Both/And vs. Either/Or

I believe in both and NOT either or

 I refuse to believe humanity is this intellectually poor.

How did we get here?

Where your fear 

is translated as me not having a care 

and leads to despair.

Impulse is to react, react, react.

It’s like we've signed a contract that we can’t retract to overact. 

Meanwhile, we've lost sight of the many voices around us. 

Voices that can’t compete because they aren’t loud enough. 

Now THEY think they aren’t enough. 

But even YOU must admit that being this invisible is pretty rough. 

These days, it seems like we only have two options 

My way or your way. 

It doesn’t matter what I say, anyway.

We have created binary systems to govern the nuance.

Where is the balance? 

I’m just as guilty. I’m no innocent. 

But as I sit with my thoughts and inspect, 

I can start to see the cause of the confusion

and the blurry vision.

The whole picture just isn’t being seen and no one is clean.

We need to examine our lenses and take down our fences.

If we address our blind spots, 

we can connect the dots. 

Next time you want to tell a story from your perspective, 

be more inventive and think of the collective. 

Next time you ask a question, let it be open ended instead of close minded. 

Step back to look at the whole picture.

You'll see that we are a beautiful and complex mixture. 

Examine the canvas frame by frame 

It will be hard, but do it all the same.

Move past homogeneity and create spaces for more forms of identity. 

We all need to apply this sensitivity.

Please don’t ignore this because that’s how we got here in the first place

where what’s limited now is grace.  

Seek to affirm not and not to confirm.

Remember, people want to be heard. 

They don’t want to be a part of your herd.

Life should be liberating and enriching 

not selective and elusive. 

Your presence should invite other forms of existence. 

I believe in both and NOT either or. 

Become an Effective Cross-Cultural Communicator & Connector

Changing The World Begins With Us

The work to change the world does not end at the offices of law enforcement or governments. It begins with us, in our backyards, our families, our schools, our spheres of influence and our minds.
All of us here are leaders in some shape or form and we are growing up amongst each other so our actions matter. You are symbols in some way. You can be symbols of love and hope or symbols of hate and intolerance.
So I want you all to be aware of the actions you take because what we all decide to do in public and private has the potential to influence policies today and tomorrow. Let’s make sure those actions are celebrating differences, finding common ground and being a voice for the voiceless.

Are you ready to change the world? Use your DIFFERENCE to make a DIFFERENCE.

Become an Effective Cross-Cultural Communicator & Connector

Why I Use My Voice Today

I have been getting asked one question consistently at events I speak at and when paraphrased it boils down to something like this:

"Why bother to be a voice today if the world is overwhelmingly negative right now? Every day, we see horrific headlines and more and more leaders appear to be utterly incompetent so what's the point of even trying?" 

At least, that seems to be the sentiment and I get it. I completely understand why that thought exists BUT then I think of my hero, the late Nelson Mandela who spent 27 years in jail for his cause and inspired me while I was living in a military dictatorship. I think about how hearing about his story and hearing him say this on TV made me feel.

" I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."

I am also reminded of the comics I read as a child. Particularly one of my favorite superhero, Superman who is so powerful that he can do almost anything he chooses, yet he fights for humanity. Or what about Oprah, my other hero who was born to an impoverished teenage mother, suffered abuse at the age of 9, became pregnant at 14 before subsequently losing her child. All this before the age of 21 and now she is the Oprah we know. 

I think about all this and my response to that question becomes: If not us, then who? If not now, then when? This mindset shift brings me back to my original purpose of creating platforms for people to connect across cultures.

So if you're ever doubting the power of your voice, I want to share two emails with you that I received last year.


When I got this message last year, I completely burst out into tears. It's not the first email i've received from someone who follows my work and it's not the last I've gotten but something about this email really got me emotional. It took me back to when I was her age and I was dealing with my identity crisis and how I looked for inspiration everywhere just so I could feel heard or understood. I wondered what my life would have been like if I didn't have my parents, the late Nelson Mandela, Superman's story or Oprah. 

How many people are we missing out on inspiring by silencing our voices? It's like Martin Luther King Jr once said, "our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"

That AMAZING conference wasn't done with me though. Here is another letter I got after delivering my keynote.

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People are always looking to be inspired. Imagine being told that what you say and do doesn't matter. Imagine living in a world that doesn't give you enough heroes for you to identify with. Imagine being told that no matter how hard you try, you will never amount to anything.

Now I want you to understand that that reality exists for more than half of our world today and we have a responsibility to be louder and braver than all the evil that exists around us. Our voices DO matter and you never know who is watching or listening so don't take for granted the platforms you have and the spheres of influence you operate in right now.

Tupac Shakur once said, “I'm not saying I'm gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.” That ability exists for you as well. Our voices collectively and individually matter so go out and use your DIFFERENCE to make a DIFFERENCE!

Become an Effective Cross-Cultural Communicator & Connector

Episode 005: Home is Where Your Story Begins with Marilyn Gardner

Marilyn Gardner is a TCK who grew up in Pakistan and raised her kids in both Pakistan and Egypt. She has since moved back to America. She details her journey and also offers some amazing tips on how to navigate across different cultures. She runs a very poplar blog at Communicating Across Boundaries that talks about life, faith, travel, third culture kid peculiarities, cross-cultural communication, Pakistan, the Middle East and more. She recently released a book that details her TCK experiences. I read it and trust me it's great! You can buy it here. Enjoy the episode.


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Become an Effective Cross-Cultural Communicator & Connector