It’s one of the hottest topics within companies but is ultimately one of the most defining features of my existence - difference, diversity and inclusion!
This week Paypal asked me to come in and deliver a keynote to cap off their Diversity & Inclusion week. The son of an Indian diplomat, I grew up in 10 countries on 4 continents around the world and so my story has always been of how the ‘other’ can still find a sense of belonging.
I’ve been called a bad word my whole life. It wasn’t given to me by bullies. Nor by my parents. Nor by my peers. In fact, it’s governments who use this word to label me. What is this word?
Alien is the word used to describe almost 250 million people across the globe who are immigrants. And while it may seem comical, a quick dictionary search will show what awful words are associated with alien: distant, disturbing, distasteful, repugnant, and extraterrestrial. Why do we insist on such a label on people who are in fact human but simply different?
And so I am now on a mission to reclaim this word! In my opinion, difference has been a key ingredient to my personal and professional success. And ultimately difference is what makes us unique!
Drawing from my TedX keynote in 2016, https://youtu.be/u8gZ6diCC54, I shared my top 3 tips on how to embrace difference to over 100 people @Paypal, Dundalk.
Know Your Story
One unique opportunity afforded to me by moving countries every 3 years is that I essentially got to start again. With every hello, I was able to reshape my story. Each chapter allowed me to discover who I was and to evolve into who I am today. Being immersed in such different circumstances forced me to challenge my status quo and my perspectives to see with new eyes. But the real question is, how do YOU know your story? What can YOU do to truly own who you are - not for how you are similar to those around you but to discover what it is that truly differentiates you to make you who YOU are.
2. Own Your Story
One thing I’ve learned as a professional speaker is that even the smallest inflections in my voice or changes in my posture can dramatically change how the listener hears my story. So it is with each of our stories. Every moment of every day we are presenting a version of ourselves. And it is OUR responsibility to own how people receive it. This was best represented through a game we played where each of the participants was given instructions of how a different culture would greet a friend. Within the madness of multiple cultures attempting to greet in their own unique way we experienced and learned what personal space, comfort levels and confidence can do in how the other person perceives your difference.
3. Share Your Story
Once I discovered my story and owned it, I uncovered values that have become guiding principles of what I do. Statements like ‘Start Now Start Simple’ developed when I saw my ‘alien’ upbringing not as a crutch but as the greatest gift I could receive. It’s my difference that made me valuable when advising the Irish government, or curating content online, or giving a lecture in the university, or as an MC, or in my interpretation of music, and so on and so forth. Ultimately your difference is your story to share with the world.
Watch the full vlog here - https://www.facebook.com/iamdanram/videos/1677254692381470/