Comfort zone

I have started many a session on inclusion with a picture of the concrete chair by Stefan Zwicky with the title ‘Are you sitting uncomfortably’… I am often told by people who I work with that they lack confidence to work to be more inclusive through fear of getting it wrong. Now I appreciate that there are some behaviours (e.g. #AskDontGrab) and language that must be avoided (we’ll explore these on the blog next week). However, beyond that your confidence will come in time and the majority of people will be grateful you are trying to be more inclusive.

‘Concrete Chair’ by Stefan Zwicky

However, the really important step is being willing to both acknowledge and step outside your comfort zone. If books are your thing, I would highly recommend ‘Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People’ by Banaji & Greenwald as an initial read. An important takeaway lesson is that how we view other people is heavily influenced by our experiences and the information we receive as we grow up. Rather than clumsily trying to explain this here, instead I will embed a short CBeebies film that will do a much better job…

You may be aware that last week, 13th – 19th November was Trans Awareness Week and this culminated on Friday 20th with Trans Awareness Day. As an inclusion professional I am comfortable admitting that this is the area where I feel the least amount of confidence and have the greatest amount of learning to do. My son has a child in his class who is non-binary and I feel that it is great that they feel able to declare and share this with classmates. We have a long way to go as a society and I often fret about the pronouns I use. It will take some adjustment but I am getting there and have now included them in my e-mail signature at work which has sparked a couple of other people to do the same. For me this feels like the start of my journey to become an effective trans ally.

The purpose of this week’s blog is to say it is ok to not feel confident. It is positive to acknowledge the gaps in your awareness, appreciation and understanding. If you are committed to a path of self improvement to become more inclusive in your behaviours and actions then more power to your elbow! However, in doing so it can be all to easy to be hypercritical of yourself and for that reason I encourage you to embrace this poem ‘Autobiography in Five Short Chapters’ by Portia Nelson from the wonderfully titled “There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery”.

I would love to hear from you on your personal inclusion journeys and any films, clips, poems or books that have inspired your thinking and growth. Together we could build a wonderful library of resources and though it will take some effort #ImNotTired, are you?

2 thoughts on “Comfort zone

  1. Really thought provoking reflections, thanks for sharing your perspective and tips as it can feel like a daunting task to tackle all of our unconscious biases sometimes! The Cbeebies video was also a real eye opener (and very cute!) on how learned our behaviours around inclusion are.

    At RNID we are all using pronouns in out email signatures and are constantly aiming to be a more inclusive employer and volunteer involving organisation. It’s a journey, but definitely feels like positive steps in the right direction. Looking forward to reading more features from you in future.


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