When the pandemic first hit, my 8-year-old daughter said, “The solution is simple. We just need global cooperation for everyone to stay home one month and the virus will have no hosts and it will simply die.” However, she also predicted people wouldn’t do this and the virus would last a long time until every person has a moment of growth and personal realization that changes their lives.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had more than one personal realization over the last year!

Alice Walker: The discomfort of growth

Recently, I came across this quote on the discomfort of growth from Alice Walker and thought you’d be interested in it, too:

“Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger than we were before.

Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant.

But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be... for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed."

~ Alice Walker, Living By the Word

Are you growing as a leader?

Intercultural competency is a skill that takes time to develop. As a leader aiming to facilitate change, what have been your areas of growth over this year?

  • Where are you on this journey?
  • Are you feeling the weight of the earth prior?
  • Are you in the midst of the great unknown?
  • Or has a new aspect of you begun to be revealed?

It is hard at the best of times to facilitate change. When we are going through changes at the same time as supporting others in their change processes—and sometimes whole teams and communities—the strain can take its toll.

Here is some advice from Musqueam elder, Larry Grant, on how to engage in self-exploration as we ride out and through our current threshold in time:

Pause with purpose

Would you like to pause with other leaders like you for a bit of respite and rejuvenation?

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About the Author

Jessie Sutherland

An international speaker, trainer, and consultant, Jessie Sutherland works with organizations and communities to engage diversity, build belonging and ignite intercultural collaboration. Her approach creates sustainable community change that effectively addresses a wide range of complex social problems.

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