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  • Michelle Kemp

The Checklist Syndrome!


As a child, I distinctly recall singing a double-dutch song with pride in playgrounds stating, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage”. I remember, too, watching ‘A Different World' to understand the life of college students at an HBCU as a pathway to promising careers and social status.


Interestingly enough, these songs and shows left an impression on what happiness and success looked like, and influenced a mental “checklist” that would validate perceived value in my life. Case in point, I attended an HBCU, joined a sorority and professional fellowship, have a successful career, became a homeowner, got married, had a dog and then my son. Yet I found myself at an interesting point of self-discovery. Though these experiences brought both joy and challenges, I realized I was so caught up in social norms of achieving these experiences on the “checklist” to feel validated, that I could not see my true value beyond this “list” nor could I identify what brought me happiness.


From this discovery, I shifted priorities and my outlook on life through unconventional ways that has allowed me to be 100% myself. Though I am still a work in progress, I’ve learned that strictly adhering to socio-cultural norms and conformity are not the pathway to authentic success if you cannot be yourself.


This life lesson has inspired how MK Consulting Group assesses “value” when it comes to hiring diverse and talented individuals and creating expansive work cultures for organizations to succeed. We understand the “why” behind the “checklist”, but we also know when and how to challenge perceived value that is influenced by criteria, comfort, and bias. We help organizations to see and accept individual differences by addressing limiting beliefs we’ve all learned and practiced, and focusing on collective power.


It's time to step beyond the checklist and create an inclusive work culture.

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