You want to have an impact. You want to make a difference. To do that, you have to open your heart and mind beyond what is familiar, and be curious about what is different.

This goes beyond just networking. It’s about what you do within your business too.

So why aren’t we being more inclusive and embracing diversity with open arms, in our different spheres?

For one thing, it’s a hard thing to do because we tend to gravitate to people like us. It helps you like and identify with each other. It’s human to be cautious of what is different.

At the very least, it’s deeply uncomfortable to allow for a variety of perspectives when you aren’t used to it. For some, it’s downright fearful, especially when the actions of a few have come to signify and label an entire group.

However, at the heart of inclusivity is acceptance. Acceptance of differences. And further, recognition that each of us has something to offer. Embracing diversity is not about adding anything. It’s a fundamental choice to value inclusivity and diversity for the good of your business.

So what can you do in your own spaces to give everyone a sense of belonging? Be a good listener and an open communicator. When you or your company, your brand, becomes associated with inclusivity and diversity, you inspire others to do the same. You have influence.

Also, consider this – inclusivity and diversity is not just about a social movement, by embracing it you will most certainly be enriched by it, you will grow as a person. You’ll have to grow into the person who can have that kind and level of impact. That person lies on the other side of embracing diversity in all its forms, whether it’s a new person to meet or someone of a different colour, background, or lifestyle to hire.

Once you do that, you’ll have more impact.