I have always found it funny that even though we live in a globalized environment and the most digitalized time ever, many of us don't act digital or global. However, not taking advantage of the digital tools available to us don't allow us to be the best leaders we can be. Furthermore, it does not allow us to embrace diversity as we should.
When I say diversity, I don't just mean religion, race, or orientation. I mean diversity of thought. Diversity of thought fosters an environment that paves the way for unique perspectives and at atmosphere that brings fresh insights into problems. It creates opportunities for innovation, and it allows for continuous learning.
And so today, I want to talk about the new type of diversity. The one that taps into our innate curiosity and allows us to remain on a quest to search for answers. This type of diversity constantly questions the status quo and does not allow complacency or groupthink. It is not afraid of conflict.
Instead, it sees it as a springboard to the solutions for tomorrow's problems. Embracing this diversity I believe is the key to solving a lot of today's and tomorrow's problems. In order to build the next set of global leaders, one has to learn how to effectively communicate across cultures and you can only do this by being open minded enough to embrace this diversity. Listed below are some ways to start incorporating this into your life so it becomes an everyday routine in your personal and professional lives.
Proactively meet 5 to 10 new people each week
It used to be that you could only meet people at work but that's not the case anymore. You don't have to be in the same physical place to meet someone to network with. I talked earlier about how many of us don't act digitally but don't let that be you. Next time you're wondering how you can make new friends, try this:
Make a list of keywords and hashtags that are relevant to your passions and use the search bars on Twitter and Instagram to see what comes up. Once you do this, find a way to get in front of some of these discussions. Introduce yourself to the people behind them and you'll be surprised by what could come out of that.
In the past, i've used this method to provide resources to people who needed help with something. I've used it to ask for help, to find guest for my podcasts, and to even organize meetups.
Ultimately, this promotes the art of conversation and forces you to become comfortable being uncomfortable. Ultimately, you want to get to level where you're scheduling 5 to 10 Skype calls or in person meeting with someone every week.
Spice Up Your Reading Life
I used to think that I could only learn from non fictional biographies, then I used to think that I could only learn by reading business books but I wasn't entirely right. While it's absolutely true that you can learn by reading only non fiction books, I noticed that my curiosity level expanded exponentially when I committed to mixing my reading with some fiction.
A goal I set for myself this year was to read two books a month (1 non-fiction/1 fiction) and I can already tell the difference in my everyday life particularly when I meet new people or speak at conferences. It's been surprising to see what people resonate with when I make certain references. I have built friendships with strangers based on the fact that I mentioned a house that I resonate with on Harry Potter.
Think about it. The ability to read is agnostic of your race, gender or disposition so being able to connect with people because of a common interest in a book can diversify your life. You just never know.
MAJOR HACK: After you read a book or watch a tv show you love, type up the title of the book in the search bar on Twitter or Instagram and see if you can get in on some conversations around that. It's hit or miss but it's definitely a major ice breaker.
Be A Media Platform
It's the 21st century and what that means is that traditional media does not dominate the world. We live in a world full of influencers and "experts". Everyone and their mother has a blog or a podcast. Heck! right now, I have 3 podcasts. I say all this to say that many people do not realize the importance of being a media platform. I challenge you to create platforms around your niche and use it to build relationships not just to create content or build a personal brand. Whether it's a blog, Facebook page, Instagram, Snapchat or a podcast you own, encourage open discussions and invite new perspectives to your discussions.
So there you have it. The barriers have been brought down. Allow the internet to be your friend and proactively make friends across cultures while edifying yourself with different types of relevant content that you're passionate about.
As always i'm on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram at tayorockson.
Till next time, USE YOUR DIFFERENCE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!