When It Comes Down To It

In my nearly 50 years on the Earth, half of which have been spent in leadership and management positions, I have learned that we’re a lot more alike than we are different. To be sure we have differences. We must celebrate and welcome those differences. When we become close-minded and hard of heart, we quench the spirit dwelling in us as well as in those around us. The world of possibilities shrinks rather than expands.

Incredible technological advancements aided by the firestorm of social media have dramatically closed the distance that once separated us by time and distance. While there remains a lot of work still to be done, we have seen walls crumble, statues tumble, and borders fade. Tremendous strides have been made in creating an atmosphere that values life and respects cultural diversity. We celebrate our differences and root for the success of our shared hopes and dreams. We want to feel loved and be respected. We need to be valued and add value. We yearn to feel safe and secure in our homes, neighborhoods, and places of work. We desire to have access to meet our most basic needs like education and health care. We strive to leave a better future for those who will inevitably follow us tomorrow.

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Boarding a Boeing 747 at the age of six, leaving everyone and everything I knew behind (except my parents, of course), I learned at a very early age that not everybody looked like me and that not everyone had the same background as me. Heck, we didn’t even all speak the same language!

Through the years, I have been blessed by those who accepted me for being different without even giving it a second thought. It would be hypocritical of me not to do the same. Yes, we are different. However, beneath those differences that separate us lies a lot of ground that we share in common.

In the week ahead, don’t exclude; strive to include. Celebrate the differences of the people in your circle of influence while focusing on what you share in common. You’ll be amazed by what you can achieve.

Press on. Keep the faith.

Originally published by Rainer Bantau on LinkedIn on September 28,2014

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