Somewhere early in my life, I got the message that acknowledging my pain was not okay. Being vulnerable opened me up for attack. It was dangerous. Messages like “never let them see your sweat” often got mixed up with “no pain, no gain.” So there’s a mixture of: don’t show your pain getting the best of you yet show yourself conquering it all.
And it’s not working.
Just look at the stats of those suffering from clinical depression, clinical anxiety, substance use and abuse, suicide attempts and completion, marital and relational distress, and the effects of trauma and post-traumatic stress.
Hiding our pain—avoiding it, even demonizing it—is taking us out because it’s not sustainable.
But when you acknowledge your pain as an inspiration instead of an identity, this is where the gold lies that fuels your meaning and purpose.
On today’s episode, I’m excited to talk with cultural expert, speaker, educator, and consultant, Jess Weiner.
Jess continues to fight against being defined by her struggles, choosing instead to be inspired by them–even when the burdens of recurring struggles take her out. She has identified her blind spots, collected the data, and is now continuing to create and iterate–crediting her original pain story as part of her foundational inspiration.
Jess is the CEO of Talk to Jess, where she advises Fortune 500 companies to help them better reflect people in their media, marketing, advertising, and workforce. She is also an adjunct professor at USC in the Annenberg School of Journalism, an acclaimed author, and was recently named by Fast Company as one of the most creative people in Business in the areas of Diversity and Inclusion.