Being inclusive: a cornerstone to psychological health and safety
By Lisa Seppala, True North Implementation
Last week, Dave*, a school friend from adolescence, did a wonderful thing for me and several others. He made a video (faded and grainy, with jerky movements) featuring a variety of vignettes from back in the day. Surprisingly, I appeared in one of the vignettes. A ‘cameo,’ he said.**
Seeing the video recording of myself at 15, riding my bike with my friend Margot and then stopping to talk with some boys from our class enveloped me in feelings of connectedness and nostalgia.
While I vaguely remember the event itself, I clearly remember what was going through my head at that time in my life. At the tail end of my Grade 9 school year, our family moved to a new city and me to a new school. I had become the ‘new kid in town’. Margot, the friend I was riding bikes with that day, had made me feel so welcome, along with the group of 15-year-old boys playing around with the video camera that captured us on film as we rode by.
Even today, as recently reconnected adults on social media, I felt part of the team once again when Dave released the video to our group of friends from high school. It, in turn, inspired me to reach out to my friend Margot, who I hadn’t connected with for several years. Being inclusive is contagious!
Now, thinking of the professional world where we adults play, I’m reminded of how each of us can set the tone and create an environment for people to feel welcome, included, and valued. We can learn from those simple teenage actions and be like Dave and Margot by making an effort to connect with people. Being inclusive is a cornerstone for psychological health and safety in the workplace and life. And, while the term inclusivity has much meaning, being inclusive can be as simple as a smile, greeting, or an invitation to participate. The impact you have might last a lifetime – it did for me.
*In the spirit of being inclusive, my friends Dave and Margot have each read this story and have had input as to how their names are represented, whether partially or fully.
**In addition to this wonderful video for a select audience, Dave Glantz has several creative accomplishments to his credit, including his co-authoring of two richly detailed and illustrated books Symbolism in Tibetan Buddhist Art and The Golden Valley: The Untold Story of The Other Cultural Center of Tibet. If you’re interested in Tibetan art and history, I encourage you to check them out.