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Blog and Insights, Dr. Bob Carr

Belonging & Purpose

Pride Month is a time to celebrate the diversity and contributions of the LGBTQ+ community. It is also a time to reflect on how each one of us can create a more welcoming and supportive environment for others. 

Why does this matter? Because belonging is a basic human need. When we feel accepted and valued by others, we experience positive outcomes such as higher motivation, better mental and physical health, greater life satisfaction, and longer lifespan. On the other hand, when we feel rejected or isolated, we suffer from negative consequences such as lower self-esteem, increased stress, and reduced well-being. LGBTQ+ individuals face higher rates of mental health challenges, such as depression, anxiety, and suicide ideation, due to societal stigma, discrimination, and rejection.

One way to foster a sense of belonging is to connect with our own life purpose. This is the reason why we exist, what motivates us, and what gives us meaning and direction. Research shows that having a clear and strong life purpose can enhance our self-confidence, resilience, and ability to cope with challenges. It can also help us appreciate the diversity of others and reduce our biases and prejudices.

In this message, I will share some tips on how to connect to and live our life purpose as well as support LGBTQ+ individuals.

Reflect on your own values, passions, strengths, and goals. What are the things that matter most to you? What are the things that you enjoy doing and are good at? What are the things that you want to achieve or contribute to the world?

Listen to and support each other. Make everyone feel welcomed and respected. Imagine a world where anyone can find places and people who accept and help them be happy with who they are. 

Become an ally for LGBTQ+ individuals. Be an advocate for safe and inclusive spaces —Learn about, understand, and respect identities and pronouns.

Align your actions with your purpose. Every day, try to do something that aligns with your purpose. Be mindful of how your actions impact yourself and others. 

Review and revise your purpose regularly. Your life purpose is not fixed or static. It can evolve and change over time as you grow and learn from your experiences and the experiences of others. Periodically review your purpose statement and see if it still resonates with you and supports everyone, if not, adjust as needed.

At work, having a team purpose can also enhance our sense of belonging. When team members have a common goal and direction, they feel more connected to each other and to the organization. Our research at Kumanu shows that an organization’s culture can greatly impact its people’s sense of belonging, engagement, ability to manage their emotional state and ultimately burnout. Individuals who feel connected to, respected, and supported by their organization are less burned out, more engaged and more likely to stay at their organization.

Leaders have a vital role in building a culture where LGBTQ+ individuals feel included, supported, and valued at work. It is an opportunity for everyone to learn, grow, and challenge biases and misconceptions. By fostering understanding, we can bridge the gap between different communities and build a society that values and celebrates diversity.

Here are some ways they can do that:

Share the team purpose often and clearly. Help everyone understand the team’s mission, vision, values, and goals. Recognize how their work and uniqueness matter to the team and the organization.

Encourage open and honest communication. Foster a safe space where team members can express themselves, share ideas, give, and receive feedback, and voice concerns. Listen with care and empathy. 

Show respect and appreciation. Treat everyone with kindness and respect, no matter their background, beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Celebrate the diversity of your team members and invite them to share their unique stories and views.

Embrace diversity. Leverage the diverse perspectives and experiences of your team members to drive innovation and creativity. Support the LGBTQ+ community by creating an environment where they can thrive and contribute their full potential.

● Examine implicit biases. Reflect on your own attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that may unconsciously affect how you perceive and treat others. Take steps to identify and address your biases.

Self-educate by learning more about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Seek out opportunities to interact with people who are different from you in various ways. Listen to their stories, experiences, and perspectives with an open mind.

Engage with DEI champions and initiatives. Connect with people who are leading or supporting DEI initiatives in your company or industry. Learn from their insights and best practices. Find out how you can contribute to your organization’s DEI strategy and efforts. 

Live your purpose. Demonstrate how you follow your purpose every day. Be reliable, genuine, and transparent in your actions. Be an ally for LGBTQ+ individuals, both inside and outside the team.

Everyone can cultivate a greater sense of belonging in yourself and others. Belonging is not only good for our well-being but also for our performance and productivity. When we feel that we belong, we are more engaged, motivated, creative, and collaborative.

This Pride Month let’s celebrate our diversity and our purpose. Let’s make everyone feel welcomed and respected. Let’s be allies for LGBTQ+ individuals. Let’s live our purpose every day. 

Happy Pride Month! 🌈

About the Author

Bob Carr Leadership Photo

Robert Carr, MD, MPH, FACPM

Chief Medical Officer

Robert Carr was most recently Senior Vice President & Corporate Medical Director at GlaxoSmithKline and on the faculty at Georgetown University. He received his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Miami School of Medicine and his Masters of Public Health and Preventive Medicine Residency from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Hygiene and Public Health. Bob also served as the President of the American College of Preventive Medicine

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