Space for the Unfamiliar

Photo by Jonathan Borba on

What if it wasn’t wrong, it was just unfamiliar?

In life, we are given a set of experiences. To develop empathy and an awareness of what other people’s experiences are like, we have to find ways to connect with people who live and think differently than we do. This sounds easy to do in theory, but learning requires being intentional about the people and resources we surround ourselves. Books and podcasts have become a few of the ways I have expanded my thinking and made space for the unfamiliar.  

A Shared Perspective is a Good Thing, but not the Path to Growth.

It is awesome when you find someone who shares a similar perspective to you in several areas. However, real learning, growth and depth happen when we hold space for a different way of thinking. 

Sometimes it is difficult to know how to respond when someone says something that makes you question your thoughts on a topic.  

More Alike than Different

A few years ago, I read Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming. Michelle Obama is someone I admire, but at the time, not someone who I thought I had a lot in common with. After the book remained steady on the Best Seller Lists and received high praise from several people, I decided to give it a chance. While Our stories are drastically different, as Michelle’s life story unfolded, I couldn’t help but think several times, “I would have done that too, or that is exactly what I am trying to do as a working mom”. When she talked about everything from applying to law school, supporting her husband, being present for her girls, and finding a way to work out no matter what, I realized how much I had in common with her. 

Unfamiliar things can be overwhelming.

Unfamiliar can be uncomfortable. Embarking on an unfamiliar experience requires courage and a willingness to be challenged or required to try something new. Being willing to take risks and challenge ourselves to make space for new ways of thinking.  And sometimes it is scary to toe the line of a new perspective. Last week I listened to The Dave Burgess Show, The Dave Burgess Show , a new podcast that I look forward to for inspiration each week, and listened to a perspective that I was unfamiliar with. I thought I had a good handle on what the guest was going to talk about, but as the show began, I realized a mix of familiar things and unfamiliar approaches. At first, as a listener, I wondered if I was in the right place.

Mom of ALL Capes 

When I first started listening to Amber Coleman-Mortley, or Mom of All Capes as she is known on social media, on The Dave Burgess Show, I was drawn to her passion and drive to express ideas in a way that motivates people to change.  Honestly, as she was introduced to the show, and I read a little bit of her background, I was not sure I would relate to her enough. She had a book in the works, a huge platform where she was an advocate for change, a podcast with her daughters and seemed to articulate the most complex topics with grace. Amber had a way of approaching topics with an incredibly authentic voice. 

Her perspective was bold, beautiful, and very unique. She had a way of explaining things that made sense. 

Raising Civic-Minded Kids

As I continued to listen to her, I realized how much I was not aware of. One of the first things she said was that she was trying to raise civic-minded kids. She wants to raise kids who are empowered.  As she explained her mission, I realized how much I agreed with her on many things.  A focus on raising Civic-Minded kids is something that I could focus on more. I was also impressed to find out that she has a podcast, Let’s K-12 Better, featuring discussions with her daughters.   

I Just Got Her

Amber also explained how important it is to discover what our kids are passionate about.  While we think we know, it is still worthwhile to stop and ask them what they are into.  Lastly, as the episode was coming to an end, Amber was asked why she is known as “The Mom of All Capes” on social media.  She explained that she is a superhero and has to wear several capes as a mom.  She talked about being willing to do whatever is needed. 

The fierce love a parent feels is something you understand when you have kids.  

Our Methods are Different, but We are More Alike than I Realized

We are all on a journey to find a way to share our mission with the world and leave it better than we found it.  Everyone has a different way of doing this. Some of the things people say and do are unfamiliar, and that can be overwhelming.  However, real growth happens when we make space for the unfamiliar. Excellence includes new ideas and the courage to consider that the best perspective is evolving and willing to make space for the unfamiliar.

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