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Closeted Allyship: Deciding to Serve or Not to Serve

Written by: Dr Lisa T. Lewis, Diversity Equity And Inclusion Panel

 

Sometimes the right choice is obvious. Other times, the solution is a little less clear. When

you’re most uncertain, you’re often in a situation with great potential. This type of confusion is

typical when you come to a crossroads in life. The most significant decisions are often the most

intimidating.


The ability to make challenging decisions increases with experience.


June is Pride Month in the United States of America. I can’t help but think of people still living

closeted lives due to fear, lack of support, and other life-impacting reasons. Conversely, some

people support the LGBTQ+ community but from the closet out of concern of being ostracized

by their community.


Allyship, according to www.dictionary.com, is “the status or role of a person who advocates and

actively works for the inclusion of a marginalized or politically group in all areas of society, not

as a member of that group but in solidarity with its struggle’.


Solidarity is service. Inclusion is service. Allyship is service, and deciding to serve can be

challenging. They are challenging for the same reasons a person chooses to live their lives in the

closet.


Try these techniques to deal with uncertainty and make informed decisions:

  1. Be clear regarding your values. A wise choice might be easier if you’re aware of your values. Whenever you’re stuck, return to your values and take another crack at the situation. If you’ve never considered what your values may be, take the opportunity to make a list and describe what’s most important to you. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, anyone?

  2. Gather more information. Do you have enough information to make a good decision? Take the time you need to gather the information required to make a wise choice. Take advantage of every possible resource. People frequently are an overlooked resource.

  3. Avoid indecision as a decision. There’s a difference between taking your time and being indecisive. Make no mistake: failing to make a decision is a decision. It’s a decision to rely on luck and forces outside yourself to decide your fate. Indecision is a decision.

  4. Ask a mentor for advice. Maybe someone else you know has faced a similar dilemma. Experience counts a lot. Get guidance if it’s available to you, but avoid blindly following the advice of others. Make your own decision. A mentor guides, but she doesn’t decide.

  5. Relax. Your brain works better when it’s relaxed—an overly stressed state results in the inhibition of the higher functions of your brain. Your best ideas come when you’re mentally at ease. Take a long, hot bath and ponder your situation.

  6. Get some exercise. Physical exertion can change your chemistry and provide a new perspective. Hit the gym for an hour, and then reconsider your dilemma. Don’t be surprised if you have a few new ideas.

  7. Meditate or pray. The choice is yours. The mental state achieved through meditation and prayer can be highly creative. You’ll be in a better place to make a good decision.

  8. What would you tell a friend in the same situation? Dealing with the challenges of others can be more evident than dealing with your own. What would you say to a friend or family member? It may be wise to take your advice!

  9. Review your allyship goals. Each action you take will make achieving your goals more or less likely. How do your choices mesh with your goals? Goal alignment can be an effective way to find an intelligent solution.

  10. Consider the downside. Maybe there is more than one choice with the same potential benefits. But consider the possible downside to each option. Manage your risk. When two or more options have the same potential benefit or outcome, the choice with the least risk is often the best. Not coming out of the closet to serve unrepresented and marginalized groups leaves them exposed to battle alone.

When you’re stuck, it means that all the choices seem equivalent. After you’ve done everything

you can to reach a decision, choose.


Even if you’re still uncertain, make a choice and stick with it until you’re sure it was a wrong

choice. Even a poor decision is usually better than no decision at all. Taking action might show

you a new idea for a better approach. And you’ll be moving forward instead of stuck in the

quagmire of indecision.


Decide to serve. Allyship awaits.


For more info, follow Lisa on LinkedIn, Instagram and visit her website!

 

Dr Lisa T. Lewis, Diversity Equity And Inclusion Panel

Dr Lisa T. Lewis is The Belief System (B.S.) Boss®. She teaches career-minded single mothers how to provide abundantly for their families and still achieve their love and money goals, guilt-free and stress-free through her “B.S.” (Belief System) training. A certified John Maxwell Team Coach, TEDx Talk-International Speaker, Clergy, and best-selling author. Her next book, Single Moms Guide to Love and Money: Five Keys to Unlock Both, will be released in early 2022. She has been advocating for women and single mothers since 1989 when she joined the inaugural Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Committee at the federal agency where she was employed. She currently serves on the new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council still in the public sector.

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