Unconscious Bias Alert

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As you are rolling along through your day you may notice that your brain is making some quick interpretations. This is your unconscious bias and the focus of this article is to alert you to take notice and be more conscious and present to your thoughts. The unconscious bias definition is being unaware of thoughts which happen automatically as your brain takes in information.  You have certain beliefs and opinions which have been formed based on your age, your upbringing, your sex, your religious beliefs, your body image, what your parents told you or clergy or teachers or friends parents and many other ideas that are subject to your own personal bias. Remember these are not conscious. You hold stereotypes and opinions without even being consciously aware that you do.  You are simply human.

Even if you aren’t certain what these biases are or even if you are thinking, “I don’t have biases”… you do.  Leading psychologists from Harvard and the University of Virginia and the University of Washington developed an unconscious bias test called Implicit Association Tests. These tests were created to actually to measure unconscious bias. The tests measure your automatic, unconscious responses which are your biases.

Are You Willing To Look In The Mirror?

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How willing are you to look into your own biases?  As a business mentor, I encourage all my business owners to take a look at where they might hold some stereotypes and might even be unaware of them because this effects how they prospect, how they sell, how they manage, and how they serve customers.
In each moment when you are involved with people, your brain is grouping them and making decisions about them without you being consciously aware.  You are making decisions and predictions about people based upon social characteristics and your beliefs.
Even if you don’t believe you are prejudiced, you are biased.  We are all biased. Most of us don’t even know our biases exist.  Let me share an example.  Many years ago I was an art consultant. I was doing a private art show in the home of a very wealthy couple. Most of their friends in attendance were dressed elegantly and I assumed that meant they had money to buy art and I passionately shared the art with them expecting them to buy. A couple walked into the art show late. They were dressed in overalls that were dirty. My bias (unconscious at the time), was that they could not have money to invest in art. I made them wait and showed them the paintings last and thought it was ridiculous the number of paintings they wanted to see (another bias!). Within a few minutes, they apologized to me for coming in late and told me they owned 6 Burger Kings in the area and had been working all day to remodel them and wanted to buy ALL the art to decorate the stores.  That is an example I have never forgotten.  If you asked me if I was biased about the way people dress and my sales expectations I would have said I didn’t have any.  This woke me up and I became more conscious because of my own bias because of this experience.

My Solution

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I decided to get some unconscious bias training and I realized I need to open myself up to see where I had any bias.  It was an eye-opening experience. I did not want to go through my life with the damaging effects of being biased unconsciously.  I wanted to be fully alert and aware and to accept diversity and to hold a lot of respect for every human being.
My intention in sharing my very personal and humbling story and in writing this article is to encourage you to also wake up and become more conscious and present.  I want for you to accept that you have unconscious bias programs that run your brain and that is human and at the same time test your hidden biases and then do something about them.
I recommend you take it and would love for you to be brave enough to share your results by commenting on this post or joining our Facebook Group where we discuss topics like this.