I’ve listened to many keynote speakers, presenters and panelists talk about the importance of resiliency over the years for Blacks, other people of color, poor people and women. What I’ve yet to hear is a speaker getting real about resilience: the tools they used, the situations they faced and who/what helped them along the way. Hearing a soundbite or resume recant isn’t enough for me.
What do I mean? I want these people who embody resilience to share:
- What they did to survive the trials and tribulations they went through
- The roadblocks they encountered and how they got pass them
- Specific examples of when they stumbled, fell or failed and got back up
- Who helped them
- Who didn’t help them.
- What they did when people and organizations didn’t help them or tried to block them.
Instead, the speakers I have heard stay strictly rah-rah (motivational) . They share but do not show.
“It’s got to be real” to quote singer Cheryl Lynn of the song by the same name.
- How did you handle the taunts and teasing when you wore hand-me-down clothes clearly too big or too small from you?
- How did you pay for your college texts when you found out your scholarship didn’t cover books (and your family had no money to help you)?
- How did you raise 5 children (2 girls, 3 boys) in the middle of the a violent neighborhood who all graduated from college?
- How did you keep walking to and from the bus stop after those kids jacked you up?
- How did you juggle working two jobs while going to school full-time?
- What did you do when you felt you were over your head in class or in a job?
- How did you handle being the oldest of 3, 5, or 13?
- How did you work through fear of the unknown?
- How did you handle being the only or one of a very few Black students, team members, employees, or board members?
- When have you spoken out?
- When have you stayed silent?
- Do you have criteria for when you do which of these things?
- Have you hand mentors?
- Did they actively mentor you or did you check them out on the QT and follow them?
Please give specifics. It’s got to be real.
- Do you think the challenges that you faced strengthened you? Have you ever felt deflated by having to be resilient?
- Did everyone who started with you on your journey (siblings,friends, family, and neighbors) make it as well?
- Did luck or serendipity have a hand in your resiliency?
- How have you stayed the course?
- What didn’t you get despite your best efforts?
- How did you move on from this disappointment/ failure?
but please, break it down so someone else can learn.