Leadership

Waking Up With Ashton Kutcher

Also at the Qualtrics X4 Conference was Ashton Kutcher. I actually didn’t know very much about him until he came on the stage started with his very intense talk.

This man was on fire. He spoke about many of the injustices of the world, including child sex trafficking which is one of the organizations he spends most of his time with. He talked about social inequality, capitalization, and how we all need to wake up to our whole selves.

As a society, we tend to compartmentalize people into buckets, and feel a sense of comfort declaring those other buckets as “Other.” If we remove our own walls around the different aspects of who we are – our personal views on society, life, love, spiritualness, and definitions of success, we can’t help but start to look at other people in a more holistic view because we’re trying to find and understand everyone’s whole self.

He encouraged the audience to understand that inclusion can only happen if everyone can bring their whole selves to any workplace or conversation. There shouldn’t be judgments made about a person for having one particular opinion or another. There should be curiosity and conversation in order to learn the reason as to why a person feels that way. There can be disagreements, but there doesn’t need to be animosity that comes along with it.

While the first few minutes was a little uncomfortable, seeing we had just listened to a calm and comforting Sir Richard Branson and then had Ashton pacing around the stage, hands wildly gesturing, yelling at everyone to “Wake up,” but then it dawned on me that this was what the conference planners were intentional about having him as a part of this. Qualtrics still considers themselves a small, family-run company (even though it was just bought by SAP), and they wanted to bring their whole selves to the conference. This meant not just talking about business and consumer experience management, but also raising awareness for the causes and issues they felt were important. They were practicing what Ashton was preaching.

For a taste of Ashton’s intensity, check out his acceptance speech at the 2015 Teen Choice Awards where he tells the audience the three things he’s learned: life should be built and not just lived, opportunity means hard work, and always be sexy.

I’m continuing to try to bring my whole self into situations. This blog is one of those outlets. I now talk about health, write stories about my life experiences, and I’m trying to put more of my opinion out there, or at least my thoughts about, rather than just regurgitation of what I learned.

I’m also trying to work with clients that are in alignment with my values and passions. It’s kind of hard to say no to anything that comes our way yet, but we’re only really working with clients right now that fall into our wheelhouse of wanting to keep learning (whether about their customers or about themselves) and preserving wellness. We will also start trying to work with more large non-profits who have the need to keep learning about their constituents or their causes. Knowing we’re helping with the greater good while still nerding out on data will maintain our passion for doing this a lot longer than for just a paycheck.

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