Be a Bright Light: Our Community Needs You!

A mentor once likened me to “Tigger” from Winnie the Pooh because we share the same boundless energy and enthusiasm. And, to be frank, a sometimes-insatiable curiosity that can, on occasion, lead to trouble.

I’ve brought that version of myself to every job that I’ve ever had, at least in the beginning.

But in just about all cases, I quickly learned that version of me was not welcome.

I was too young.

Too female.

Not experienced enough.

Lacked the right credentials to have my opinions taken seriously.

In every instance, I was capable of more than what was being asked of me. Had ideas about what the organization could be doing differently to help the people we served.

But in nearly all instances, the systems and the internal structure of the organizations kept me from being able to fully contribute to the best of my potential.

Flash forward a few years. I talk to people all the time about their work, their workplace environment, and work culture. As I listen, I hear the same things over and over again.

At the heart, people want to feel valued. They want to know that their opinions and intelligence matter. That someone wants and expects more out of them than “average.”

The crabby person in your office? They didn’t start out as a kid thinking they wanted to be the crabby person in an office. They’ve got hopes and dreams and ideas and potential. They could be crabby about a lot of things, but my guess is a big part of it is their work – and that they don’t feel valued.

If I’ve learned anything over time – between all my years in higher education and being a political junkie – it’s that the only way to change a systemic problem is to change the system.

You can try to address the symptoms, and that works for a while and even “feels” good…which on some level is valuable.

But if you want to make the biggest impact – and change things for the better for you and all the people coming behind you, you have to change the system.

And I get it. Changing the system is freakin’ hard! And a tall order! Especially when the system has existed this way for hundreds of years and for generations.

However. I am not someone who shies away from a challenge. I went back to grad school while teaching full time, with a partner and two kiddos at home.

My kids and Mark and all of my students pushed me to do better. To dream bigger. To BE better.

It’s not enough to soothe the symptoms. We have to fix the system to see real change.

I want everyone to show up to work, able to bring their whole selves.

I want workplaces to listen and value the contributions that every employee and every client brings to the table. And, with the recognition that not every idea is actionable, but that every voice should have the opportunity to be heard.

I want leaders to set high expectations for their teams and help teams reach these goals.

None of us is perfect. None of us knows everything.

Rather than constantly focusing internally to “solve” the same problems that we face on repeat, I want organizations to try a different approach.

To empower ALL people in the workplace, we have to create environments that everyone feels confident and capable.

Environments where leaders are taught to bring out the best in people – and not just simply be a manager.

It’s bigger than all of us individually.

Our world is facing real problems right now. We have the solutions.

Let’s figure it out together.

Join our Bright Light community today. It’s a group of professionally-minded people who are looking for helpful content, a place where they can share their challenges and get meaningful feedback, and a space to share good vibes.

The world needs you now more than ever. Let’s get to work.

Interested? Join the *free* community here today!

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