Why Should I Share My Story?
This is a question I have asked myself numerous times in my life, and once again, over the past several weeks. It all started when a colleague and I journeyed to Dubai in January. We
both had friends and family very concerned about the fact we were traveling to the Middle East (this took place one week after the inauguration of the new administration) – but we chose to make the journey without fear.
During the week in Dubai, we met some amazing human beings all on the same journey that we are on to help fix the healthcare system. I remember in one of our sessions, sitting in a room filled with executives from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai. A statement was made to me, “Shawn, we do not hate your President, we just want to understand him.” Isn’t that what we all really want, is just to be understood at times.
Now let me jump ahead to last week. I was asked to facilitate a session at a conference focused on hosting MBE / WBE (Minority or Women Owned Businesses) businesses and corporations working with them. I have to be honest! I went in with no set expectation that anything great was going to come out of this event. Oh,was I wrong!
It was an incredible event from both a business and personal perspective. I met some truly inspiring people and heard many motivational stories. In all of that, again, it was a challenge to me. I kept hearing in my head, “Shawn, own it!” When the event concluded, I walked back to my room, drained both emotionally and physically – but so full of joy for what I had just experienced. I left that event forever changed, but most important, I left there with many new friends.
What I Learned On This Journey!
I learned that I need to be proud of who I am and what I am. Now, let me explain. I am an extremely extroverted person (some say, too extroverted). My wife tells me that I have a bigger than life personality – much like my mother! Who better to learn from? At the same time, I have a quiet inner voice that can be, at times, a bit scary. This aspect of my personality comes from my father! My father, was 100% Comanche Indian.
I can only imagine what he and my mother faced when they got married in the 1960’s in Tucson, Arizona. I have been asked my whole life if I was hispanic. I am not. I am Native American and Caucasian. My Father was born in Texas and my mother in the mountains of Kentucky (GO BIG BLUE!!!).
I was raised in Arizona and have had the privilege of living all over our great country. I don’t really understand racism or treating people differently because of their life styles. I was simply taught to love, respect, and treat all people the same way. I thank my parents for this perspective and my upbringing. It really has helped me be who I am today, and continues to help me become who I need to be.
In the world of business, I look different, act different, and in many cases, just out right scare people (maybe it’s the blue hair or red hair) – but that is just fine! Many of them need it! They need to think differently and embrace others that think and act different than they do. Our world is made up of incredible diversity! Now, more than ever, what we need is the spirit of inclusion! We need to love each other as we love ourselves! All lives, all people, no matter color, lifestyle choice, or walk of life – deserve to be loved!
What I Will Do!
Personally, I will stay true to myself. I will love all of those that I come into contact with just as I love myself. I will respect all for who they are no matter where they come from. Professionally, I will embrace my heritage. I will say I am proud to be a minority owned business. And I will seek to help all of us on this journey!
What You Can Do!
I just ask you to do the same! Nothing more, nothing less!
“Diversity And Inclusion Are About Giving Value To Every Human Being, No Matter Our Differences.”