Peggy Speaks Logo, text only
3 business professionals dancing & celebrating

To Fully Embrace Diversity Celebrate Your Uniqueness!


Giving ourselves permission to be all that we can be is another giant step towards creating a culture that values diversity.

But first, a reminder – I’ve noted several times that self-actualization is the at the pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Expressing our greatest self, our innate and authentic self helps us fulfill our needs around self-actualization. It leaves us feeling satisfied to a degree that has no limit. Imagine that!

For many of us, the message growing up during a certain baby boomer era was “don’t be too great.” It was okay to be good and be the winner once in a while but certainly don’t be a winner every time! And, don’t get too big for your britches!

So, we put a lid on our beautiful self-expression, and shrank our energy down to the size our parents or other authority figures could tolerate.

This poem by Marianne Williamson speaks to this topic so poignantly! It might be my favorite poem. I’ve been reading it at the end of my speeches for years because its message is so awesome!

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is
nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure
around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is
within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. 

And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Giving ourselves permission to be great, to
be all that we can be, to do our best work may be considered part of the “me”
generation but it is also healthy. It allows the heart full expression, full creativity. Why let the confines of “conformity” continue to hold you back?

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is
within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. 

It’s your job to know how awesome you really are. And then it’s your job to shine that light, your awesome incredibly unique and brilliant light!

It’s not hard to do this. really! Because every inch, and every moment of creation is awesome, and each of us is part of that creation. If you can learn to listen to the heart, use thoughtful communication skills (like NVC), just pay attention, make sure you are mindful, and your heart is open, you can find yourself astonished at your own greatness. You can be enthralled or blown away just by a whiff of a ripe strawberry, by the cooing of a songbird outside your window, or by noticing the light glistening through water as it falls from a gutter. Life is awesome! And we are part of it.

I Am the Greatest!

The more we can
acknowledge our own greatness, the more we are free to express it in life. And the more the waves of “greatness” spread through life. As Marianne says,

When we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

Right about now, you might say, “Hey, this sounds a lot like a motivational speech. What does this have to do with embracing diversity?”

But oh! My friend, it does!

Bullying, condescending, harassing, criticizing, blaming behaviors and so on, these are all the projections and rejections of one’s low self-esteem, and the workings of inner emptiness, loneliness, and unhappiness. Someone walking in the shoes of the proverbial “ism” (racism, sexism, dogmatism, pessimism, etc.) has little interest and probably less capacity to opening mind and heart to people who are significantly different from themselves. 

But when we focus on the good in ourselves and others, it fosters mutual care, respect, and social harmony. I’ve always said, the best way to honor others is to honor yourself.

Final Call

So, I leave you with this final call for transformation: Diversity is here to stay – it brings challenges but individually and collectively we can work to overcome those challenges by keeping the following information in our hearts, minds, and actions:

  1. If we shift our mindset about diversity, recognize that differences are actually a good thing, take an honest assessment of our biases, and objectify our fears, we will always be reminded that yes, we are all different and we are all the same!
  2. We can dissolve boundaries between ourselves and others by embracing diversity as an endeavor of the heart. We can build up the capacity to experience “sameness” between ourselves and others by opening our heart, listening to it, following it, and allowing our identity to evolve from “me” to “we.”
  3. We can become aware of how we impact others through our communications, and recognize when we are (or are not) meeting our own and others’ needs for respect, belonging, and self-esteem. We can practice nonviolent communication as a way to work through our differences, grievances, and hurts by coming out on the other side with kindness and compassion.
  4. We can create a common ground through reaching out, being genuinely curious about others, asking them questions, and even imagining walking in their shoes.
  5. We can also give ourselves permission to express our innate greatness. By being awesome, we uplift the world around us. This is celebrating differences to the highest degree!

Following these steps, you’re bound to discover an increasingly “happy” environment- where a diverse community of workers with different backgrounds, different strengths, different talents, ALL feel a sense of safety, belonging, and commitment to a single goal even in the midst their diversity.

If you are interested in further discussion, tips on creating unity in an organization, please feel to contact me and let me know how I can support you or your organization.