Last week in the U.S., we elected Donald Trump to be our next president. Some of us were appalled, and others of us were relieved.
Since election day, there’s been an outpouring of emotion, shaming, fear, and blaming of the “other” for where we are today. This election has exposed the shadow side of the U.S. that so many of us were happy to ignore as long as we could.
In some ways, this is a gift: we can see the darkness, and now we get to decide how we want to dance with it.
This has nothing to do with how (or if) you voted last week. The fact is that we’re all part of a political and cultural system that feeds off of deceit, oppression, and silence, and each of us is in some way responsible for how we got here.
We’re responsible because we’ve all tolerated deceit, oppression, and silence when it has served us.
We don’t mind supporting policies – governmental or organizational – that limit others’ rights as long as it doesn’t get in our way. We excuse the fact that our boss silences us in meetings because we prefer the steady paycheck. Or we tolerate the mistreatment of entry-level workers in our company because we don’t think there’s anything we can do to change it.
I know it might seem extreme to argue that this election is related to your career, but it’s not if you believe that everything – and everyone – is connected in some way.
The mechanism that keeps us silent when we’re asked to do something at work that doesn’t align with our values is the same mechanism that tells us not to expect more from our government.
Whatever it is that’s telling us we don’t have any talent is the same force that says we can’t do anything to change the world.
And the part of us that seeks a scapegoat when we make a mistake at work is the very same thing that’s causing us to point the finger and blame “the other party” for where we are as a country.
Our lives are a reflection of who we are inside, and the election simply reflected that back to us on a larger scale.
Notice if your immediate reaction to that sentence is to take offense and separate yourself as “better than.”
This is where we are, folks. It’s uncomfortable, and the world feels like a scary, divided place, but we still have power – every one of us.
And it’s time that we step up and be our most loving, magnanimous selves.
It’s time we live out our giftedness, because when we don’t, we give systems permission to keep us trapped.
It’s time to be generous: with our assumptions, with our time, our money, with everything we have to give.
We get to choose what posture we want to take during this time. We get to choose how we treat “the other” and how we treat ourselves.
Your career isn’t your entire life, but it is a place where you spend a considerable amount of time and energy. If you’re showing up to work as someone you’re not, suffocating your creativity and joy along the way, then you won’t have enough in your spiritual bank account to contribute what I know you want to in this lifetime.
Many of us feel a sense of urgency right now, no matter what our political perspective is. The ground beneath us is shifting, and we can either scream and burn bridges along the way, or we can choose to be better. We can choose to live out our values and our gifts instead of spiraling into blame and hatred.
Choose to be light and peace and all those complex, life-giving things that you are.
Like, seriously – I mean it.
Do something today that is a reflection of your best self. Be more generous than you’ve ever been before. Stretch yourself to speak up against a system that’s keeping so many people small and in despair.
Expand and love more openly than you did yesterday. And keep expanding.