We are experiencing an epidemic of isolation in organizations and communities. People often tell me of their pain of feeling “on the outside” and not respected based on their real and perceived differences. We see a rising culture of fear, distrust and polarization. People don’t feel connected and understood. They sense that others are closed to them and they don’t feel open to others either.
Many sense an unraveling. Almost everyone I meet knows someone who has committed suicide or had a drug overdose; 47,000 Americans kill themselves each year and 72,000 die from drug addiction. Of course, this pain influences families and communities.
I wonder, what could happen if more of us embraced an open mindset and thought more about “we” than just “me”? Would we be more kind to our isolated neighbors in our workplaces and our communities?
David Brooks, the New York Times columnist and author, shares about the power of “Weavers.”
These are people who are building community in their neighborhoods and workplaces doing such things as working with youth, visiting the sick or befriending the isolated. Brooks suggests that we are experiencing the excesses of hyperindividualism and a focus on self-interest and self-expression. Perhaps it is time for the pendulum to shift in the direction of relationships and a focus on community and building cultures where openness and well-being are valued.
We know that when we are open to others the openness is contagious. By each of us setting the intention to be open, supporting others and engaging in productive conversations we can create more positive work and community cultures. The benefits ripple.
Make it your intention to be open and to spread that openness to your colleagues and community. Notice your experience and impact. What small step can you take today?