A conversation with Matthew Reynolds, Founder Lead Facilitator at Matthew Reynolds Consulting, LLC

I wanted the classroom to be based on the fact that first and foremost, bring everything you got. Bring all aspects of who you feel and think and believe yourself to be, because we’re all constantly forming that idea, all trying to figure out who our authentic self is. So through that, I started to focus more on creating an actual pledge for each of my class periods. So instead of saying these are the rules, I had my students help create community in that particular class period and what that meant to them. So that’s something that I’ve presented nationally on creating a pledge, a classroom pledge for each individual classroom.”-Matthew Reynolds

In this episode of Control the Room, I had the pleasure of speaking with Matthew Reynolds about building a Diversity and Inclusion Consultancy, what inspired their strong point of view within the industry, and finding a sense of belonging growing up as a gay and multiethnic, same gender, peaceful warrior in rural America.  We explore strategies for creating environments of humanity and shifting the consciousness of humanity.  We then discuss the distinction between acquaintance, friend, and close friend.  Listen in to question how much of your thinking is your own thinking.

Show Highlights

[1:44] How Matthew Got Started In Equity Work

[11:00] Crafting Your Equity Lens

[13:30] How Much Of Your Thinking Is Your Own

[20:00] Bringing Your Authentic Self

[27:20] Creating Environments Of Humanity[33:50] Shifting The Consciousness Of Humanity

Matthew on LinkedIn

Matthew Reynolds Consulting

Matthew on Twitter

About the Guest

In this episode of Control the Room, I had the pleasure of speaking with Matthew Reynolds about building a Diversity and Inclusion Consultancy, what inspired their strong point of view within the industry, and finding a sense of belonging growing up as a multiethnic, same gender, peaceful warrior in rural America.  We explore strategies for creating environments of humanity and shifting the consciousness of humanity.  We then discuss the distinction between acquaintance, friend, and close friend.  Listen in to question how much of your thinking is your own thinking.

About Voltage Control

Voltage Control is a change agency that helps enterprises sustain innovation and teams work better together with custom-designed meetings and workshops, both in-person and virtual. Our master facilitators offer trusted guidance and custom coaching to companies who want to transform ineffective meetings, reignite stalled projects, and cut through assumptions. Based in Austin, Voltage Control designs and leads public and private workshops that range from small meetings to large conference-style gatherings.

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Full Transcript

Douglas:  Welcome to the Control The Room podcast. The series is devoted to the exploration of meeting culture and uncovering cures for the common meeting. Some meetings have tight control and others are loose. To control the room means achieving outcomes while striking a balance between imposing and removing structure, asserting and distributing power, leaning in and leaning out. All in the service of having a truly magical meeting.

Thanks for listening. If you’d like to join us live for a session sometime, you can join our weekly Control The Room Facilitation Lab. It’s a free event to meet fellow facilitators and explore new techniques so you can apply the things you learn in the podcast in real time with other facilitators. Sign up today at voltagecontrol.com/facilitation-lab.

If you’d like to learn more about my new book, Magical Meetings, you can download the Magical Meetings quick start guide, a free PDF reference with some of the most important pieces of advice from the book. Download a copy today at voltagecontrol.com/magical-meetings-quick-guide.

Today, I’m with Matthew Reynolds at Matthew Reynolds Consulting LLC, where he advocates for equity with in arts and education spaces. His goal is to help others craft their equity lens so that they may live their biggest, fullest, and brightest lives. Welcome to the show, Matthew.

Matthew:  Hey Douglas. Thank you so much, and thank you for having me on.

Douglas:  Of course. So let’s get started with a story about how you got your start.

Matthew:  How I got my start in consulting? Or how I got my start, start?

Douglas:  Well, I think our listeners are interested in all of it, the thread that got you into equity work. And specifically, what drew you to arts and education?

