A couple of days ago, I was giving a workshop as part of a coaching programme that we (Pentago) are running for a company here in Ireland.
The workshop - titled "Fostering Collaboration" - was the fourth in a series of six and I was looking forward to it.
Pat O'Sullivan, one of my colleagues, sent me a quote in case I wanted to use it along the way.
"Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being invited to dance."
The workshop went well, the interaction was great and I used the quote a couple of times to draw us back to some of the topics that we had been discussing.
This morning I was looking at my sketchbook and this pen drawing from a few days ago made me stop and think.
A couple of weeks ago I met (on Zoom) Amy Chiniara, an illustrator from Beirut.
I had asked her to be my guest DJ for the In the Neighbourhood music show that I do on NearFm.
Our only prior interactions was Amy sending me some links of some musicians that she knew as suggestions for the show's set list.
Whilst talking about all these wonderful Middle Eastern and Arab artists, Amy kindly gave me a first hand account of what life in Beirut is like in 2021, including quite a lot of personal and very interesting details of her personal circumstances and beliefs.
As I listened to her story, I felt so privileged to be the recipient of her knowledge, wisdom and experience, to have established a rapport of trust and understanding in such a short space of time, spanning across cultural and digital divides.
I have interviewed around 150 people over the last three years for my various podcasts and radio shows. I can tell you all about their stories, their ideas, their passion and their taste in music.
I can't tell you what they earn, how successful they are and what car they drive.
When I am "sitting" with someone - whether a guest, a client or a friend - I am listening , I am learning. My curiosity is heightened, I want to know more, more about them, more about what's behind the title, the badge, the persona and, just like reading a good book, I am happy to wait a few pages for the twist, for that unexpected moment or that word or that reference to the past, that opens up yet another world for both of us to explore together.
So when I read the quote that Pat sent me, I'd like to think that what I am doing both with my work and my projects, is asking everyone up for a dance.
I am not a great dancer but I am sure I can learn a few little steps from everyone I meet.
The power of equality
Is not yet what it ought to be
It fills me up like a hollow tree
The power of equality
Red Hot Chili Peppers