Brown girl in the ring…..

A very interesting discussion today at the diversity and inclusion focus group I was asked to join. The topic of discussion was the lack of women of colour in leadership positions – very apt considering today is International Women’s Day.

There were varied perspectives around the table, as you’d expect given that we perceive things based on our own personal experiences as a result of our gender, ethnicity, sexual preference.

We all agreed that irrespective of anything else, a job position should always only ever be filled by the right person for that job!

However the caveat being, how can any company ever be sure that it is the right person who has been chosen for a particular role, especially when unconscious and/or confirmation bias, prejudice and stereotyping can and very often does play such a large part in determining who is given the opportunity to progress upwards.

Which then took us to the subject area of why so few women of colour progress up the ranks in the corporate world?

A 2017 McKinsey study stated that “One of the most powerful reasons for the lack of progress is a simple one: we have blind spots when it comes to diversity, and we can’t solve problems that we don’t see or understand clearly.”

In an article in the New York Times written by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Wharton School Professor Adam Grant, one commenter aptly described the challenges in corporate jobs as a woman of Indian heritage. Swati B, who self-identified as an Indian woman wrote: “I face huge biases not just due to my gender, but also due to my race, which is commonly associated with people that are good at ‘doing’ work, and not so much at ‘selling’ themselves.”

So the question here would be, why do women of colour find it so hard to ‘sell themselves’? Why do we very often downplay our successes and achievements? A large part of the humility factor can be put down to cultural norms and conditioning but is there a deeper underlying factor involved?

The Centre for Women Policy Studies found 21% of women of color surveyed did not feel they were free to be “themselves at work.” The same study found more than one third of women of color — ranging from 28 percent to 44 percent — believed that they must “play down” their race or ethnicity to succeed.

So the question we are left with is how can we create a fairer platform for women of colour in the corporate world?

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Bollocks to being perfect…..

I can’t emphasise this enough, perfection is a farce, a facade and completely inauthentic. #beautycomesinallshapesandsizes #youarebeautiful as you are, short, tall, average, fat, slim, medium, average, brown, white, black, yellow – whatever colour! Blue eyes, brown eyes, green, hazel, grey, mixed. Long hair, short hair, straight hair, curly hair or bald! You are totally unique!! Don’t ever let any numpty tell you that you aren’t enough, don’t ever let any numpty make you feel less than you are. Life is this amazing, crazy, fabulous, shitty, exciting, calm, volatile, sublime, explosive thing! But it is YOUR ONE life in this body! Shouldn’t YOU LIVE IT on your terms?   

Being you….

This came up on my Facebook memories from a few years ago! It is most definitely a philosophy I live by now. For many years I didn’t, I was a people pleaser and moulded myself into what I thought people wanted me to be or would like and each time I did that I felt more lost. In terms of being a kind person, this has and will never change – I don’t know how not to be kind or considerate and if truth be known I don’t want to be any other way when it comes to kindness, that is a huge part of who I am. I guess my ‘shape-shifting’ came in the form of always doing what everyone else wanted and not allowing my voice to come through, just in case I was disapproved of. Well over the years, more so after my breast tumour scare I came to realise that my life was/is far too precious to live it pleasing those, who in the grand scheme of things, really have no significance in or on my life whatsoever! And lessons from my past showed me that, no matter how much I compromised myself some people were never going to like me, some people were never going to be kind to me and some people would outright just hate me, and really in the end, how much did their approval or ‘affection’/lack thereof, really mean to how my life would continue. And the truth was/is – IT DID/DOES NOT! So I made the decision a few years ago to say BOLLOCKS!! I’m not living my life for any randoms ever again! I do not seek your approval because I approve of myself! And you know what I’ve been so much more content, peaceful and happier since. The lesson here for me was/is, that no matter how kind you are, how considerate you are, however funny you are, how clever/intelligent you are, how slim/curvaceous you are, whatever your skin colour is, whatever language(s) you speak, whatever vehicle you drive, where you live, what you do for a living, none of it will matter to some people, because not everyone will like or love you and at the same time you won’t like or love everyone you meet and you know what – THAT IS ABSOLUTELY FINE. Just don’t change who you are to ‘fit in’ because you’ll lose the very thing that makes you, YOU!! 
  