Matthew:  Yes. All right. So I identify as a multiethnic, same-gender loving warrior, and it’s become more of a peaceful warrior as I’ve gotten older in life. My mother’s ethnicities were Irish, German and Swedish. My father was African American. My father came from Montgomery, Alabama, and was the second generation out of slavery. My mother came from a farming family. She was the youngest daughter of four from central Illinois. They met on a river boat on the Mississippi that was docked at Keokuk, Iowa. My father was in the kitchen. My mother was out front cocktail waitressing. They fell in love. My mother’s family found out that she was dating a black man, kicked her out of the family. My father had already started the exodus from the deep south because of the Jim Crow era, and so they just kind of continued on north to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

That’s where I was born. I’m the fourth of six, and I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At the age of three was the first time that I ever got into a fight because of a racial slur. My mother said that the only time that we were to raise a fist to another human being is if we were called the N-word. One of my older brothers who was two years older than me, we were playing in the back, we got called this racial slur. That was the beginning of my little fists moving, which started a deeper conversation with my parents of actually moving further north than Minneapolis and getting out into rural country. They both knew how to live off the land, how to farm the land, so they thought getting out of the urban setting would actually be better for us kids, and raising us kids and raising a family.

That was not the case. We moved to a town where my family was the only ethnic family that was diverse, especially from a skin tone perspective, until I reached the eighth grade. I fought all the time because of racial slurs. There was a lot of trying to figure out where I belonged. A lot of, debunking this idea of what I was being called and what society was telling me I was supposed to be.

And so, that’s the very start, start of me really searching for a place where I belonged. Then from there, skipping some of the details, because from our pre-conversation, we’ve got some other things that I think are really juicy to be talking about today. So I ended up graduating high school with some scholarships to go to the University of Minnesota. There, I thought this is going to be great. I’m going to be around more gay people. I’m going to be around more black people. There’s going to be more diversity. Everything’s going to be wonderful. And it wasn’t. I played sports when I was in high school, and so that kind of shunned me to some other gay identified folks. Not all, but some. Then I talked too white, I dressed too white. I grew up in rural Minnesota. I didn’t have a lot of black community around me. So the black folks that I was trying to befriend at the university who were in the same scholarship program as me kind of were like, we think you want to be white. And so I kind of got shunned by that.

And that’s when I realized, this sense of belonging is really something that needs to be created by the individual. So I had done so many different things, was in all these sports, strived for academic excellence, was in the spring musical, etc. to try to not be the names that people called me. To try to fit in and just have a sense of belonging somewhere that now I really was like, “Wow.” Even coming to university, where I see a lot more folks that look like me, and I hear about a lot more folks who the soul,, love and attraction, not just the sexual identifiers that a lot of people want to put on the LGBQITA+ community. It really began to say to me, “I want something that’s authentic. I want to just be me.” I just want to be able to go through the world and not have all this other pressure that I need to live up to of what people were calling me or saying I was supposed to be, or where I was supposed to be.

That led me to leaving mechanical engineer and mathematician degree, and I took my first theater class and that’s when I started on the theater journey aspect of my life. From Minneapolis, I lived in Chicago for a while. And when I finally got my degree, I went out to Seattle and lived there, and continued this journey, and more of an introspective journey, because at this point, a lot of my self-talk was extremely negative, extremely toxic. I didn’t feel worthy of anything, let alone love, let alone belonging that I was searching for. Which then led me to doing a lot of art, cathartic art is what I call it, based on those ideas.

It also was my start with seeing a therapist and really checking in with my own personal mental health and seeing where a lot of the responses and reactions that I was having to the world were actually coming from, and what in my earlier years formulated those responses and those reactions. I was super fortunate with the people that I had met and that I’m still friends with and became my chosen family and through that, I started seeing, this is what belonging is to me. This is what having folks around me who aren’t expecting me to be a particular way or to talk a particular way, act a particular way, be in the world a particular way, they were just supportive of who I was. So from there I found myself in Amsterdam. I lived out of country for about three years, meeting a lot more cultures and perspectives and ideas about the world. Came back to the U.S. and then felt the calling to become an educator.

So I moved from Seattle to Southern Oregon, and I went to Southern Oregon University where I got my masters in teaching in 2008. I was fortunate to be hired at the school that I taught at in Central Point, Oregon, and became their new director of theater, and started a dance program as well. From there, about 16 years in the Rogue Valley, really honing my skills in creating community. So my pedagogy, my philosophy of education, was based on the ideas of community. So you can see how this idea of wanting to belong stayed with me throughout my life. So as I looked at my classroom, I was like, I want this to be a place where my students feel a sense of belonging, and not just a sense of belonging, I want it to be unconditional belonging. I don’t want to have conditions on it that you’re on time every day, that you’ve turned in this assignment or done this work and then you belong in my classroom.

