I recently had the privilege of having a great conversation with Mandy Antoniacci, one of Gravity Speakers exclusive speakers. Born from her simple philosophy of “looking up” she is the founder and CEO of upps™ (currently in beta), which will become the first ever tech company designed to co-create global unity by lifting people up through anonymous, positive actions. Powered by the social movement, Live Life Upp™, (and lifestyle brand launching this fall), Mandy inspires people to look up and see and participate in the here and now by discovering the unexpected wonder in the world. She is also an angel investor, advisor, and speaker. Before our conversation, I got to watch her very compelling TEDx talk on “looking up” and I appreciated the powerful observations she made that provided simple actions anyone could do to create positive change in others.
The Blindness of Busyness
The world moves so fast nobody even noticed me. Growth, technology, business, sports, entertainment, family, we are surrounded by more demands for our attention than ever before. The world is changing at a high velocity while the population continues to grow, creating a world that moves so fast, many things are left behind. The byproduct of all this is individuals can now become invisible while being surrounded by people. In her talks, Mandy points to multiple segments of society that often feel they are there but unseen.
It isn’t just businesses that are having a hard time getting people’s attention. Individuals are struggling to be heard, to be included, and have a voice in almost every area of life. As Mandy points out in her exercise to “look up” and make eye contact with someone, a simple 5-second act can change how people feel, how you can help people feel like, “at least one person sees me”. For many people, that one simple act can be life-changing and give them the hope they need to continue or the inspiration to be amazing.
The Shortest Distance to Inclusion
Inclusion isn’t about classes of people, it’s about being included. The topic of inclusion is very popular in business today, but it doesn’t have to start with organizations. It can start with individuals, and in organizations and society, it is the individuals who create real change. As Mandy points out, just the act of making eye contact lets someone know, “I see you”. This can create inclusion in a group, a setting, or any place at any level. The shortest distance to inclusion is recognition. Once we recognize people and their contribution, we empower them to contribute.
The Inspiration of Inclusion
When even the smallest of voices is heard, everyone is inspired. Inclusion doesn’t just give to those who may not have a voice, it gives to the whole. One of the key benefits of inclusion is the fuel of inspiration. We hear of countless inspiring stories about pioneers achieving in a multitude of capacities. And most pioneers are created from the fact that either these individuals or groups were at one time excluded or disallowed from doing something, or they had not yet been inspired to try. When we see examples who reflect our individual culture, belief, or background, we are more likely to become inspired by our own potential.
New voices lead to new conversations. Fresh ideas are the foundation of innovation and change. Mandy takes us to the core of change in a world where change is the new norm. Diversity is a great first stop, but inclusion is the goal beyond diversity. When every voice is heard, diversity yields great fruit. Innovation and adaptability create resilient cultures where everyone benefits.
Keeping Up With Human Potential
The world is growing at a fast pace, human potential must keep up. As an athlete growing up playing softball, Mandy learned the power of the “changeup pitch”. Pitchers would try and throw off the best batters by throwing a “changeup”. Life is now throwing constant “changeups” at society in every area of our lives. This disruption can easily be seen in the business world, as well as, with major companies being put out of business almost overnight.
How can people keep up with technology and change at this fast pace? The answer is awareness and adaptation. We don’t know what is coming next but we know it may not be what we expect. Diversity and inclusion are the ingredients of inspiration and innovation and Mandy is helping organizations and individuals understand they can make a difference. If we all want to keep pace with the changing world, we need everyone. If you get the chance to hear Mandy Antoniacci’s story or have her speak at your event, you will also be inspired at the power we all have to create positive change in others and the world. We are proud to have her as an exclusive speaker with Gravity Speakers.