A Full Confession: It Took Me 26 Years to Realize I am Awesome

One part of being healthy is being healthy of mind. I know that sounds incredibly corny, but think about it. There are lots of people around the world who are fit, in shape, or however you want to look at it, but are not healthy of mind.  The statistics speak for themselves:

  • Eating Disorders affect up to 24 million Americans and 70 million individuals worldwide.
  • At least 50,000 individuals will die as a direct result of an eating disorder.

Being on the get-healthy journey has been great for me because I’ve been able to set goals for myself, have a place to outlet my frustrations and also have a place to celebrate my successes. Now, this isn’t meant to be a post regarding eating disorders. It’s just to get you and even myself thinking. Our minds, and what we see of ourselves in the mirror is not always the true reflection of what is going on inside your head, or your heart.

Allow me to reverse a few years back. I started at my current company straight out of college on a temporary basis and then was hired on full time. While I loved the company I worked for, I was just another drop in the bag as far as they are concerned. I didn’t have any value-add from their perspective, so I came to work everyday, did what I needed to do and went home.

In late, 2009, I was asked to be part of their Inclusion journey. So, what is Inclusion?

A sense of belonging. A feeling of being respected, valued and seen for who we are as individuals; there is a level of supportive energy and commitment from leaders, colleagues and others so that we — individually and collectively — can do our best work. – As defined by the Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group

Seems simple enough, right? Well, a group across the organization – 28 of us, went through this Inclusion Journey. We talked about the “tough stuff” that has happened within the organization. No company is perfect, right? So, we had three, three-day sessions of training. Or, 9 days, plus life as we liked to call it. The beauty of it was that this training made me look inwardly to think about what I could do within my current work groups to begin to be the change I wanted to see happen. (Have you seen the connection yet?) So I walk into this training, thinking I have literally NOTHING of value to add, why was I chosen to do this, etc. Turns out those who were chose to be included in this journey are those who are seen as change agents, leaders in the organization and so forth. So now I’m at this training going, “Say what?”

Now, fast forward. I have now completed my nine days of training and I had the opportunity to present on my journey with two others at the Global HR Staff Meeting. This was an excellent opportunity for two reasons:

  • This journey was important to me and I wanted to be able to share my learnings.
  • I hate speaking in groups of people, so why not the GLOBAL staff meeting?

So, the night before, I am in bed, cold sweats and all thinking about this. I’d had a conversation with the SVP of HR that day and I knew I had his support, but holy bananas was I ever scared! So, the next day, my three coworkers who were all involved in this training, two of us in person, one person on the phone gave this presentation. We arrived to the part of the presentation of “Inclusion is important to me because…”

And when it was my turn, I said, “When I started on this journey, I truly believed I did not bring any value to the organization. And now, I realize the importance of Inclusion, because it made me realize that, actually, I’m pretty awesome.” and I paused, and the room filled with applause. I did everything I could to hold back my tears at that point and continued on through the end of the presentation. And I felt good. Still, this week, two weeks later, as I am running into people, I am having conversations with folks who were blown away at my ability to speak in front of people and be open, honest and touch people’s hearts. It was brought to my attention that my story pulled at heart strings and caused tears.

So here’s the deal. Being healthy: Outwards appearance, obviously important. We need to be healthy and in shape because we want to live long, full lives and not cut ourselves short. But also important: being healthy of mind. Don’t sell yourself short because I almost did.

Thanks to The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness for the statistics on eating disorders.

3 thoughts on “A Full Confession: It Took Me 26 Years to Realize I am Awesome

  1. SO GLAD you came to the conclusion about your awesomeness! You DO rock!!! I’m so proud of you, and so excited to see you again!!! 🙂

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