No, I wanted it to be based more solely on the fact that no, first and foremost, bring everything you got. Bring all aspects of who you feel and think and believe yourself to be, because we’re all constantly forming that idea, all trying to figure out who our authentic self is. So through that, I started to focus more on creating an actual pledge for each of my class periods. So instead of saying these are the rules, I had my students help create community in that particular class period and what that meant to them. So that’s something that I’ve presented nationally on creating a pledge, a classroom pledge for each individual classroom.

Then later on in my journey, the town that I was working in was extremely conservative, to the point where my outward appearance wasn’t something that they wanted their kids to be a part of. So they started voicing that more and more. After the last presidential election in 2016, a lot more folks were emboldened and it actually became a dangerous place through death threats and other things for me to be living and working.

So that pushed me out of teaching. I resigned from that. And I was like, but wait, why don’t we all have a pledge, or what I now call a lens, to be able to look at my own self and ask myself, how much of your thinking is your thinking? How much of this am I just reacting to or surviving within, or just getting on the walkway that takes me to what is deemed to be success? Why don’t I really look for how I can be more humanity led, and how I can be more authentically myself? Through Brené Brown and others like her, and Resmaa Menakem and his epigenetics work and looking at that, I formulated Crafting Your Equity Lens. So an equity lens is a personal call to action to be able to break down some of the dominant culture’s ideas that aren’t humanity led, shine a light on that fact, and ask people and invite people to build the new that is going to be humanity led. So I think that gets us to where we’re at right now.

Douglas:  So I want to talk about a few things that came up there, but I want to roll back to some of the early stuff that I heard, and I just want to take a moment to underscore and let you give us a little bit of extra context on the gravity of belonging, because you mentioned something that’s pretty nuanced that I only became aware of fairly recently, within the last few years when I was talking to a friend of mine, who’s mixed race, and comes from a family of mixed race individuals that descends from the years of slavery. Whenever they go to family reunions, there’s always this separation of folks that present white versus people that present black. I thought to myself, that is insane. That’s crazy. Even within a family that’s attending a family reunion, there can be a sense of belonging, not belonging or like, hey, you have privilege that I don’t have. So belonging is multi-layered and complex, and I’m curious, you hinted on that and I just want to see if you had anything else to offer there.

Matthew:  You’re opening a whole another… Douglas, you have no idea. So let’s dive in a bit. So when I ask people how much of your thinking is your thinking? We have to understand that the ideas of the dominant culture are based on a lie and a construct that comes from Gomez de Zurara in the 1450s, when he is the first person that historians have found who actually used physical characteristics to begin a conversation about race, and it was the start and the beginning of the creation of race, because science proves there is no gene that separates us from a race perspective. So Gomez de Zurara wrote for the Portuguese King at the time that everybody in the continent of Africa was less than, and was savage. Tthat’s the way that we follow the money. Sso we get back to this fact that, oh, Portugal had just figured out the Atlantic slave trade and was the first to go down to Sub-Saharan Africa and to capture peoples and to sell them for profit and for labor.

So, that was the beginning of it. Then we created out of that the people who were colonizing Virginia at the time, a couple hundred years later, they actually coined the term “white” in a law, and that was in 1681. So these are constructs, and that lie about Africans, about the people of the African continent, that lie continually gets fed and continues to have this gas lighting around it. So then we have characteristics of whiteness that have been created out of that.

Once again, please remember, all of this has been made. It’s been constructed, and it’s giving certain folks privilege or power over other folks, aAnd it’s not white bodied folks. It is this construct of white and whiteness. Sso it doesn’t necessarily mean that because my skin tone is darker, and doesn’t present as white, doesn’t mean that I don’t uphold at times these characteristics of whiteness, and these characteristics of what white is, and it’s power that it has. Because in my research, and the things that I have done, and conversations that I’ve had, and stories that I’ve listened to, upholding whiteness, upholding white supremacy culture… White supremacy culture, it’s the culture of the U.S..

