Momentum Podcast: 272
Discrimination Creates Limitation
by Alex Charfen
This topic is important in the environment in which we find ourselves in the world today. Is it ok to discriminate against a human being in 2018?
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Chafren and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum, so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure we pay attention to their rules but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters. Clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive, human evolution and we always will be.
Discrimination creates limitation. This is a podcast I've been thinking about for a while but admittedly it's been pretty tough to do because I know by the time I'm done with this recording or by the time the listeners, you, are done listening to this, I will probably have lost listeners and followers and maybe even friends. And that's unfortunate.
But I feel like this topic is critically important today in the political environment we find ourselves in, in the environment we find the country in and quite frankly, the environment we find the world today. Where it is becoming increasingly acceptable to discriminate against people because they aren't like you. Or they aren't like they're supposed to be. It's becoming increasingly acceptable to discriminate against people for their sexual preference, for their gender identity, for the color of their skin, for the country they were born in.
It's okay to treat people like less than human beings because they're walking across a dessert looking for a better life, and they just happen to be breaking the law, so we're going to punish them as much as we possibly can by separating families. And putting adolescent children in cages and not letting them talk to each other or touch each other. And putting them through one of the most traumatic events of their lives. Why? Because they were escaping an oppressive situation and trying to find opportunity in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
And it doesn't stop there. Where now in a political environment where it's okay to tell somebody they can't rent an apartment, they can't have a job, they can't be around you because of who they choose to fall in love with. It's now okay and acceptable to tell someone, it's okay to discriminate against a human being in 2018 because their gender identity is different than their physiological sex.
And all of these things are becoming increasingly acceptable and this environment makes me very concerned for you, the entrepreneur. Because here's what I've seen in my 30 years of employing people, when you go out, and you hire for talent and ability and motivation and passion. And when you look for true believers that are going to help you change the world, when you go out and find those incredibly special, unique human beings that joined your team and change things, I want you to know something. They don't look like everybody else.
They are special and unique and different because they are special and unique and different. And you have to take all of them when you hire them. And the fact is, if you have a company that discriminates against people and you only hire the same type of person, I want you to know something, you are exposed. You are the emperor with new clothes and if you don't know it yet, it's coming. Because when you have an environment in a business where you are willing to discriminate against anyone, then discrimination is a possibility for everyone. And it doesn't matter if they're in the right group or the right club or they love the right people, they will still know that yours is a business where discrimination is okay.
And that in the long term will damage your ability to grow your company. Have to realize when we're on the outside of ourselves looking back, we're different too. And if we're going to discriminate against people for who they are, then you have to understand, that if you're going to be one of those businesses, you are limiting your success.
Because you're limiting the world view of your team. You're limiting who you will allow in the door. You're limiting who you'll put on your team and if you're discriminating and trying to find people who are all the same, then I want you to know something, you have a massive liability. You are the emperor with no clothes and you don't know it yet.
Because when you discriminate against people and you bring in only a certain type of person, they will know that discrimination is part of your company's way of being. And when you have a company that discriminates against anyone, everyone will know that they can be discriminated against. And so if you're hiring people only because of how they are, not who they are and what they're capable of, you are creating a massive liability for yourself.
A few years ago I had the weirdest experience in Austin. We had a group of three older gentlemen came in to tour our offices, we had won the Ink 500, we were number 21 in the country. Fastest growing company. We were only four years out of bankruptcy, we were the fastest growing company in Texas. We had won the best places to work three years in a row and we had this group come in from an organization I won't name. But another training organization, it was three older guys and they wanted me to join the organization.
But they also wanted to see what we were doing and understand what we were doing as a company. And I was giving them a tour of our offices, we had about 90 people, we were in a building off of City View. And I remember they made some weird comments while we were walking around. But one of them, like all of the comments culminated together, well one of them turned to me after about 45 minutes of walking around. We were in our member services area, you could see about 40 members of our 90 person team. And he turned to me and said, "You know Alex, I think it's really great that you hire for diversity."
And at the time it didn't click what he was saying, I didn't understand what he was saying. I kind of looked at him funny. And he didn't say anything else, he just looked out at my member services team. And as we walked around for the next few minutes, I looked back at the room and it clicked. He was saying, by looking at my team, that it was great that I hired for diversity because we had all different shapes, sizes, colors, races whatever. I don't care. I hire talent and talent works really well with talent.
And we had an incredible game changing team. But I felt it was so weird for him to look back at my team and say, "It's so nice you hire for diversity." Because he made the assumption that we did because everybody looked different.
That was just one of the weirdest experiences of my career because I never tried to hire for diversity. You try and hire talent, diversity shows up. You try and hire the best people in the world, you're going to get different world views and heck you're going to get a really diverse group of people. If you look back through the history of the world, those that have been successful, that have left their dent in the universe, anyone you remember, anyone who matters to be remembered. Not only were they just like us but they were different from everyone else.
