Are you familiar with the movie Shrek, when he told the donkey he was like an onion? And Donkey looked like that’s an awful comparison. Well I believe we are all like an onion, where we are made up of multiple layers that defines who we are, however we mostly show the outer layer. You know that image you display on your social media, the face in your selfies, those are just your surface images. People very seldom show what’s beneath that layer, just like peeling an onion you will expose the stinky stuff that can be too much to handle that tends to make you cry. And so we stay sealed up, showing only what’s we believe is the best of us. But I have never cooked with the outer layer of an onion, that is just used for protection, but I peel it and use what’s inside. Same for us, as those who are in a position of influence, your outer appearance protects the difficult stuff we had to deal with in our life, however we need to peel back the layers, exposing who we are, because that’s what we need to make a connection and an impact.
My inner layer story: At the age of 17, my brother was murdered in the middle of a crowd who have remained silent even until this day, making my brother’s murder a 20-year-old cold case file. But it was two years later that I was in the position to use my place of pain, or that stinking layer of my onion. My best friend called me to tell me her brother was just murdered. I rushed to her side and I tried to remember what I was told that encouraged me, so that I could extend that encouragement to her. See I learned something that day, it wasn’t any special script of sympathy, but when you are speaking to someone in their place of brokenness it gives them comfort to know you can identify with the place they are in. The most powerful two words you can say to encourage someone is ME TOO.
We can’t be afraid to be transparent, it’s in our transparency that others can relate to, remember they just want to hear the words, me too. Challenge Detroit has adopted the Me Too initiative with the buddy system, having access to someone who has completed their Challenge is so critical for the current fellows. I had a great time with my buddy Tia at Always Brewing Detroit, where I listened to her “me too” story how she juggled her priorities during her fellowship and I could relate on so many levels. It gave me encouragement and motivation to continue the Challenge even when at times it’s challenging. That’s the power of the “Me Too” story!