It’s what it’s been based on. If you ask folks, well, what’s the culture? A lot of times I get things and I’m like, well that’s ethnic. That’s because of your Irish heritage, your Italian heritage, or because you’re from a Latin country, or because you’re from the Caribbean, or the things that you’re telling me is because you’re African American or you’re from descendants of Africa that came here, and it’s not the culture of the U.S.. If we really start to look at what the culture of the U.S. is, it’s based on the supremacy idea, the superiority, and that can be ingested and internalized by anyone.

So when you ask me that question, it’s like, yeah, how much of your thinking is your thinking? How am I upholding white supremacy culture when I don’t even know that I’m upholding it? If I don’t know how to get into my own thought process and my own reactions, which goes beyond implicit bias training or some of these other trainings, but actually looks at internalized racial oppression or internalized superiority, and in some cases, internalized capitalism, it has been perpetuated generation after generation after generation, and it’s just part of the way in which we move in the world. And is that humanity led? And that’s what I want to get to. Are we truly leading with our humanness to allow humanity to grow in to its biggest, fullest and brightest? Or is the status quo and its parameters boxing humanity in so that we can’t actually be fully realized?

Douglas:  I want to talk about humanity because that’s something we spoke about earlier but before I do, I want to point out how striking it is to me that your work seems so curiosity informed.

Matthew:  Thank you. Thank you. Isn’t that part of humanity?

Douglas:  Yeah, I would agree. I think if we look back in the history, that’s what gets us into trouble and what kind of separates us, is our undying curiosity.

Matthew:  Right on.

Douglas:  Also another quick question before we get into some of the content here. I’m curious, with your theater background, how much time you spent studying or participating in improv and if that’s had any impact in your work?

Matthew:  So I’ve personally done a lot of work in improvisation. I’m finding more and more that as I’m doing this work, that a lot of folks that are stepping into this work and similar work come from a theater background or a performance background, which I think might tie into that curiosity that you just mentioned, which then ties into creativity. Which also in the theater realm, who’s the most important person on stage? The other person. And how do I make sure that the other person is taken care of? By making sure I know my blocking, my lines are memorized, etc. etc.

But from an improvisation perspective, it’s like, what’s the key point to improvisation? Listening. I need to make sure that I am listening to what the other person is saying so that I can fold things back in that were spoken before so that I can answer with a yes and keep the story going instead of just cutting it off with a definitive no. And isn’t that kind of what our society… If we base it all on a binary, right? If there’s only this option and this option, and then, oh well, we’ll give you the gray in between, but if everything’s black and white, right and wrong, good and bad, in just that gray, we can leverage that. So that’s a tool used by the dominant culture to separate us because there’s only two options. But if I answer with a yes and, that opens up all these other directions that I can go with my thinking, with my loving of other human beings. So yeah, I love that you made that connection with the two and thank you for that question.

Douglas:  Let’s spend a little bit of time talking about the humanity and you know, it struck me cause I was prepared to talk about it because we had noted it earlier. When you were talking about formulating your class and bringing your course together and how you wanted your students to show up, there was this really kind of intentional notion of creating belonging and inviting them to bring their whole self and this notion the authentic self. So I’m curious to have you elaborate on that for the listeners, because I think there’s some beauty in this line of thinking you had around, you know, often our authentic selves hidden. We haven’t been encouraged to bring it because we don’t feel like it belongs.

Matthew:  So let me ask this of you. So Douglas, when you go into a situation where it’s somebody whom you see pretty regularly, but isn’t somebody who necessarily you’ve invited to your home. So maybe it’s you see the same teller at the bank, or you see the same person at the grocery store, and there’s an interaction there and it’s friendly. Do you bring your authentic self there? Meaning am I going to share maybe something that might be a little more personal close to the heart? Are you easy to share those things with them? If they don’t necessarily notice a mood that you might be in?

