I attended a training yesterday that wasn’t really a training, actually. It was a drama troupe that put on a great production surrounding many issues we all face – whether it be personally or professionally. It was a work event, so a lot of the content fit the workplace – such as diversity and inclusion, sexual harassment and communication.
I read once that most work challenges are because of people. People are messy. We all are. We all come from our own place and see the world and others from our own perspective. Because we don’t always know what’s someone has been through or where they are from, it is difficult to assume what their perspective is and even more difficult to understand it without the background information.
I am writing about this because the exercise we did at the end of the production really impacted me. They had us all write a short “I am From” poem. In highs school I remember writing a similar poem, which was called “This is me. I am.” I loved that poem, too. Why? Because they help me put into words my own story and realize where I am at in my journey. Do I still have guilt associated with some things? What has impacted me so profoundly that it makes the poem? If you dig deep, even your own eyes are opened by the content.
I dug deep, because that is usually what I do. I could’ve kept it very surface level but it wouldn’t have been authentic. I knew that if I had to share it, tears were going to flow, but I decided not to hold back, even though I am newer employee and not everyone knows me very well at all yet.
So, here is my current I am From:
- I am from God, the mile wide city (Denver, Iowa), middle child, middle class, self-employed family, shamrock baby
- I am from the end of the alphabet and being last in line
- I am from an eating disorder starting in 3rd grade that never really goes away, even if outwardly I am controlling it
- I am from family and authentic relationships that are trusting and close and make me laugh until my stomach hurts
- I am from having my own baby way before I was ready in the mile high city
- I am from a 10+ year roller coaster of pain that led to a divorce that my deep rooted faith and values never wanted to allow me to have
- I am from guilt for my kids’ lives being a single mom, living in a run-down duplex
- I am from a whole lot of faith, hope for the future and full of grace for others
- I am from trying to please others too much sometimes
- I am from fairy tale visions of romantic comedies and being swept off my feet
- I am from Hawkeye Heaven and shop til you drop
- I am from jumping to conclusions like a boss
- I am from pizza and diet coke for every meal
- I am from dreams, goals, determination and hard work to accomplish what I seek to achieve
- I am from stubbornness and impatience of wanting to know everything…and taking control whenever I can
- I am from not knowing the answer when it comes to parenting and just trying to do the best I can every day
- I am from my imperfections, my experiences, my tendencies…and always always always my children’s hearts
What is your I am From? Understanding where others come from is such a big step in tackling the biggest distance that usually exists between two people: misunderstanding. The most effective communicators meet someone where they are and where they come from, not the other way around. Share your story with others. You never know who’s life you might touch.