Today we’d like to introduce you to Lambers Fisher, LMFT, MDiv.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
When my parents divorced during my childhood, I made a commitment to finding as many marriage relationships as possible to emulate in hopes of having a happy and lasting marriage relationship of my own. Although, I didn’t find nearly as many intact marriages as I had hoped, I eventually discovered the field of marriage and family therapy which offered to teach me what I needed to know, in exchange for my helping others learn how to maintain healthy relationships as well.
Fast forward to today and I am not only happily married to my wife of 20 years, but I have had the pleasure of supporting others as a marriage and family therapist for over 20 years, helping people learn how to be their best individually and see the best in their partner and family, even in the midst of common and uncommon life stresses and challenges.
One unexpected benefit of my therapeutic efforts over the years has been that I have had the opportunity to be welcomed into the personal lives of individuals, couples, and families from a variety of cultural backgrounds. As a result, I have seen how many of the same skills and lessons that have helped spouses overcome difficulties based on relational misunderstandings, have also been helpful outside of the home, helping people overcome difficulties and misunderstandings based on cultural differences. This realization has provided me a unique perspective in efforts to increase multicultural awareness and improve cross-cultural interactions.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
Despite my sincere desire to help, many professionals have expressed extreme caution, aversion, and negativity toward my efforts to strengthen relationships through multicultural awareness and diversity training. This most often precedes their even receiving my efforts specifically, and instead is often a response to past negative experiences with diversity speakers and trainings in the workplace. Many have confided in me that they have an instant negative reaction to anything that sounds like diversity training because it is often either a boring and useless experience (that has no relevance to their daily lives), impersonal (focused more on policies and procedures than the people impacted by them), or negative and blaming (judging anyone who doesn’t already know what is being shared or who needs help understanding or incorporating healthy change in their lives).
As a therapist, I can see the validity in their aversions; for who would want to voluntarily repeat negative experiences like those. That is why I also love pleasantly surprising helping professionals with positive, practical, and immediately applicable tips and strategies, all while making them feel empowered rather than judged or shamed. It gives me hope to see professionals reluctantly attend one of my trainings (even if mandated of their employer) and leave feeling grateful that they came and looking forward to the opportunity to do it again – not for my sake, but because results like this increases the likelihood that it can have a meaningful impact on them personally, as well as everyone whom they serve professionally.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
First and foremost, I am a marriage and family therapist. I love being able to help couples find hope in strengthening their relationships with those for whom they care most. However, over time I discovered that many people didn’t feel comfortable seeking therapeutic support because they didn’t believe that a therapist could truly accept them if they differed from them culturally. Not only that but many therapists didn’t feel confident in their own cultural competence either. Utilizing relationship-strengthening skills and lessons learned in marriage counseling, I created the Diversity Made Simple multicultural awareness and diversity training program to empower helping professionals through increased cultural self-awareness, and strategies for learning how to help their clients feel seen, heard and understood no matter their cultural similarities or differences.
Interestingly, as word spread about how unique, practical, and affirming the training was, professionals in non-mental health fields began attending these trainings as well, expressing that while the insights shared originated from a therapeutic environment, they are immensely practical and focus on enhancing relationships between people no matter their environment. To date, Diversity Made Simple has equipped principals and their teachers, community and faith leaders and their volunteers, as well as leaders in Fortune 500 companies and the various business professionals whom they lead. Consistently feedback reflects that professionals feel not only informed, but also equipped with tools they could employ immediately to help them reduce the likelihood of cultural offenses as well as strengthen cross-cultural relationships with colleagues and clients alike.
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
My best piece of advice for those who desire to find success is to invest time in identifying their personal strengths, including both their passions and their abilities. When someone finds the thing that they do slightly or significantly better (or simply differently) than those around them, or they feel more passionately about it than others, then this may be the beginning of finding a niche that they can cultivate to be able to offer a service that meets an unmet need. Success comes from the effort put into finding a way to meet previously unmet needs.
Personally, I acknowledge that there are many other qualified professional speakers who offer diversity trainings – each of whom bring a unique combination of education and experiences to their efforts. On the surface, this would mean that there would be no need to me to add my name to that list. However, my success has come not only from my having my own set of unique educational training and life experiences, but also how positively and passionately I speak about a topic that many are accustomed to being boring and judging. Not only that, but attendees leave feeling affirmed and encouraged, and with practical takeaways on which they can continue to build over time – both personally and professionally.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
To me, success means identifying and accomplishing short-term goals that contribute to larger long-term goals, which benefit not only a person individually, but also which has a positive impact on many others over time.
What’s next for you?
I have been pleasantly surprised by how many new helping professionals have expressed a genuine desire to not just do their job, but to do it in a way that creates and nurtures healthy interactions and potentially mutually beneficial personal and professional relationships along the way. Since its origin, Diversity Made Simple has empowered and equipped over 20,000 professionals in various workplace environments around the country and beyond. As long as cultural differences continue to be a barrier to that goal, then I will continue my efforts to bring my positive and shame-free Diversity Made Simple multicultural awareness and diversity training program to as many helping professionals as possible.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?
Anyone who is interested in learning more about me or my Diversity Made Simple training program can find out more at www.DiversityMadeSimple.com. There you can also find out more about The Diversity Dude podcast where I share positive and practical perspectives on often-difficult diversity topics on a weekly basis. Professionals can also obtain my new award-winning book, “Diversity in Clinical Practice: A Practical & Shame-Free Guide to Reducing Cultural Offenses & Repairing Cross-Cultural Relationships” (Available in paper and audiobook formats) which offers many of the Diversity Made Simple principles and strategies on the go.