I am a proud Raggy Doll…..

I loved the children’s tv show from the 80’s – The Raggy Dolls, I think it did a great job in helping kids of that generation accept and embrace their imperfections. Today we live in a world where kids and adults – well, basically everybody – is made to feel crap/shitty/bollocks about themselves if they don’t have the flat washboard stomach, if they don’t have silky hair, if they don’t have ‘perfectly’ formed bodies! If they don’t live this exotic lifestyle where they frolic in the sand, swim in the sea and live like Tarzan and Jane in nature. This is just complete and utter bollocks, let’s be honest not everyone likes the sea, maybe they’d prefer to live like Heidi in the Austrian Alps! Or like The Little House on the Prairie, or maybe they’re happy living in a two-up, two-down house and working 9-5! I’ve met many ‘perfect’ looking people over the years through many of the retreats I’ve done and the truth is I think trying to maintain a facade of perfection is far more damaging, not just for the ‘plastic fantastic barbie/Ken’ but for those who literally will harm themselves trying to achieve a body that is realistically not always achievable, though I add here, never say never and I’m sure there are some who may work really really hard to achieve what they think is the perfect body – but to what detriment? Most of the ‘plastic fantastics’ that I’ve met are really not very nice or kind, they are so obsessed with their external appearance and maintaining this ‘ethereal’ facade and image that they forget how to treat people nicely, and the only ones that they do treat nicely are the ones paying them to treat them nicely!  
Me personally, I’d rather be around imperfect people who are kind and compassionate than be around the ‘plastics’….this is just my opinion and I’m not advocating being obese or unhealthy by any means, just that I advocate living in balance, because unhealthy doesn’t always mean fat, you can be a ‘plastic fantastic’ and still be unhealthy in your mind……balance is key, embracing your imperfections is important, self-acceptance is important! Being KIND is important!!! Being a Raggy Doll is important!

  

Attachment and illusion….

 

It’s not about caring less about ‘something’ in order for one to attain happiness, it’s about the level of attachment you have to that ‘something’. Loving and caring are positive, they show you feel, they show the colour of your heart, they show the love you have to give. So why do we keep reading that the root to happiness is to care less, maybe we should change that to – the road to happiness is in releasing the attachment and illusion. You see, we, as humans get truly burnt because of our need for attachment to whatever it is we care about, be that our homes, our jobs, our cars, our friends, our families, our pets, the list goes on.  
In Sanskrit and Hinduism we talk about ‘Moh’ (attachment to people or things) and ‘Maya’ (illusion) and it is these 2 things that we need to learn to release. So don’t stop loving, don’t stop caring, just learn to release the attachment and illusion. How? By understanding that nothing is forever, things will come and go. Learning to live completely in the moment, the right here, the right now. Valuing what you have in this very present moment but detaching from the ‘need’ to have it. 

  
Learning to value everything without conditions will help us to move closer to releasing ‘Moh’ and ‘Maya’. It is not an overnight process, but over time with focus we can move towards seeing everything with love, if we love everything unconditionally and with equality, this need for possession can start dissipating. 

  

I am enough…..

We’re living in a world where we’re constantly being told to do more, to be more, to want more, to have more. This constant striving for more is creating a universal vibration of everybody actually having less, or rather their perception of having less, as a result of this ‘more’ energy is that they don’t have enough, that they are not enough. This then creates a whole new energy of mass competition, where a ‘fuck you, as long as I’m ok’ attitude is becoming the norm. 
Well let’s choose to turn this around and instead of asking for more, why not give more. Give more unconditional love, give more light to those in darkness, give more space in your heart, give all you meet more compassion, most of all be the type of person who gives so much more kindness. 
Change your thoughts of wanting more to those of giving more and watch how the vibrations and energy around you changes to that of abundance. Go on, give it a try.

💗Nidhi Rupa Joshi💗