Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a few stories written about my team’s efforts to develop leaders in the field of medicine with a specific emphasis on diversity in medicine. I’m always grateful and honored to be featured, however, I’ve began to notice a recurring theme; one that has been bothering me a bit.
One of my favorite children animation films is Inside Out [SPOILER ALERTS COMING]. In this film, a young girl by the name of Riley moves to a new town and struggles to adjust. It becomes clear that she feels “boxed-in” and trapped in a situation that she doesn’t want to be in. She even goes to the point of trying to run away from home.
This film does an excellent job of showing the mixed bag of personified emotions leading to Riley’s decisions. The real star of the show is her favorite emotion, Joy. Throughout the film, Joy works relentlessly to change Riley’s mood and bring the “joy” out of her. You see, Riley’s external environment was controlling her. The move to a new town along with it’s various adjustments impacted her performance and subsequently the way others viewed her.
Lately, I’ve felt boxed-in. I’ve felt like Joy trapped in Riley’s mind. I get the sense that people look at our efforts, and lump them solely into the box of diversity work rather than what they truly are; leadership development and systems improvement efforts. The impact of our work, and many in the field of “diversity” goes far beyond meeting quotas and making sure we have enough representation. The true fruits of the work are the outcomes in system improvement.
It’s a constant battle working to help people appreciate that. It’s a constant battle reminding them that just because we do “diversity” work, doesn’t mean we are great in other areas as well. It’s important that we don’t box people into diversity, but rather, we realize that diversity emanates from inside every individual, and out into the world. It’s inside out!
Have you struggled with similar feelings as mine? Being boxed in when you know you are so much more. Please share your thoughts.
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