Last year I had a very special opportunity to spend a little time doing mock interviews with some individuals who had recently come to the United States due to very difficult circumstances in their home country. Sponsored for a period of time by a non-profit organization and a number of loving souls who helped them settle into the US, they began a difficult journey to seek permanent employment and make their way in our country. Some knew little to none of our language. Some had never been in a city as big as Chicago before. Many had entire families here; many mouths to feed. All were courageous and bold and heroes in my eyes. All were determined to master and learn all of the skills required to succeed in this journey.
I have to say that this day I volunteered was incredibly moving and as the saying goes I received more personally (by being part of this experience) than I was able to give. The fierceness of the human spirit to overcome adversity and rise above circumstance was fiercer in the spirit of these brave individuals than in any other human beings I’ve ever met. Each one of the individuals I met with was seeking to pursue career opportunities and I was honored to spend just a tiny bit of time lending them coaching support and advice as a HR practitioner.
The ripple effect of this one short afternoon has been pretty impactful in my life. Each time I launch a training initiative in a corporate setting as part of my occupation, and often when I set out to read and write for my own university studies, I think about how simple my personal training and development experience has been compared to the obstacles these heroes I met have faced. If you would like to read a few inspiring stories, check out this website http://www.refugeeone.org/stories.html. You will see quickly why these are stories of heroes.
I thank all the heroes of the world who have faced adversity and stood their ground, who have stepped up to meet brilliant challenges, who make learning and growing a part of their life calling, and who inspire us with their stories of overcoming.