Don’t Tear Down The People Who Could Build You Up
Within a few weeks of arriving in Cambodia, I met another young female social business owner. She studied textiles at University. She earned a prestigious fellowship to start her business.
When she looked at me, all she saw was my lack of qualifications. I studied theater and politics. I fell into fashion while trying to pursue the theater dream. I didn’t know how to weave. I had neither a business nor a fashion education.
After explaining my project she responded, “Good luck with that. I’m really interested to see how this turns out.”
Her tone was dripping with sarcasm. She didn’t really wish me well.
What she failed to see were my steadfast commitment to responsible development; a knack for predicting trends; an insane obsession with accessories; and the enthusiasm and perseverance to carry me through.
It’s been a little over one year and I’m quite proud. I might not know how to weave, but our patterns consistently delight and astound. I might not have studied fashion design, but people want to buy our bags.
I may not have a degree in development but I’m doing the hard work of bridging East and West, each and every day.
Under other circumstances, she and I could have supported each other. We could have worked together to better social business in Cambodia. But one snarky comment ended that. Closed the door on future collaborations.
I wonder: How often do we tear down the very people who could best support us?