“Motivation comes from working on things we care about.”
What do my foot operation and the protests that are happening over the past few weeks in the US have in common?
(Before I continue, I want to make it clear that this in no way (at all) suggests that whatever has been ailing my foot can in any way be compared with the violence and unfairness that minorities have endured for centuries. It cannot, it never will – and I have too much respect for all people as equals to even suggest anything otherwise.)
The similarities I see between such seemingly disparate situations as my foot and ongoing protests are:
- Both are very present in my mind and life right now.
- Both involve addressing something that really matters.
What do I mean here?
Pain as a Necessary Passageway to Growth
Well, for one, my foot has been painful to me for a couple of years now. This is somewhat of a big deal given how (in non-Covid times) I often travel and how much of my facilitation work is spent on my feet.
Yet my doctor cautioned against panicking and said I had plenty of time to get the surgery he was recommending. Meanwhile, it continued to hurt – not only when I walked on it, but also when lying around. The discomfort had gradually become a constant issue in my life.
But, finally, last week, I did do something about it. I had that operation. Now I am in a painful recuperation period. But this pain is for a good cause because it is a necessary passageway to feeling better than I did before. Rather than continuing to suffer, I am taking a strong step toward self-care, toward making my experience of life better. This, in turn, will allow me to bring my best self into everything that I do, to serve others in stronger, more impactful ways.
Taking a Stand to Start the Healing Process
On a far more serious and wide-reaching scale, there is the unjustifiable racism which has plagued minorities for seemingly ever. Some or all of it we all have probably participated in – even without realizing it, perhaps on an unconscious level. Somewhere along the way, I too must have been guilty of racist beliefs and behaviors, as much as I am ashamed to realize it. It’s painful.
All of that pain that so many people have endured for centuries has finally cumulated into what we’re seeing now. People are taking a stand (getting an operation) for fairer treatment of African Americans and others who have been mistreated for far too long.
This uniting across the world to take a stand is one way of metaphorically getting our mindsets operated on in order to heal the deep wounds of social injustice. We haven’t reached this point quickly – or easily. There has been a lot of pain and suffering along the way.
And now, many signs are pointing to a tipping point with new laws concerning police, the opening up of previously closed cases and the actual kneeling in honor of a man beaten to death by those who held authority positions.
Our Universe is Calling Us to Change
It seems that for both what is going on with my foot and the recent events in the US, we have finally woken up to what has been needed to be addressed for a long time. We are no longer pretending the pain and the suffering is not there. We are finally doing something about it.
And how many of us turn into ostriches when it comes to really taking care of important things?
Do we have those courageous conversations when we really need to (when the kitchen faucet just begins to drip) or do we wait until a full-blown crisis (when the drip has turned into a flood all over the kitchen floor)?
Do we say what we mean and mean what we say – or do we continue saying what we think other people want to hear so they will like us (and, in return, we end up disliking ourselves more and more)?
Or how about those of us who are engaged in compulsive behaviors that we are not proud of and which threaten our mental and physical health? For how long will we keep abandoning ourselves?
This is Our Collective Moment for Change
The time is NOW to do something about it. We cannot afford to wait for another crisis, or for some undetermined point in the future in hopes that “someday maybe things might change.” And we can’t take the easy way out and say that someone else will lead change.
We can come together to use all the best tools we have to get where we need to go. Right now, in this very moment, we have the opportunity to redefine our future.
We deserve to move beyond our pain. And the world needs us, too.
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Colleen Slaughter, Proud Executive Coach to the UN World Food Program, the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Winner
As the Managing Partner of Authentic Leadership International (ALI) & a Women’s Leadership Coach, my highest intention in the business realm is to help women in positions of high influence to understand their worth at a profound level.
Supporting women leaders to truly thrive and step into their greatness, while succeeding in male-dominated industries and spaces is my native genius.
My technique and approach show you how to achieve incredible career success without compromising any part of who you are and what makes you magnificent.
Recently, my perspectives were featured in an article on the International Coach Federation’s website here.