Use These 5 Practices in Your Growth Journey

I am writing this blog post as an encouragement for those of you who are leading Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion projects inside nonprofits, government agencies, corporate space, and philanthropies — my people.

Our space is a hard one right now. If you are feeling anything like me, you are tired. It is challenging to navigate the balance between protecting ourselves and our time and pouring out for our organizations. Recently, I shared my biggest lesson from 2021, to stop fighting for organizations that had no sense of why racial equity is an essential part of their mission. This post reflects my second biggest lesson — using supportive practices in my work.

Change-maker, as you look to the year ahead, I encourage you to consider and incorporate these five supportive practices into your work life. I am working on these elements in my business, too, so we can grow our mindsets together.

Here are my five recommended supportive practices:

 

1.  Create firm boundaries. I wrote about the need for boundaries in another post, but it is so important, it bears repeating.

  • Determine how much of yourself and your talent that you will give to the role that you are in.
  • At that point, draw a firm line. Give only that much. You do not have to be the voice of reason in every space — all of the time.
  • Fall back sometimes to protect yourself.

 

2. Trust your instincts. Learning to heed your intuition is important personal work. Trusting yourself is a process.

  • One way to build trust in yourself is to audit your decisions.
  • Start giving yourself credit for every good decision you make, for even the smallest decisions. For example, if you pick the fastest line in the grocery store, give yourself credit for making the right choice. Over time, you’ll notice a growing balance of good decisions.

 

3. Invest in yourself. Continue your learning through courses, training, or coaching. As a practitioner, there is growth in the journey.

  • Ask yourself where you need to grow and learn.
  • Then, make a learning and growth plan for 2022 that includes areas of interest and challenge.
  • Then, determine how you will cultivate that knowledge.

 

4. Build a support system. I work in community with colleagues and friends who understand my work.

  • Create therapeutic spaces for yourself to rejuvenate. I hear a lot of pain in my work, usually with an expectation that I can fix it or help in some way. It can be a heavy load sometimes.
  • Practice self-care and develop good protective practices around your time. I am working on this one right now. I’ll share more of my journey when I have made some strides in this area.

 

5. Learn when to walk away. Many of us stay too long in places we shouldn’t. Maybe you feel undervalued and unappreciated. Or maybe you have outgrown the organization you work in.

  • If you have those feelings, reassess your own fit.
  • After that first achy twinge, that feeling rarely goes away.
  • I find it helpful in those moments to welcome the discomfort, then explore it. There is usually a lesson to be learned.

If you are leading DEI work, think about how you can incorporate these five considerations into your work life. I have been a Racial Equity Consultant for eight years, and I am still growing and learning how to connect (and disconnect) from my work in healthy ways.

How many of these practices can you implement this year?

Author: Joanna Shoffner Scott
Dr. Joanna Shoffner Scott is an experienced management consultant specializing in helping organizations realize their racial equity aspirations. She has consulted with more than 50 organizations in the public and private sectors. Clients and former clients include organizations from workforce development, research, public policy, social services, place-based community sector collaboratives, government agencies, and philanthropies. She is the founder and Principal of Stamey Street Consulting Group. Joanna helps organizations move forward who are stuck in their racial equity journey.

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