Definition of Intent: Something that is intended; purpose; design; intention –
the act or fact of intending, as to do something. — Dictionary.com
Definition of Impact: The impression made by an idea, cultural movement, social group, etc; Influence; effect – to have an impact or effect on; influence; alter. —Dictionary.com
I wanted to talk about this subject because a something happened the other day. One of my good friends posted a comment on Facebook about a blog post that Salesforce wrote regarding some community members. This blog post highlighted these amazing community members dedication to the platform and how they symbolized said dedication with tattoos.
My friend being crazy and blunt like she normally is made this statement, “Wait… did these ladies just out Salesforce us?” and tagged me in the post. Now we all like to pride ourselves on being the top “diehard” Salesforce junkie. It’s crazy, right? we’ve all drank the blue kool-aid, people get it we LOVE Salesforce.
I made the comment, “I don’t do tats IMHO that’s crazy! My work speaks for itself. I respect their hustle if this was to get attention it worked.” Now, most that know me know that I am a very direct and blunt person. I promise this statement was not to throw shade or intentionally harm anyone. Unfortunately, my mouth and thoughts get me in trouble at times.
So I’m not sure if the ladies that are featured in the blog are even aware of this little side conversation, not that it matters. I was thinking about my response, my intent and the impact that it may have on these beautiful women. If they had seen this conversation it may have stirred up feelings of negativity. Now while I was just giving my honest opinion, I was also showing a bias to those women who decided to get tattoos. Just because it’s not something that I would choose to do, doesn’t mean that it should be “crazy” if they decided to do it. Did I intend to make them feel bad? No. Did I make them feel bad? Probably. My impact did not match my intent.
Conscious and Unconscious Bias
That’s the thing about our biases; they come out when we aren’t acting intentionally. We all carry biases, conscious and unconscious. Note to self: I need to write a blog about this, I thought I already did lol. I digress, unconscious bias operates at a very subtle level, below our awareness. It results in almost unnoticeable behaviors (micro behaviours) such as paying a little less attention to what another person is saying, addressing them less warmly, or talking to them less than you do people you don’t have a bias against.. Being aware of the biases we have and how strong they are, equips us to better manage our unconscious biases. Why? Because when we know which groups trigger our unconscious categories, then we can be be more vigilant to work against them. So our biases lead all of us into situations where our impact doesn’t match our intent.
Examine Your Impact
I make mistakes, no matter how intentional I try to be. More often than I realize I’m sure. However, when we get caught up in unintended impact, it’s so important to stop, reflect, learn, and change our behavior. That is why I wrote this blog post, I’m trying to learn from this situation. I’m trying to be more intentional about recognizing the impact that I have and the impact that I’m leaving on others.
So to the women highlighted in the post, if you are reading this, I want to send my sincerest apology if I made you feel in anyway less than amazingly beautiful. You are my ohana, and I will do better to make sure that my intent matches my impact.
The majority of us want to leave a positive impact so we need to:
- Stay humble
- Be vigilant
- See through the lens of love