Lesson 16: Lifting Each Other Up When You Feel Like The Only One

What a week.

The news of the Iranian takedown of the Ukraine International Airlines Flight, and the deaths of 176 passengers and crew onboard really affected me. Fifty-seven Canadians were killed that day, and I was deeply saddened as I watched friends and acquaintances mourn the people they loved.

If you’re called to contribute to support the families of those lost, check out the Canada Strong fundraiser created by Paramount Fine Foods President, Mohamad Fakih.

I have a passion for many things, politics and current affairs included. Self-development and helping others elevate in life can only be done if we understand the macro and micro issues at play in our communities and in society at large.

We can often feel inundated with ‘bad news’, and feel the need to turn away and ignore. To focus on the things that make us comfortable instead of uncomfortable. That’s okay -- I often do the same. It’s important to recognize, however, that being able to choose ‘comfort’ is an immense privilege. When something hits close to home like the events in Iran, it reminds me of what matters most, and how important it is to stay informed and connected to the world at large.

I will always use this space as a place to share about how I feel about what’s happening in our world, and I appreciate that you allow me into your inbox to do so.

Now, onto this week’s episode.

I just returned from Florida on Tuesday night, and in this week’s episode of the show, I reflect on my experience being the ‘only’/’few’ women of colour at a personal development conference in Fort Myers, Florida.

When I arrived at the RISE conference hosted by Rachel Hollis, I quickly realized that, ‘one of these things is not like the others’. In the crowd of 4,000 at this women’s event, I was one of a few dozen women of colour. I didn’t expect to feel so alone, and in that first moment, so scared of that reality. With politics of the day in mind, and the reality of the voter make-up of the county I was in (Lee County voted 58% in favour of Donald Trump), my nerves kicked in. It was involuntary in a lot of ways, and more instinctual than I realized. My rational brain kicked in quickly (I grew up in a very conservative area of Canada and many of my friends are from ‘across the aisle’, I know better than to make vast generalizations), but that isolation was something I wanted to dig into more and share about on the show.

What ensued was a confusing, strange, funny, wonderful and very fruitful weekend. I shared my conference experience on my Instagram stories with all of you. What also ensued was a very important dialogue about our collective experiences being the 'only'/'few' in professional, academic, and wellness environments. Thank you to each of you who shared your stories. I felt so much less alone once I was able to be in community with all of you.

Tune into this week’s episode to hear about my time at RISE, what unfolded when I wrote a letter to the CEO, and how a lunch with my friend Karina Leblanc, a former Olympian, helped shift my mindset about the experience and find gratitude for being one of the ‘few’. 

As always, if this episode resonates for you, let me know in the comments on Instagram. If you know a friend who needs to hear the message of today’s show, send this episode their way.

What I realized through this experience is that sharing our story has the potential to dissolve our loneliness and isolation. I may not have stuck through the conference without each of you, so I’m sharing my experience with the hope that it might help someone else in a similar situation. You are not alone.

Until next time,