Personal Development


Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

CHAPTER XIX – Turning Adversity into Action

I am Jude. All of us, at some point in our lives, experience sadness and disappointments. Setbacks and sorrow are unavoidable elements of the collective human experience. However, when we acknowledge that everyone is confronting adversity in their lives, it provides us with perspective. 

It allows us to accept that the winters of our lives are a normal and natural occurrence and in doing so, we can gain insight and perspective about our own pain and suffering.

Hardship and misfortune are inevitably going to crash into our lives. The havoc they create can seem insurmountable at times. However,  we can draw strength knowing that they never last.  Circumstances always change. All things come to pass.

Major events provide us with a unique opportunity for self-reflection. They offer a chance to reconsider our values and what is important to us.  

For example, although my father’s death was sudden and unexpected, I had a chance to mourn and  process the big emotions associated with losing someone important in your life, and that time was invaluable. I was able to avoid victim thinking, self-destructive reactions and despair.

Instead, I am choosing to see the blessings and lessons in everything that life presents, both  the good and the bad. 

Photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash

My father sanctioned the changes I am making in my life. I know he’s proud. We were fully aligned with respect to our shared values of service, generosity, faith and industry.

His passing provides another convincing reason to Break Free from the distractions, negative behaviours and bad habits that are limiting my growth and development. 

I am hoping that it serves as another defining moment in my life. Not so much as a tribute, but more as an opportunity to review my goals, make some changes and redouble my efforts to Be Better.

I want it to inform my ever-evolving life plan and the reality I am trying to create for myself. 

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

Side Hustle – Unshackled Solutions Life Coaching and Consulting

I finally start my life coaching training this week. The program is certified by the ICF and will consist of weekly virtual classroom sessions until May. I am looking forward to the training, especially after completing some coaching with friends and family. 

I have a lot to learn about the nuances of life coaching. Elements such as defining the coaching relationship, identifying clear outcomes for the sessions and creating accountability with the coachee.

Right now it feels formulaic and scripted. I believe that’s because I am utilizing predetermined questions and a structured interview and I can confident it will look a lot different with practice and training. I will get more comfortable with the process, develop my own unique style and determine what works best for me.

I enjoy learning new things and life coaching provides an opportunity to acquire new tools, insights and abilities that can benefit others and myself. 

Your Next Best Read

Coach the Person not the Problem by Marcia Reynolds

This book offers five essential practices of reflective inquiry: focus on the person, not the problem; summarize what is heard and expressed; identify underlying beliefs and assumptions; unwrap the desired outcome; and articulate insights and commitments. Using these practices, combined with a respectful and caring presence, helps create a space where clients feel safe, seen, and valued for who they are. 

The author highlights the importance of reflecting the coachee’s words and expressions back to them so they see themselves and their world through difference perspective. She recommends reflective empathic inquiry instead of trying to pose the perfect question -and that appeals to me. 

Summary in the Author’s Own Words

What’s Good – Positive Reflections

Black United Students(BUS)

Black United Students was an active student group at Dalhousie University during my undergrad years in the 1990’s. It was comprised of a diverse collection of Afrikan students from around the world. The group organized events for Black students, engaged  passionate socio-political discussions and advocated for change.

BUS was headquartered at the Black Student Advisory Office in the Dalhousie Student Union Building. The office was charged with energy and emotion and there always seemed to be something going on. 

For many of us, who commandeered the space before between and after classes, it was the nucleus of the campus. People ate, argued, completed assignments or simply posted up and hung out. 

Dalhousie University Bookstore
Dalhousie Student Union Building – 2005

The students involved in BUS engaged in hotly contested debates about politics, Capitalism and revolution. The verbal sparring sessions were emotionally charged, and at times almost physical. We were passionate and uncompromising in our aims and objectives. 

We protested, volunteered in the community, challenged the student union and attempted to improve the conditions for Black students.

At the time, it felt like I finally found my place in the world. I was associating with active like-minded individuals and my Blackness was accepted without any pretence or condition. 

I was introduced to new cultures and perspectives which resulted in a greater sense of pride, confidence and self-awareness. I developed a better understanding of structural oppression, the destructive consequences of racism and the importance of social action. 

BUS sowed the seeds of activism and involvement for me, and I am still reaping the benefits of those early efforts to organize and effect change. I want to acknowledge Jason, Malik, John, Ivy and the other brothers and sisters who were responsible for starting the group.

BUS affirmed my Blackness and helped shape my politics. It provided me with lasting memories and a much-needed sense of belonging. It is a memorable part of my university experience and influenced my life. 

Photo by Kushagra Kevat on Unsplash

Public Announcement

I can’t thank you enough for your heartfelt calls, emails, texts, posts. The outpouring of love and compassion my family has received over the past two weeks has been overwhelming. Your thoughts, memories, condolences and prayers have provided us with much needed comfort during a very difficult time. They certainly made a difference. 

I am truly blessed and highly favored, and my father’s passing has provided another example of the amazing benefits that can result from life’s setbacks and disappointments. 

I want to personally acknowledge Pearl Alleyne, Ardith Jordan Simmonds, Tamara Drummond, Deacon Marie Francis, Brenda Mentis, the Apex Scholarship Committee and Zion Baptist Church for their contributions to the memorial on Saturday. It was an appropriate send-off despite the complications Covid presented.

I also want to give a personal shout out to Kim Murphy from Kwik Kopy Printing. My mind was in a fog and time got away from me last Friday. I forgot to pick up the programs for my father’s funeral before the business closed for the weekend.

I reached out to her through social media in a panic. She responded immediately and graciously returned to the store so I could pick them up for the service on Saturday. 

Being good to people encourages others to do the same. Thanks for your empathy and understanding Kim! Small acts of kindness are an inspiration for others. I am Jude. 

Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *