Here are two truths that I doubt anyone can debate.
Truth #1: Those in power want to stay in power.
Truth #2: Those in power look an awful lot like me (white male).
I think its very natural to be in power and want to keep or increase that power. One might say its ‘human nature’.
But the scales are tipped in one direction, and everything is easier for you when you look a certain way. I believe this to be true, and therefore, I believe I have a responsibility to use my privilege to do good in the world.
I have worked hard to achieve what I’ve achieved. I have tried to learn from my mistakes so that I could improve and be more successful. I have gone through hard times trying to build my companies.
So yes, you might say I’ve earned everything I’ve achieved. In fact, I used to believe that.
Did I earn the right to be taken a little more seriously because I’m a man?
Did I earn the ability to be taken seriously because I look like the people at the other end of the table making the decisions?
Did I earn the fact that my family was able to send me to college, and was able to have a spare room for me and my wife to move into while my first business was struggling?
So many people do not have the advantages that I have simply because of who I am, and how I look. Buffett calls it winning the Ovarian Lottery. Hard to disagree with that label.
I believe I have an obligation to try to use the advantages that I have been given, and the skills that I’ve built over time, and the hard work and effort that I put in on a daily basis to get better, to have an out-sized, positive impact on the world. The companies that I build, the places I spend my time and resources, the type of children I want to raise, all are ways that I can live that Purpose, every day of my life.
It’s also my hope that more people that look like me would have this same mindset. It’s why I recommend to everyone that they consider applying for Leadership Atlanta.
And it’s why I’m going to keep blogging and sharing my thoughts, even though I risk alienating some of my white guy friends and readers. But if I can change even just one mindset, then it’s worth it.