Your brain is an extraordinary organ. But it plays tricks on you. It was designed to protect you from wild animals, natural disasters, and other risks of imminent physical harm or death that you’re not experiencing most of the times that your amygdala, or reptilian brain, is triggered. You can and absolutely must question your brain, especially when you are dealing with human beings. This is not easy, yet training is becoming mandatory in many professions and public spaces. Some people think this is a bad idea, of course. There will always be people with different opinions, which is okay. None of us has everything in life all figured out, even if our brains try to make us think we do.
When I work with clients (or loved ones, for that matter) to reveal those biases hidden from us, I also have to explore my own. No matter how many times I remove one, it seems like another will appear, based on new information and experiences. Like conflict, this is a natural part of living, at least for most humans. This is why I ask you to make The Seven Choices before we start developing any action plans around diversity and inclusion:
- Forgive yourself for having conflicts, including implicit biases.
- Acknowledge yourself for taking any action to resolve any conflict arising out of an implicit bias.
- Forgive the world for having and creating conflicts.
- Free the emotions.
- Clear your mind.
- Assume you know nothing about anything.
- Listen with your third ear, or your h-EAR-t.
Yes, this will often be to meet a licensing or other legal requirement, but I am confident you will also benefit from using the tools in other aspects of your life. While avoiding a lawsuit, penalty, or loss of income, you will build skill in recognizing when your brain is sending you ineffective messages that cause conflict in other areas of your life. This is the cherished win-win-win that mediators talk about.