James Baldwin in 1958. (Photo: Mottke Weissman)

“I have always been struck in America by an emotional poverty so bottomless and a terror of human life, of human touch, so deep that virtually no American appears able to achieve any viable organic connection between his public stance and his private life. The failure of the private life has always had the most devastating effect on American public conduct and on black-white relations. If Americans were not so terrified of their private self, it would never have become so dependent on what they call ‘the negro problem’.”

James Baldwin

This sentiment touches what’s at the core of our Public Image Works method. It’s not about concocting a public image. It’s not about being so afraid of how others will interpret your vision that you have to create a separate version of your organizational (or personal) self. It’s about showing your real, value-driven self in every way you can. It’s about acknowledging the private version of the person hearing the story. It’s about emotional compassion for your self and empathy for others. It’s not easy. It’s not comfortable. But I believe it’s the only way to start the conversations that need to be started and do the things that must be done to make life the best it can be for everyone.

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