Published September 16, 2019

Episode 058: Bozoma Saint John and Paula Faris on The Authenticity Challenge

Today’s society seems hopelessly divided along race, gender, age, political and other lines. Many leaders are asking, “How can we work together to solve big problems in such a divided world?” In this episode of the GLS Podcast, Bozoma Saint John sits down with Paula Faris to discuss the challenges of showing up as your authentic self in the middle of this division. They discuss how the solution to big societal issues begins with individual relationships, and how authenticity can be the pathway to genuine connection in your friendships, work teams and organizations.

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SUMMARY:

Today’s society seems hopelessly divided along race, gender, age, political and other lines. Many leaders are asking, “How can we work together to solve big problems in such a divided world?” In this episode of the GLS Podcast, Bozoma Saint John sits down with Paula Faris to discuss the challenges of showing up as your authentic self in the middle of this division. They discuss how the solution to big societal issues begins with individual relationships, and how authenticity can be the pathway to genuine connection in your friendships, work teams and organizations.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • If we are authentic, we allow other people to be authentic.
  • Societal ills continue to exist when we pretend there are no deep-seated biases. We all have them.
  • Things will change when we all show up. We need to encourage open dialogue and vulnerability.
  • I’m in a lot of rooms where I’m the only black person. It can be difficult to represent every black person on the planet, but I try not to be offended when people ask questions. It’s better that people feel comfortable and want to learn rather than holding back.
  • A phrase that will open the door to difficult conversations: “I actually don’t know, and I would like to know.”
  • Society is not this big “thing;” it’s really your neighbor.
  • We can tackle big societal issues by simply being vulnerable with one another.
  • Diversity is being asked to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance. – Verna Myers
  • It would help the diversity conversation if it started in the majority culture.
  • Honestly look at your circle of friends. Are they same as you? Look the same? Think the same? Similar socio-economic level? Find ways to educate yourself, even if it’s reading a book or listening to a podcast.
  • Companies and organizations are not a “thing;” they are simply a collection of human beings.
  • We think of confidence and strength as an individual characteristic. Actually, strength is about what your community is capable of—together.
  • In meetings, elevate other people. If you have the mic, pass it to someone else. It doesn’t lessen your voice.
  • If you are getting too many yeses in a meeting, it’s not healthy.
  • I believe in empowering people. My success is built on the success of others.

 

 

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

1. Bozoma Saint John challenged you to look honestly at your close circle of friends. List your 5 closest friends on the chart below and identify the ways they are similar or different from you.

1. Bozoma Saint John challenged you to look honestly at your close circle of friends. List your 5 closest friends on the chart below and identify the ways they are similar or different from you.

2. What did the chart above reveal about your relationships? How does your current circle of relationships impact your ability to bridge the divides on a personal basis?

3. Bozoma Saint John said there are multiple reasons why we are nervous to enter into conversations across the divides in our society. What aspects of these conversations make you uncomfortable?

4. Look back at your list above (or go outside the list if you need to) and identify a person in your life with whom you differ in a significant way. If you were to talk with them about the things you identified in question 3, what do you think would happen?

5. Stretch yourself to enter the conversation. What is ONE thing you could do to show up and step toward a more authentic understanding of someone different from you this week?

 

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

Verna Myers

Donald Trump

Martin Luther King

Uber

Papa Johns

John Schnatter

Lyft

Pepsi

 

RELATED LINKS:

Bozoma Saint John

William Morris Endeavor

Paula Faris

Journeys of Faith Podcast with Paula Faris

The Global Leadership Summit

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