A practice, not a perfect
Sarah Beth of Sarah Beth Yoga often reminds her students that “Yoga is a practice, not a perfect.”
Let that be our mantra as we work to increase diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility and belonging in our organizations.
We have a vision of an ideal workplace where we never offend our colleagues, overlook someone due to our biases, or unfairly exclude someone because of a structural disadvantage. But when we look around, it’s clear we fall short.
We make mistakes, unintentionally say things that cause harm, or don’t notice the disparate impact of a system that appears neutral to us. Even when we are trying to do the right thing.
We try and fail in yoga class too. Some poses are easy for me but hard for others. Some will take me months or years to perfect. Some days, I’m just off balance.
And yet I keep coming back to my practice, because I get stronger over time and I believe this strength is important to my health.
In the same way, your commitment to strengthening your own skills and the culture of your organization doesn’t mean you’ll attain perfection. But you will get better over time.
Let's say pronouns are today’s pose. When we introduce ourselves with the pronouns we use, we are practicing. We do our best with the information we have, building our muscles. Along the way, we are going to wobble or feel a painful stretch. It’s embarrassing to make a mistake, but it's not surprising.
And just when we think we’ve got the hang of a pose that seemed impossible before (now sharing pronouns is routine) a new challenge comes along—say, letting go of a problematic word and adopting an unfamiliar term.
So when you get a correction or some feedback or advice, remember: you are practicing. You aren’t expected to be perfect. Just growing.
Regain your balance, apologize to anyone you caused harm, and get back to the mat.