Hispanic Heritage Month – Holding Both/And

October 5, 2023

We are all impacted by the culture we come from and find ourselves living in.

Awareness of this basic fact empowers us as culture creators and change makers.

I am Mexican-American, Chicana, Latina, Hispanic. Perfectly me.

The world around us wants to tell us who we are and how we “fit” or don’t fit into predefined definitions. My personal journey of identity development has not be easy or simply defined.

I’m guessing that you, Reader, also don’t fit into a perfect box either.

A common phrase within boarder communities and among Latino immigrants is “Ni de aquí, ni de allá“, translated as, “From neither here nor there” and referrs to a lack of belonging.

I first identified a deep resonance with this lack of belonging when watching the 1997 Movie, Salena in the scene when her father laments and expresses his concern over Salena not speaking Spanish well enough for Mexico and not being America enough for the Anglos. “We have to be twice as perfect”.

If you are biracial, bicultural, or grew up ethnically isolated, and are striving to break into new levels of leadership, you know the feeling of not belonging.

The feeling of never enough.

And yet with healthy integration and empowered reframing, I have, over the years, owned my experience, my story, and my unique leadership.

I am from BOTH here and there.

Embracing my Hispanic roots has opened the door to an incredibly diverse community of all races, economic levels, and a multitude of lived experiences, and yet a uniquely unified experience, especially within a US context where we fall under the title Hispanic.

Reflection on and integration of my ethnic and cultural roots allows room for me to hold space for complexity within my heritage as both the colonizer (Spanish & Anglo) and the colonized (The Purépecha tribe and other Indigenous peoples from Mexico). My ability to hold space for multiple experiences is expanded.

I appreciate the uncomfortable experience of being an outsider and can allow it to be my superpower.

Rigid and binary thinking limits our capacity and potential. Operating in an EITHER/OR framework causes us to miss the expansiveness of the beautiful complexity that surrounds us and is us.

My journey has provided me with a unique perspective on change, belonging, and the ability to integrate what supports me and others to thrive.

Reflection Time

  • Where do I feel like I have to “fit” into a pre-defined box?
  • Where is either/or thinking limiting my capacity and problem solving?
  • What possibilities opens when I apply both/and thinking?

Whether you are Hispanic or not, reflecting on your identity, cultural narratives, and perspective will allow you to show up more authentic and empowered.

Con Amor, Sonya

P.S. Overheard in a coaching session:

“It is important for me to create a safe, vulnerable, and inclusive environment for my team while also getting better at establishing clear accountability and expectations.”

I help my clients develop the leadership practices and emotional capacity to create healthy and impactful teams. If this is something you want help with, let’s chat; book aDiscovery Call below.