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STRADDLING – Cultures, Identities, Roles and more

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by Columnist Michele Davenport

Recently I had a conversation with an American client who recounted her experience of family travel to her ancestral homeland – West Africa.  For this CULTURS magazine issue dedicated to families, the story seemed fitting. “

Mommy, can we come back here?  This was so much fun,”  her four-year-old daughter asked when they returned home to northern California.  Three generations of family had spent a couple of weeks together celebrating the completion of her parent’s retirement home in Ghana, which they envisioned being a place where their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren would come home to.

In some instances this trip included meeting relatives for the first time and others, getting re-acquainted with cousins they hadn’t seen in a while.  What Effia was struck by was this notion of straddling… A few days after returning to work, Effia was confronted with a decision – to continue to excel in the compliance area of her role as a lawyer for a company in Silicon Valley (the epicenter of technology and innovation) or pivot to spend more time going deeper into an alternative role. She checked in with herself and her values to come up with the answer. She felt she had spent the last couple of years straddling the two roles, which wasn’t unfamiliar to her given how much of her life and career had been spent straddling cultures, roles, identities and more. How and when do you come home to yourself?

Effia’s story is not unlike many of our own. What are you straddling, and how is it impacting you? For many of us we spend a considerable amount of our lives this way:

Straddling cultures:

In our global society, folks are often “sitting” in meetings from opposite ends of the world, and technology allows us to connect with, contribute to and learn from other cultures.  This is such a gift.

Straddling nationalities:

All of us come from somewhere, and our present-day lives represent a confluence of that place and the place we call “home” today. Our lives become mosaics of all of these elements – our happiness, health and success is often determined by how we put these pieces together to create the whole…

Straddling identities:

where do the personal and professional personae intersect? If you’d love to show up as your whole self in any one of your worlds, consider exploring your values then get curious about how to move through the world more aligned with what you value. Consider this – we all just want to be connected, in relationship with others in the most basic way. If you straddle just to survive, how about celebrating the straddle as an opening to thrive? What opportunities for growth are presented by showing up in more than one space?

Here are three tips to turn you towards the whole you and how you can lean into “the straddle:”

1.     Tune Into Your Values – consider a peak moment in time, what was happening, who were you with and what made it a peak moment.

2.     Identify Your Crew – who sits on your personal Board of Directors? Those who can remind you of your north star, driving principles and who want the best for you?

3.     Allow – allow space for whatever you are struck by.  What activates your senses? When this happens, get curious then decide what to do with what emerged. What does it take for you to assemble all the pieces to create the whole you? What makes your mosaic interesting? How do the pieces fit together?

The answers to these questions will be a gentle way to honor yourself, honor your family and to have a life you love. For more honorins self, visit ww.culturs.org/ www.mosaic-cs.com . How do the pieces fit together? The answers to these questions will be a gentle way to honor yourself, honor your family and to have a life you love.

The answers to these questions will be a gentle way to honor yourself, honor your family and to have a life you love.

For more on how to live your best life visit my website at www.mosaic-cs.com

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