How do you tell a refugee from Afghanistan that her biggest challenge has nothing to do with her her circumstances but is entirely internal? How can you tell someone that has witnessed untold hardships, someone that has left everything behind …. that it’s the resolution of inner conflicts that will ultimately determine their fate?
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm currently volunteering in a refugee center in northern Greece
teaching concepts from my Personal Branding curriculum to refugees in order to build professional credentials and profiles on leading job search engines.
Personal Branding is about authentically shaping your personal narrative and ultimately your truth. The focus of my work is to get people to see that they have a choice in how they view their past, present and future circumstances. The key is to separate facts from opinions in order to get to truth, and acknowledge that the narrative in your head is simply a story you have created and that there are alternative narratives possible based on those same facts.
Successful Personal Branding is about embracing setbacks and transforming tragedy into triumph. In order for that to happen in an authentic way, our inner monologue needs to change. For the people I work with, an inner monologue often dominated by thoughts of victimization and helplessness must transform into one that is defined by inspiration and hope so that growth and transformation can take place.
The first step in achieving this is recognizing the choice we all have in how we view our past experience. I point out to all refugees that they are “supermen and superwomen”. Because they have overcome challenges that I cannot even fathom, I can look them in the eye with the admiration and respect they deserve. I can say with utmost certainty that nothing I have achieved in my life can compare to the the triumphs they have achieved in their lives that has enabled them to be sitting across the table from me.
I see heads nodding at the table. Thus begins the first step in re-shaping one’s narrative, in embracing the opportunity in the moment, and moving forward towards a more positive future.
Your truth is the narrative you authentically embrace - and the choice of narrative is yours.