On Aug. 26 and 28, 2019 I attended the 3rd St. Gallen Diversity & Inclusion days organised by Prof. Dr. Gudrun Sander. Speakers from universities of Germany, Austria and different cities of Switzerland, as well as business persons shed once more light on the miscellaneous facets and contents of this topic. At several occasions it was said, sometimes with different words “Diversity & Inclusion starts with yourself”.
What does it concretely mean? What does it imply?
Certainly not a status quo. It means inquiring, exploring yourself, exploring your habits, your unconscious biases, acknowledge that they are there and transform them.
It means a personal transformation, a deep personal transformation, at the roots. It means exploring your spirit which guides your words and actions. And this again implies that you take time, pause, to reflect and allow yourself to do so. Allow yourself to disconnect from your handy, messages and ubiquitous requests for your attention. And if you think you have no time, consider Sénèque’s words: “It's not that we don't have much time, it's that we waste a lot of it”.
Why at all do we have to conduct these discussions, research, events and workshops about Diversity & Inclusion?
We have the tendency, more appropriately, the ingrained program to put people into boxes: she/he is white, black, gay, CFO, sales person, gardener, graduate, and so on. We forget to see the person, to meet the person in its oneness, in its uniqueness. We immediately judge; as soon as we meet someone we start categorizing with our rational mind.
My career path is mainly the one as a CFO, sometimes I had the dual function Finance with Human Resources. Not only once did it happen, that when I was speaking about Athena Wisdom Institute and its scientific background I saw puzzled faces and I am being asked: “how can you know all this”? Well: why shouldn’t I know all this?
We are, as human beings, so much more than our professions. Our personal life experiences shape us, possibly or probably, even more than our career paths. They enrich us, are pure and direct knowledge. In the West, with our inbred belief in things we can see and (scientifically) prove, we too often omit to grasp what is most important in life for any person: friendship, meaning, love, tenderness, joy of life and inner peace.
Fundamental science, which aims at describing and explaining nature, has demonstrated that many diseases originate from disbalance in our emotional life. (By the way isn’t it an irony that countless scientific applications concentrate mainly on our health and well-being and yet that what has a direct impact on these two elements cannot be physically grasped or measured?)
Self-reflection, reflecting on what life is about is experiencing spirituality. Still today though, speaking about spirituality in certain economic circles is not well-received. Too often is it associated with esoterism, which is negatively connoted.
“Diversity & Inclusion starts with yourself” implies experiencing spirituality in our lives, welcoming and engaging with everyone from being to being, respecting her/his wholeness and uniqueness.
This is an individual path. And so, indeed, Diversity & Inclusion starts with oneself. We all need to act upon Gandhi’s words: “Be the change you want to see in the world”.
This is why I founded Athena Center AG and Athena Wisdom Institute AG.