Last Monday, I celebrated my 47th birthday. As the day approached, I thought of all that has gone right for me over the past year. I intended to write a post about how I pushed myself to grow and how that has shown up in my business, my relationships and my life overall. I planned to share my wins. And I wanted to share where I still feel some weakness or reactivity as a woman and as a leader.
And this post would have been all about me.
But then violence broke across the US with shootings in Orlando, Dallas and Baton Rouge. The US continues to teeter in a precarious political situation. The UK has been plunged into uncertainty with the BREXIT leave vote. And over 80 people were killed in France while celebrating Bastille Day. These and countless other tragedies play out in our world daily.
My daughter and I took a road trip to Montreal as soon as school let out in June. At every stop, we were spoiled by our Quebec friends. Friends treated us to a day at La Ronde: equal parts fun + nausea. Armed with hats, sunscreen, water and snacks, we waited in a long line to get in.
We discussed current events as we waited our turn for the roller coaster, surrounded by over-excited and impatient children. My mind wandered to the incomprehensible feelings of a scared parent in a war-torn country to wait for food, information or a chance at safety. Meanwhile, I was feeling hot and bothered in a line for amusement rides.
My planned post became impossible to write.
As I wrote previously, our lenses dictate our reality. After falling silent these past weeks, partially due to a fear of mis-stepping, I finally found a way to write about something meaningful and timely. This quote by Jamila Woods (@duhmilo) refers to #BlackLivesMatter. It’s a wake-up call to the leader in all of us:
I think white people who want to take positive action should start to asset map. Rather than being frozen in guilt and focusing on what you ‘can’t do’ or how daunting actions may seem, think of all the skills you have and all the communities and spaces you have access to. How can you use your assets to create real impact for black liberation?
When I map my own assets, I realize:
- I have access to influential leaders;
- I am trained to ask tough questions and help shift perspectives;
- I can offer a safe space for leaders to process what is going on in the world;
- I can help leaders create their own asset maps;
- I can have the guts to name the biases and blind spots I notice that block this world from getting healthier.
As it turns out, my biggest growing edge is learning to say what needs to be said versus ‘going along to get along’.
And that, I believe, is growth worth writing about.