People throughout history who have changed the world, were those who struggled with who they were and how they were and understanding the world around them. If the people who change the world are those who have the restless agitation of trying to understand the world. And the people who are willing to come in to your organization and make things happen, are going to be those who are ready, who are willing and who know that things should happen.
And in my experience, there is no rhyme or reason to who those people are. You can't tell me that they have a certain religion, or sexual preference, or gender identity or anything else. They are completely different and every one of them is unique. And in my career, I've had the privilege of employing hundreds of people directly thousands of people indirectly, and I can tell you that there is absolutely no commonality at all as to what makes someone successful other than the fact that they are fundamentally different from those around them.
The most unique people in my entire career are those who have created the most incredible outcomes. And so when we discriminate against people for being different, we eliminate the very possibility that we are going to get those who are going to have the biggest impact in our businesses. The biggest impact on our movements and the biggest impact on what we are trying to do.
So if you're an entrepreneur and you run a business, it is my sincere hope that you will consider adding an anti discrimination policy to the way you run your company. I'll share mine or I'll share how we use ours.
Every person who is hired by our organization hears verbally from me our anti discrimination policy in a discussion in our culture meeting. And I let every single person know that it doesn't matter what color you are, what religion you are, what sexual preference you have, what gender identity you feel, any of those things do not matter to me. And that if anyone in my organization is ever made to feel less than or like they can't do something, or like they aren't as good as everyone else because of who they are, that there will be immediate consequences. Because we create an environment where if you want to preform and help us create momentum and help us make our change in the world, we will protect you for who you are. I promise you.
And I will tell you right now, and everyone else, this is my declaration that in our organization it doesn't matter what religion, what race, what color, where you were born, what language you speak, what country you live in, who you choose to sleep with, what gender identity you have or anything else, if you are talented and ready to help create momentum and want to join a world changing team, we will accept you.
And if you're an entrepreneur who is ready to leave your dent in the universe, if you want what you do to be remembered, if you want to make the greatest impact you possibly can, then I have a suggestion for you. Open your heart. Open your acceptance and open your company to the people who are going to help you change the world.
Because the one commonality with every one of us who has is that we are different from the world around us. We're not the same. Different isn't average and while the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, you should go out and find the people who were born to make a change in the universe. And those who are exactly the people who are different and unique and misunderstood.
Discrimination causes limitation everywhere in our lives. But if you allow discrimination into your business, it will cause mutinies and in fighting and fear and an atmosphere where people don't feel like they can trust the very institution they're working for. And it will be an environment where people feel like they can't trust you. But when you create an environment and a business where everyone's accepted, where anyone feels safe, where people can be who they are and share who they are openly, you will create an environment where you attract the best talent. The most unique people and you create the hightest level of momentum.
If I've offended you in any way, that is absolutely not my intention. Rather, I want to share an opinion, a world view in my experience, that the more open you are as an entrepreneur to the human beings around you, the more open you are as an entrepreneur to the opportunity around you.
And 100 percent of us, you included, have felt different and isolated and alone and like a party of one. Like we were the only person on Earth like us, like we had no place, no tribe, nowhere to belong and every one of us has felt that feeling of discrimination. That feeling of oppression, that feeling of not being right, of not belonging, of not fitting in.
And as entrepreneurs, we have this incredible opportunity where with a decision we can solve that for someone around us. With a policy of anti discrimination, we can give other entrepreneurs who are trying to find their place in the world, a place to land. A place to perform, a place to show who they are.
And by doing this, we can create the most progressive and the most game changing companies in the world. So if you're willing, I welcome your participation in creating a business that goes out and actually leaves a dent in the universe. And the more people you let in, the more diverse your workforce, the more different the people around you are, the more momentum you will create.
Discrimination creates limitation. Normally at the end of a podcast, I have a call to action where I ask you to go give us some information or download something. And with this podcast, here's my ask. Today, when you have the opportunity, when the next few weeks when you see someone who's been judged for who they are or is being made to feel less than. Or someone who just doesn't look like they're in momentum, I want you to pause, recognize them and give them a compliment. Help them along, say something nice to them and then I want you to feel in your heart what happens because it doesn't matter who the person is, the fastest way for us to get into momentum is to give it to someone else.
And if you're willing to do that, you will feel that sense of having helped someone, that sense of having boosted someone, that sense of having moved someone forward and that sense, that feeling, that incredible connection to source does not change when that person we are helping is different. In fact, sometimes it gets even stronger.
Go out and prove it to yourself that the fastest way to get into momentum is to give it to someone else and you'll see momentum doesn't discriminate.