How To Manage Discomfort When Challenging Bias

bias core values inclusive Dec 12, 2023

Identifying and disrupting bias can be uncomfortable. You might feel vulnerable, scared, or even embarrassed when challenging existing systems and practices. It may be easier to "go along" with the status quo but that is not how change happens. Knowing how to manage your discomfort when confronting bias will help you become an effective ally and leader in creating more diverse, inclusive environments.


Identify Your Core Values

The first step in managing discomfort is understanding what drives you. What are your core values? Do you value integrity, fairness, respect, and community? Consider how you can use those values to guide your decisions. For example, if one of your core values is respect, then think about how respecting yourself includes advocating for something that brings respect to everyone. This exercise helps keep the focus on why you are doing this work so that it can be meaningful and manageable.


Take Care of Yourself First

It's important to remember that challenging bias takes energy and focus–both mental and physical. Make sure you care for yourself by getting enough rest, nourishing yourself appropriately, incorporating movement and self-connection practices, and doing things that bring you joy. Taking care of yourself first will help you stay grounded and focused as you strive for change.


Make Connections With Other Allies and Accomplices 

It's easier to challenge bias when other people share your goals–allies and accomplices who understand why this work is important and have also gone through similar experiences. Connecting with other allies and accomplices helps build a support network that can provide emotional sustenance during difficult times. Make sure these connections are meaningful too; not only for support but also for accountability–ensuring that everyone stays on track towards achieving their goals together!


Creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome starts with each individual making conscious efforts to recognize their own biases and address them directly. By understanding how managing discomfort plays into this process, leaders can proactively promote an inclusive culture while setting an example for others. Building strong connections with other allies will also ensure greater success in driving progress forward–so don’t forget to reach out! Incorporating these tips on managing discomfort when challenging existing systems and practices, will help empower all professionals to create positive changes!

Want to learn more about how to manage discomfort when identifying bias?

Check out our Brave Leadership resources, including a guided bias visualization here.

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