When I first entered into this field, it’s so interesting thinking back to those times, because I used to go to conferences with who now is like one of my closest friends, and we teach together, and we lecture together and do all these things. But I was entering into a new world and I used to call Adam and I used to ask him like what he was going to wear at a particular conference that he would say I’m going to wear a polo shirt and slacks. And I would try to match him.
And I realized now that, like, what I was doing was trying to assimilate myself into the like, white academic professional culture. And it was really, really hard and took a toll on me. Like that’s not, that’s not the world I come from. That’s not what I represent. It’s not who I am.
I like to wear hoodies and athletic clothing, baggy clothes and jeans and air force ones, like that’s where I’m from. And that’s who I am. And after some years of trying to fit into this community and realizing that not only did I not fit in, but they were never going to accept me. I decided like, I’m just going to be me.
Like, I’m just going to go ahead and be me. And I started dressing in a way that represented who I am and where I’m from. And I immediately felt more comfortable, felt more satisfied and felt happier and even started achieving more of my goals. And people need to understand that, like, it’s very, very hard to be an overt minority in an academic white professional world and achieve goals and achieve the things that you set out to achieve.
Because very often people do not want to accept you. Even to this day, I still put videos on YouTube and on my website and all my social media platforms. And occasionally people will refer to me as unprofessional. They will say you were unprofessional and that you need to change the way you dress. And I take great offense to that because I dress in a way that represent where I’m from and who I am.
You know, I currently run the largest Solution Focused training community in the world. Each month, anywhere between 10 to 15,000 people consume my training material, 15,000 different people, 10 to 15,000 new different people I introduce to the Solution Focused Approach. We reach more people than anyone else and have built the biggest Solution Focused training organization in the entire field. And I did most of it in a sweatshirt.
So I think what we need to do is we need to prioritize content more than privilege. And I think we need to allow people’s talents to shine more than wondering like, what level of status they have. And more than anything else, we need to accept people for who they are instead of making people feel uncomfortable for who they are.
So I put on a tie today to show you, I can do this too! I put on a tie today, to show you that most of what I’ve done, I’ve done it in a sweatshirt. As a matter of fact, I’ve put hundreds, literally hundreds of videos on my YouTube channel, on my social media, on my website. I think this is the very first one that I’ve ever made in a tie,
but I did it to make the point that I’m not any better at my job because I’m wearing a tie. I just am more acceptable, but that’s something that you need to change. That’s something that you need to work on. Like we need to accept people for who they are. You know, one of the things that I think makes Solution Focused,
Brief, Therapy such an outstanding way of working with people is we go into the session, accepting our clients for who they are, and then going from there and help them build what they want to be. We need to extend that courtesy to everyone in our field. We need to send that courtesy to everyone. We meet. We need to stand up courtesy to everyone.
The greatest gift you can give someone is acceptance. And the greatest thing you can do is be authentic. My life inherently, exponentially, my life got 10 times better when I decided to be my authentic self and just let the world to deal with it. And so did my success. And that’s what I want to ask you guys today, is be your authentic self, but also accept other people who may be different from you because the greatest gift you can give them is acceptance.
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