The Key To Inclusion is To Fall Down And Get Back Up

Today I spoke to a business colleague on the phone when I had to disconnect because I switched from car to phone. They didn’t realize that I could still hear the conversation they were having in the background, and even though nothing was said that was inappropriate (just honest and authentic), they felt bad that I had heard it, unfiltered.

How many times do we say, “I’m going to say this wrong… and sorry” before we start a sentence about fill in the blank .

What if we had more conversations that were “unfiltered” and authentic about fill in the blank.

What if we all started to say what we feel, hear, see, and experience about complex and ever-changing subjects like fill in the blank? Is it possible that we may begin to break down some of the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional rigidity that people face if they don’t know what to say or do or how to react?

Is it possible that when we open the door for authenticity that the person or people across from us might say, “I have been waiting to ask that same question, or I thought I was the only one who didn’t know … or I thought no one would understand … or I thought people might judge what I said or how I said it instead of what I intended to say”

Human beings are so driven to belong so profoundly that we turn away from conversations that make us feel uncomfortable, disconnected, or incorrect.

What if we made space for people to share what they feel, and stumble a little while trying to find the words? What if before we jump in with judgment or comment, we took time to watch, listen and really hear the intention?

It is part of the wonder of childhood … before we put all those filters on, we ask questions (sometimes 100 times), we are curious, we navigate poorly, fall down, get messy, change direction, and adapt.

And over time we learn not to fall, get messy, change direction, navigate in new spaces, and ask.

Right now, there are millions of people who say nothing; afraid to fall, change direction or navigate new space, get messy, afraid to do or say something wrong…they say nothing.

Even as I am writing this, I am “considering my words” what will you think? Should I start with “I am going to say this wrong” to justify saying it at all?

And then I come back to intention … I know mine, where is your hesitation, what is your fill-in-the-blank conversation?

Time for #curiouskindess and understanding


Brandi Heather
Brandi Heather
I have always played outside the lines. With a Master’s degree in Physical Education and Inclusive Curriculum development. I've taught 1000’s students at colleges, universities, community organizations, schools, and businesses the value of inclusion, most often by helping them find first the value in themselves. I was often considered the quirky college professor who taught the "soft subjects" alongside the serious academics. I was known for showing up to a class with carts full of “unusual tools” including playdough and plaster to teach kinesiology, communication, and human service principles. I thrived in spaces where people didn’t quite fit because often, I also did not quite fit. My goal is not to make every space and person the same but to demonstrate the strength of difference. I am a Therapeutic Play Specialist, I speak locally and internationally on the power of play for growing from diversity to inclusion and igniting innovation and engagement in all levels of education, business, and community programming. In 2018 I left the world of “college professor” to start a journey into entrepreneurship. I have fallen down many times to get back up and do what I love. In the past 10 years, I have founded award-winning not-for-profit and for-profit businesses grounded in diversity and inclusion, mental health, and play. I am now my own company, Brandi Heather Consulting, helping to build organizations where people want to be by unleashing the extraordinary potential of people. I unpack the aversion to playing and unstructured play by utilizing the science of play to change the way we take care of ourselves, connect with others, and solve some of the greatest social challenges of our time. I wrote Return To Play, Rebuilding Resilience, Risk and Reconnection in 2021 to share my lived experience, passion, and dedication to getting the world back “in play".

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