Last Friday I attended the Equality Leadership Colloquium hosted by the Equality Research Center at Eastern Michigan University. It was a great day of speakers and discussions, but I found one of the most impactful points was made by TJ Jourian, our closing speaker. In his talk he stated;”‘Do you fit?’ does not challenge the status quo”. Now ponder this phrase for a second .
How often does the phrase “do you/I/we fit” run across our minds in our jobs or even personal lives? How often do we advise our students and each other about making sure something is a good fit? There are times when we must take this sage advice. But what if all we do this continually ensure that we fit in then how are we challenging the status quo? How are we being change makers if we only ensure that we “fit in”? How are we challenging and growing ourselves?
We tell our students to step outside of the box and to challenge themselves. We encourage change and new ideas but does our advice support our encouragement? Are we providing advice to our students that promotes them challenging the status quo, being leaders who are change agents and actually stepping out side of their boxes?
I know I’m at fault for telling my students and even myself to; challenge and make change; to be a brave leader and forward thinker, but then give the advice/excuse of “but if it doesn’t fit, then don’t do it”, or “your environment should be comfortable and fit”. If we really want to challenge and be change agents then where we work or volunteer can’t always be comfortable or fit.
I think that this one statement has really helped me understand my journey these past few years and even in my current role. Being uncomfortable or not completely ‘fitting’ allows an inner strength to come out to really challenge yourself and your environment. When an individual or environment is challenged then lasting progress can really begin.
So, are you too comfortable? Do you fit in too well? Is it time for some uncomfortable environments? Are you ready to really be able to challenge the status quo?
Embrace the uncomfortable!
Embrace not fitting in!
Until next time
Peace, Love and Pandas!