Why I Believe Art is the Key to Inclusion in the Workplace

4min read

The technological transformation is underway at the dawn of the new decade. I think we are all both fascinated and scared about what is going to happen in the 2020s. We know for sure that it will entail the shift of jobs requiring more creative and high-cognitive skills. Talent will be measured by sophisticated intelligence, forensic efficiency, and pressure resiliency. Companies with innovative and tech advanced products will thrive economically, but I believe it will not be enough to advance our society. Business leaders will have to involve their ingenuity and energy to sustain this change for people. And not only for technically savvy people or creative minds. The culture of innovation will have to be for everybody regardless of their background, education, gender, race, or current occupation.

Skills for future jobs will demand speed information processing, multiple simultaneous attention, constant learning, and new idea generation. The workforce is already known to be stressed, and the possibility of job disruption adds to the anxiety level. Those abilities are not innate for most people and will need to be learned to remain competitive in the job market. This is where thought leaders need to play a crucial role and provide an inspiring and safe environment. They need to foster the necessary learning so that everybody has the chance to prosper. There are many ways to advance the mentioned skills, which include mindfulness meditation, breathing work, reading, and brain exercise. However, one way to do so, which we do not automatically think about is through the arts.

Viewing, experiencing, and analyzing visual art can stimulate the brain and thus help to improve the mental function.

Here are the main reasons why:

  • Art has a profound psychological impact on individuals.
  • Looking at art involves seeing things in relative terms and requires one to get out of their comfort zone.
  • Art contains messages to be always alert to the changing society.
  • Through its inventive process, it brings vitality to the thought methodology.
  • Art can conjure strong emotions and deep thoughts, benefiting the brain to create new neuro connections. In exchange, it can sharpen critical faculties of individuals and free their creative drives, dropping the invisible personal barriers. Then imagination and creativity can be boosted, which will be essential capabilities in the workplace of tomorrow.
  • Understanding art requires a certain level of humility, which helps the brain to unlearn first before learning new skills.
  • Art is also an amazing way for people to reconnect with each other and to create social occasions to meet. Feeling lonely could trigger psychological and cognitive decline, while art promotes community interactions.

The bottom line is that art maps out the road to fundamental learning. Therefore companies could only benefit from having art and artists in the office. This is how this could be achieved:

  • Art could be hanging on the walls or be installed in the forms of sculptures.
  • Artists could be working in residencies at corporations or provide lectures about their vision of the present and the future.
  • Collectible design furniture could be present in the rest areas.
  • Artists could be on the Advisory Board of organizations. I strongly believe that artists provide an alternative view about what it means to be successful for a business through lenses of humanity.

Not only does art cultivate intellectual curiosity - a critical faculty in the fast paced environment - but it's also beneficial to foster inclusive growth. It is known that the first jobs which will be impacted are those held by women. Women historically occupy lower qualified positions, which will be the first affected by new technologies such as AI, robotics, and other automated tools. The same applies to racial and ethnic minorities.

Meaningful art in the workplace is available to everybody. And I don't mean only having art in the board rooms or the lobby space - it's not enough. Leaders need to think including art in the meditation and silent rooms, inviting artists to talk to employees and explain their process, include artworks with an extensive palette of colors and shapes, unusual combinations of content, and material. It needs to be installed where people actually work. If business leaders really want to make a difference, they need to put the type of artwork that will be talked about at the dinners at home by their employees and reproduced on social media profiles.

Leaders have a great responsibility to embark everybody on the transformational journey towards an inclusive workplace of the 21st century. They can forestall it by the means of arts. Rob Riemen said "You can't keep the society with economics alone, it takes culture to do this." And I couldn't agree more with these words.

Our newsletter that womansplains the week
3min read

It’s Time for Women to Stop Worrying About Being “Too Much”

We are living in a time when women are rising to new heights which means they are regularly being confronted with the fear of being "too much". For women in business this is pervasive and costly.

A few ways women can be perceived as "too much" are:

Speaking up about their successes and achievements.

Sharing one too many photos of their cute kids.

Telling one too many people about that date night.

Looking a little too good in that swimsuit.

These can lead to being publicly attacked on social media or privately slandered which in turn leads to women dimming their light and walking on egg shells in hopes of avoiding conflict and judgement.

The minute a woman feels it's unsafe to shine she will begin to overthink, worry, and fear how she shows up in the world.

Forgetting to announce the book is done and the interview is live.

Choosing to focus on what's still on the to-do list rather than what's been checked off.

Many female entrepreneurs are subconsciously altering their behavior in an attempt to not attract too much attention to themselves, rather than focusing on allowing authenticity and magnetism to attract their ideal clients and community.

Women are afraid of being criticized, ostracized, and abandoned by other women for simply being who they are. This leads to quite the quantum when being who you are is simplest way to accelerate the growth of your business.

New research shows men are far more comfortable with self promotion than women are. Researchers found that men rate their own performance 33 percent higher than equally performing women. What we know is that self promotion pays off and this is where women are missing the boat.

The world needs more women to step into leadership roles and no longer be intimidated about creating six and seven figure careers.

Here are five ways to release the fear of being "too much":

1. Approve of yourself.

While it feels good to receive outside validation it will never be enough if you don't first appreciate yourself. The key to having a healthy support system is to make sure you are part of it. Being your biggest critic is what your mother's generation did. It's now time to be your biggest cheerleader. Becoming aware of self talk will reveal what belief is ready to be re-wired. Create a simply mantra that affirms how incredible capable you are.

2. Connect deeply to those you serve.

One powerful way to shift out of people pleasing behavior is to get clear on who actually matters to the wellbeing and success of your life and business. Leadership is not about being the most popular, instead it's a decision to be brave for those who can't be. Take a few minutes each day to visualize and meditate on those your business serves and supports. See your future clients moving toward you every time you choose to stand in your power and use your authentic voice.

3. Remember the legacy you wish to leave.

Having your life purpose and legacy in writing is one of the most transformational exercises you can do. Reading this often will keep you focused on what matters. Knowing what you wish to leave in the hearts of those you love most is incredibly grounding. You didn't come here to keep your mouth shut, dilute your truth, or dim your light-you came here to make a difference.

4. Forgive those who have been unsupportive in the past.

The past has a way of informing the future in a negative way when there is unresolved pain. Take a few minutes to get quiet and ask yourself who you have unforgiveness towards or maybe their name came to mind as you read this article. Listening to a forgiveness meditation or writing a letter to the person you are ready to forgive are both simple and effective ways to process and heal.

5. Be part a community of bright, successful women.

Meaningful relationships with others who have similar aspirations is what will keep you out of isolation and playing small. These connections can happen in a networking group, online community or a local Meetup. Thriving in every area of life is depend on you knowing where you belong and being celebrated there. Don't wait to be invited, go actively seek out people and places that support your dreams and desires.

6. Accept you can have it all.

Women have been fed a lie for generations that says, you can have love or money. Decide you can have it all and allow it to flow to you. You can have a successful career and an amazing mother. You can balance motherhood and loving marriage. Don't let anyone write the rules for you. This is the time to create the life you desire on your terms.

7. Celebrate everything!

The fastest way to leave the haters in the dust is to celebrate everything! At the end of each day lay in bed and recall the best moments. At the end of each week, publicly acknowledge and celebrate what's good in your life. Once a month, have a celebration dinner and share it with those who have helped you in the journey. If there's something good happening, talk about it with everyone who will listen!

May you be a woman who chooses to shine so that others may be reminded of all they can be and do.