when we empower others to share boldly, listen and learn from other experiences, discover shared beliefs, goals, and possibility and then advance forward together.
The calling of great leadership, the calling of each of our lives, is not to shy away from what matters most. Rather, it is to boldly, thoughtfully and lovingly share what matters most to us. We should articulate why we have certain beliefs, fears and dreams because they have been the fuel for the journey of our lives. And we should absolutely listen openly to others opinions and beliefs for they have shaped their journey, too.
“Political correctness” won’t unite us. It won’t fix racial tensions, alleviate economic disparities or lessen political differences. It won’t fix marriages, heal wounds, rekindle old relationships or allow your business to move forward in a new direction. Being politically correct keeps us from speaking. It does not help us grow closer to others; it does not help us become more informed; it does not unlock the possibility of tomorrow; it does not change our world.
Only love can do that.
What are the beliefs and truths that mean the most to you? The ones that have fueled your life’s path? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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