Connection helps us grow both personally and professionally. Fostering an open and inclusive environment improves our well-being – whether we’re empowering our shipmates to succeed, deepening our bonds with our friends with humor or expressing empathy with our family members when they’re going through a rough patch. Showing someone you care and respect them – even with a small act of kindness – can go a long way in helping others feel included and supported.
Since we often find ourselves navigating uncertainty, establishing a support network that helps us navigate life’s twists and turns is a great way to ground ourselves. Individuals inside and outside of our central circles may have helpful insights from their experiences or new perspectives on situations, that we have not yet considered. On an individual level, valuing diverse perspectives and leveraging unique mindsets fuels our own personal growth and strengthens our communities.
Inclusion promotes innovation, establishes equity across various networks and lowers instances of negative behaviors. From an organizational perspective, the Navy continues to invest in inclusion and diversity. The Navy defines those terms as:
- Inclusion: valuing and integrating each individual’s perspectives, ideas and contributions into the way an organization functions and makes decisions.
- Diversity: all of the different characteristics and attributes of our Navy Team, which are consistent with Navy core values, integral to overall readiness and mission accomplishment and is reflective of the Nation we serve.
While these definitions highlight opportunities for the Navy community to build an inclusive environment, they are just as relevant when considering your day-to-day actions when engaging with others. Gaining an understanding of the different perspectives, experiences and ideas of the people around us helps give us the flexibility to be more open to change and to make sure all identities are supported and seen. These actions help ensure that everyone in the Navy is able to bring their full selves to work.
Connection is essential during times of extreme stress. Protective factors against suicide include: a strong sense of community and belonging, psychological and physical safety, strong ties with family and friends, a fulfillment of personal purpose and a contribution or responsibility to others. Investing in your relationships with others and these protective factors prior to a stressful event occurring will help you feel more confident in exercising resilience. Make an effort to regularly express how much your loved ones mean to you as well as your respect and admiration for colleagues.