Does the path to our best possible future live in the silence?
Recently, I was rehearsing the closing of my DIVERSIFY keynote and – for the first time in a long time – I connected to the meaning of the words that makes it one of my favourite songs of all time. I re-affirmed – for myself – that valuing diversity means creating the space for everyone to have a voice but not remaining silent when there are those that try to take that voice away.
Rather than trying to hit the right notes (that are clearly at the edge of my vocal range!) I engaged with the powerful emotions that make this version of the song* so poignant in the world in which we all find ourselves…and that our children might inherit.
It’s still not quite ready for prime time and, hell, maybe this version never will be.
…but maybe that’s the point…
Maybe it’s not about being ‘pitch perfect’ in order to collect acknowledgement and affirmation…connections and influence.
Perhaps the path to our best possible collective future comes when each of us lend our imperfect voices…and our ears…to a conversation about what that future might be. A conversation where valuing diversity of thought, experience and perspectives creates ‘better’. A perfectly imperfect journey that is far greater than the sum of the ‘perfected’ parts.
Maybe our role should not be speaking loud enough to be heard but speaking up for those that don’t have a voice – seeking to create engagement with and through them.
Maybe it should be to create the silence to listen. So that we build understanding in search of a shared truth and meaningful change.
The path to a thriving resilient organization, an equal inclusive workplace and a fair just society might be the same. Maybe the best way to confront the darkness is not by going deeper into the shadows…but by seeking out the light. Not by making more noise but by seeking out the cracks in the noise. Maybe…just maybe…the very best of us is found in the silence.
*HT to David, Danny, Fuzz and Mikey of Disturbed for creating this amazing arrangement of the one of the greatest songs of all time…and to Paul Simon for seeing a future that he hoped we might avoid.
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