Douglas:  That’s an interesting question and there’s a lot of layers there because you asked this earlier. One of the things I went to was during the pandemic, I’ve becomeing easily more and more isolated. I was like thinking to myself, when is the last time I went to the grocery store or the bank cause that so many of those things can be done via mobile apps now. But when I do think about those situations, I think it’s very much related to how much relationship and rapport that’s been built. Is it someone I’ve seen for the first time or is it someone that I’ve built some trust with because sometimes laying down personal things or being vulnerable with someone it’s a struggle sometimes if you’re not sure how that person’s going to hold that information and what they’re going to do with it. So I think there’s a, a level of barriers that, that, that might have there that I kind of shift based on judgment but as far as being authentic, how I would think about being authentic, I always try to be true to who I think I am.

I just might not be forthcoming with all the details, but I try not to be a completely different person, but it’s difficult in some groups, right? Because you realize some groups are expecting certain behaviors, right? If it’s a very uptight group and you’re super playful in that moment and they’re not receptive to it, that could be painful and embarrassing and also just maybe feel like a waste of time because I just threw out that energy and they didn’t receive it. So there’s a level of authenticity that I think is, are you being 100% wide open all the time? Are you shifting to meet what you think the audience is going to be receptive to you? I think that’s an interesting dialogue.

Matthew:  So you’ve gone and taken several different aspects of what I was asking. I think one of the clearer trails to go is that we get to define what authenticity is for ourselves and our lived experience. So my lived experience as a gay black man is that I lost trust with the United States hundreds of years ago. Again and again, through voting cycles through who’s on the Supreme Court to what was being said about me, and on social medias and other things by parents in the school district that I worked at, whose child I saw more than they did because they were in my program and part of a theater project. So when I’m looking at that authentic self and that opportunities for me to be vulnerable, if I so choose to or not, right? And if I’m going to the example that you gave, if I’m in a situation where I belong, right?

And I have a sense of belonging. So I guess I was, I scaled it way out because I waent belonging for the whole world. So I scaled it out when I asked you about going somewhere and being able to say what you’re feeling or what’s going on with you and being able to share. So if I truly belong, I should be able to bring all aspects of myself somewhere, wherever it’s going to be and other people are going to pick up on those and maybe either choose to ask me how I’m doing or there’s something up or not to and give you that opportunity to feel seen, to feel heard, to feel like you belong and that you’re there. One of the things that I learned living in Holland is that the friends that I was with that were Dutch, there were three distinct categories.

There were friends, there were acquaintances, and they were really close friends. So the acquaintance was someone similar to the situation that I just got done saying you would run into them at the pub down the street, because you always frequent it at the same time. Or you run into them at the coffee shop or the grocery store. You are cordial with each other. You say, hello etc. You may ask about each other’s life a bit, family, work, school kind of thing, but those are acquaintances. Friends means those folks now are being invited. Hey, there’s this concert going on? Hey wme are meeting up later here and we start inviting each other to these other places now because housing is so tight in most of Europe, but in Holland it’s really tight, being invited over to somebody’s home meant that you were a really good friend because usually the home was a small space and only X amount of folks can fit inside that space to invite them over.

So my learning in that culture and seeing those aspects of it, the thing that I realized throughout all of those acquaintance, friend, really good friend, even though it seemed to have these hard and fast lines and rules to it, the through line through all of that is the humanity of it. That everybody still was treated with joy and with happiness or at least seeing their humanity and recognizing it and not necessarily this divide and conquer, you’re wearing this hat. You’ve got that shirt on. You’ve got this other thing on, I can’t talk to you. I’m actually going to scrunch up my face and be angry with you, etc., etc., kind of thing. Instead of being like, wow, I still see your humanity, even though I totally disagree with what you’re giving off might be some of your views politically or might be some of your views about being vaccinated or not being vaccinated. I still at the base route, see your humanity first and foremost, that to me is getting closer to the ideas of belonging and having a society that people belong in and is a part of than what we’ve got now.

Douglas:  So what would be your advice to teams or even your clients when you’re working with them on how to create environments like that or help people to lean in more in those types of situations where someone’s voicing a dissenting opinion, even if it’s something that you think is viral, how do you see their humanity? How do you come into those situations and make sure that we’re all there together as humans?

