I grew up in a city called Laredo, TX. Laredo is a city on the border between Texas and Mexico and is the largest land port in the United States. My grandparents emigrated to the United States after WWII escaping the horrors of Nazi Germany. I grew up Jewish in a city that is 95%+ hispanic. There were no other Jewish kids my age at my school. The only other Jewish girls in my near age range were my cousins.
Growing up in a city where you celebrate holidays like Hannukah alone and you see people celebrating Christmas from a distance gives a kid no choice but to feel as an outsider.
As a kid, this was tough. Even though I played group sports and had outlets for belonging, I couldn’t help but feeling like an outsider all the time.
I looked at that as a weakness early on, but later found that being different was a good thing. It ended up being one of the reasons I got admitted to the University of Texas. It was the subject of my admissions essays and it ended up shaping my approach to problem solving.
One of my biggest skill sets in life and especially in business as a strategist and practitioner has been my ability to stay objective even if I am “part of the group”.
Staying objective and being an outsider can be lonely, but it’s also the best spot to find trends and to be self aware.
Even if you have always been an insider, attempt to see how this can be a blind spot. How can you get more objective? Start by noticing your differences. Stay objective and understand the full picture.