Another episode of Radical Ratekin Real Talk: Silver Threads (moments of happiness that sustain us) come in the weirdest times. There’s an old Swedish proverb that goes something like this:

“Love me when I deserve it least, because that is when I really need it.”

~Swedish proverb

I’ve been asked to speak about happiness to a group of inmates graduating from a sex offender rehab program, and their families who will be there to support them. I’m intimately familiar with the shame, shock, and other challenges that face this group and their families. For those who don’t know, (#vulnerability) my children’s father spent time in prison and was in a similar program.

When this opportunity came up, I reached out to my ex immediately to get some honest feedback on what would, and more importantly what would NOT be of service to this community. I may be a radical positivity activist, but I’m not delusional, and there’s no value in standing in front of a group of people and spinning a fairy tale that we all know is absolute trash. If I’m going to be the “motivational speaker”, then by all that’s holy, I want to do my best to make sure my message has some substance, some value, and a whole lot of authenticity to it.

I am incredibly grateful that I have the kind of relationship with my kids’ father that we were able to take a good look at our experiences, and use the lessons learned to craft a message that is at once honest AND hope-filled, because I know that despite the hurdles and heartache and frustration in the journey ahead of them, there will be opportunities for these people and their families to find contentment, hope and value in the lives they will rebuild to the best of their abilities.

I understand that there are people who feel that there is no value in this work. I honour the hurt that underlies those sentiments, and respect where those feelings originate. When we can take the lessons from our own painful experiences and use them to guide somebody’s else next steps, that’s a sacred charge.

My deepest personal values include compassion, hope, and personal growth for myself and the people I have the opportunity to influence, whether that’s colleagues, coaching clients, friends, family, or unlikely audiences like this, and I’m forever grateful when I get to take what seemed, at the time, like the lowest moments of my life and hopefully use them to make someone else’s life just a little bit better. You just never know where the ripples of kindness might lead.

(Are you looking for a transformational keynote speech or workshop for your organization? Let’s talk. )