Matthew:  Yeah, that’s a wonderful question. Especially as someone who has had racial slurs, homophobic slurs, all kinds of, words thrown at him has had fists thrown at him. I’ve been part of some pretty horrific situations in my time that I would not wish on anybody else. I think my biggest takeaway at the base root of that is how do I want to be treated? Because there are people out there who’ve never met me and may see some rainbow garb that I’m wearing or a black lives matter t-shirt or something like that andin their instant responses that they want to physically harm me. In some instances they want to take my life. I don’t ever want to get to that point. I don’t ever want that to be my response to another human being. So that’s a much more personal response to what you asked.

I share that with folks. I share my lived experience because I think story telling is a huge part of it. Listening, actively listening to each other’s stories. That’s where we find empathy, compassion. That’s where we are able to hold each other accountable as well. Well, at one point you said this and I’m just pointing that out to you that this is what you said has your truth shifted now? And if so, what is it now? And to honor that as well, instead of saying, you said this at this time, and so I’m totally going to cancel you and check you off the box and you’re gone and you’re out of here, etc., etc. Sometimes it comes down to, wow, I heard you say this. I’m not even saying this to you because what you’re saying is so toxic and abusive that I’m going to have love for you as a human being, but I can’t be around you, and I won’t be around you, and I need to move away from that situation.

Douglas:  One thing that I was told and it’s come in really handy, especially in those moments where it’s people you want to be around, but they falter, we’re all humans, talk about our humanity, right? We’re going to make mistakes. We have fatal flaws [inaudible 00:29:35]. Yeah. I love this question. What do you mean by that? You know, growing up throughout the years, I’ve picked up tons of metaphors and things and not always looked into the history behind them, so giving people an out, if they don’t even know if they’re just regurgitating something they heard or if it’s habitual, and they’re shameful of it, like yes, giving them a soft exit. It’s such a human way to approach that.

Matthew:  Soft exit. I love that language. Yes. Yes. And fail first attempt in learning. I think we’re so achievement based that all of this life that is the process of attempting to solve a math problem, spell a word correctly, do your timetables, all these things that we don’t think are that big of a deal, they’re feeding, especially young cognitive brains, it’s feeding in a mentality of how things are supposed to get done. That’s why a lot of the education system is more of an indoctrination system. It doesn’t allow for full exploration of the curiosity, exploration of creativity, exploration of your humanity, and to grow from their perspective. So that soft exit and being able to give yourself grace along with giving other people, grace, and your definition of forgiveness and if you choose to forgive and people are like, you forgive everybody?

Forgive everybody? I don’t know anymore if I have situations where people need forgiveness from me, but that’s my journey, right? I’ve gotten to a point now that I don’t have any regrets in life. Another thing that I took from the Dutch friends that I hung out with at new year’s, they would ask, do you have any regrets for this last year? Then if you did, you’d talk about with your friends and if there was someone you needed to go talk to or something you needed to say for yourself or work out for yourself, you’d go into the new a year without any regrets. So taking that in it’s like that ties in with forgiveness. If at any time I feel that I’ve been slighted and wronged in a way that I’m going to need to give somebody forgiveness, I want to say something in that moment.

I want to be able to belong and be in community and see this other person’s humanity. That in that moment, I can say either, I can say, well, I can say plethora of things, but I can say, man, that hurts so hard. I cannot talk about this right now and I don’t know when I’m going to be able to talk to you about it, but at some point I want to talk about this a little bit deeper, but I need to walk away from this conversation to the point of the question that you just said, what exactly did you mean by that? Where does that come from? Is that really the way that you feel in your heart of hearts? Is this really your thinking right now and see where the answers in our conversation.

Douglas:  Well, I’m just curious if you have been exposed to liberating structure called improv prototyping?

Matthew:  Improv, prototyping? No have not.

Douglas:  Okay. Everything you’re saying is remindinged me of times when we’ve used this and here’s my little gift to you then if you haven’t heard of it.

Matthew:  Thank you.

