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Are We Giving Our Communities Lip Service or Real Service?


I tend to be on-again, off-again with podcasts.

I’ll get into them for a while, then I’ll fall away.

When I’m in a podcast groove, I like to listen to them on long walks. That way, I can jam through a handful in one stretch.

One of my go-tos is Jamie Russo’s Everything Coworking Podcast. If you’re a coworking space operator and you haven’t tuned in, put it on your todo list. Russo, who runs Enerspace Coworking and is executive director of the GWA, is a workspace veteran, a smart and savvy business woman, and an all-around cool person.

The podcast covers lots of coworking things that don’t particularly apply to me (like leases and landlords and square footage and all that stuff you operators have to deal with), but it’s a good way for me to keep up with this quickly-evolving industry and hear from interesting coworking folks.

My favorite episodes are when Russo does some storytelling.

On a recent episode (#95), she relayed the story of getting involved with an organization that claimed to be working toward equality but was actually doing next to nothing to actually embody or enable equality.

Her experience got her thinking about how important it is to make sure that what you say you’re doing is aligned with what you’re actually doing.

As the show notes explain:

“Sometimes we commit to something verbally but don’t think about the workflow required to get there. What actions do we need to take? What behavior do we need to model? What language do we need to use to commit to that goal? This episode dives into a personal experience I had recently that left me reflecting on what I commit to publicly and whether my actions are aligned to those goals.”

Lip service is easy. Real service…not so much.

Lately I feel like I’m paying lip service to a few things I value, including inclusion, diversity, wellness and mental health, without doing the real work of making them a more integral part of the coworking movement.

I’m tired of hearing myself say that coworking isn’t doing enough around inclusion and diversity, without doing much to learn how we could do better and help implement strategies.

And, for months, I’ve been meaning to take a mental health first aid class so I’m better equipped to help someone in a crisis. For whatever reason, I haven’t taken it yet.

Not sure what that’s about.

I guess this post is me setting up some accountability.

I’m going to find resources about creating inclusive spaces and share them. And, I’m going to register for a mental health first aid course this week.

It’s time.

Thanks to Jamie, for calling out the importance of aligning our actions with our professed values. I guess I needed the nudge.

If you have ideas or resources you think would be helpful, please send them my way.


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