One approach to human diversity (and there are many!) is to see it like a tree – there are some obvious features that make a tree, “a tree” – its trunk, branches and roots. But get a little closer and there are many different kinds of trees. People are the same.
Most of us have a body, face and at least some limbs, yet there is a lot more than just appearances that make up who we are. Below are some of the different aspects that make up our identity. And, like a tree, some parts are easier to notice, and others take a little more time and exploration to get to know.
Just as trees depend on their land, nutrients and environment, so do people. Similar trees can look very different in different places – ever seen a bonsai? And the amazing thing about people is that who we are can change from place to place, and even over time. Who we are on holiday is not necessarily who we are at work!
Appreciating our own and other’s diversity is the first step to inclusion.
Notice how sometimes, we may struggle with our own personal diversity as much as with other people. Not only that, how we relate to our own diversity can inform how we work with different people. Understanding that differences are a part of everyone’s identity can help us find new common ground.
So what makes you “you”? Probably more than your physical appearance. And your colleagues?
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