Douglas:  Basically, it would be a way for folks to simulate some of these bad experiences and then practice their responses. So basically you get at people in a group of three, one person exhibits, the undesired behavior and the other person respond on to it and then the third person observes. So they’re taking notes on the response and then they all debrief together to talk about what was that like, that way when you encounter it, your kind of a little bit prepared for it. You’ve rehearsed, you’ve got some tools in your pocket and it’s a little familiar, it doesn’t cut quite as deep because not caughtcut off guard. You’ve got some little thing that’s in you that knows what to do.

Matthew:  Yes. I know it from a different name from teen theater that used to be in Southern Oregon, and they would go in and do this type of work with folks, nurses, police, others, situations, of course, Principles don’t like you messing with their educators, their teachers, because it has to all come down from them, the hierarchy, patriarchy aspect of the education system. But I digress. The thing that I found with the improv prototyping, as you call it is that sometimes it doesn’t go deep enough because of re-traumatizing, marginalized groups.

Douglas:  Oh yes.

Matthew:  With what might be said. And so with this work and with what I’m offering, I’ve been fortunate and unfortunate to meet people. Who’ve been doing this type of work for over 40 years. What I’ve come to the conclusion in this work and listening to these stories is that we’re trying to think our way into things and out of things, get that balance of mind, body, and spirit human spirit.

So in crafting your equity lens, I’m helping people look more from that heart center because the culture isn’t going to change if my heart and the way in which my heart feels about this situation doesn’t change. So having my equity lens as my guide, my personal mission statement, for lack of really getting into the equity lens aspect of it, I think, is important to look at that part of it because so many people right now want that quick fix. Give me, tell me what to do. Tell me what our policies and procedures should say. Tell me what wording should be in our mission statement, tell me what plays I should be looking at in my class setting or what plays we should be producing, etc., etc., but if I tell you, which I could do, it doesn’t mean anything to you.

So if it doesn’t get you the metrics that you’re looking for, it doesn’t get more diverse people coming in and wanting to work in your organization in your audience. If those things don’t happen, then you have something to blame. And that would be me because I gave you these words. But if you craft your equity lens and it’s a call to action and a tool that you are using daily, the conversations that you’re having with yourself and with others, then it actually is beginning to shift your consciousness. So the book that I am just about done writing the working title right now is shifting the consciousness of humanity, and that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to shift humanity more towards its humanness. So I want to shift that consciousness so that we’re thinking more from a humanity based perspective.

Douglas:  Wow. I love that. You’re absolutely right on re-triggering. I was just kind of like off the cuff thinking about improv prototyping, and we never used it in that particular setting. I could see that could be a slippery slope something that people should be conscious of, we don’t do any work really with people that are having those types of conversations. So, definitely have to be careful about re-triggering and re-traumatizing. So, thank you for that reminder. I want to wrap up with our final question, which is an opportunity for you to leave our listeners with a final thought and of course we’ll be on the lookout for the book sounds amazing. Hopefully everyone will start thinking about their equity lens and, and how they can start adopting some of this thinking. What else should they keep in mind in the coming days and weeks?

Matthew:  I think one of the things is that crafting your personal equity lens is actually a process that I offer and it’s three hours each day, and we have what’s called open group. So I have a new open group that is November 12th through the 14th. The times on it are based on Pacific standard time but if you go to my website, mrrconsulting.org, and if you go to workshops there, you’ll find the open group. So this call to action is something that helps people begin to truly find their own personal authenticity. How much of your thinking is your thinking? It’s crafted out of their own lived experiences. So I feel that it’s really important for people to start understanding when the knee jerk reaction, the thought process that is actually dehumanizing someone else isn’t necessarily their thought process and it isn’t their authenticity. So how do you find your authentic self? I invite people to ask themselves the question every day, how much, much of your thinking as your thinking and see what comes up for them.

Douglas:  So brilliant. Thank you so much, Matthew, it’s been a pleasure chatting with you today, and I can’t wait to get this out and published so everyone can listen and enjoy it.

Matthew:  Thank you, Douglas. Thank you so much for having me and for giving voice to these mini voices that are out there. It’s important to hear each other’s. So thank you.

Douglas:  Thanks for joining me for another episode of Control The Room. Don’t forget to subscribe, to receive updates when new episodes are released. If you want more, head over to our blog, where I post weekly articles and resources about working better together, voltagecontrol.com.