When have you felt that you needed permission to do something? The obvious may come to mind first, asking for a day off of work or an extension to pay a bill. These are life events that certainly require some communication if you want to avoid unfavorable consequences. However, there are lots of things we avoid doing in life because we feel we need some type of permission. Often the only permission we need is from ourselves, and giving it would make life so much better.
Today’s podcast is about equality and empowerment. Empowerment comes as we give ourselves permission to do things that make life better. This could mean going after your dreams, but it can also mean simple things, like showing someone you care about them. You can look at it as giving yourself permission, or as something that doesn’t require permission.
Takia McClendon has been empowering women for years. She has found that if you feel empowered yourself, you are much more able to empower those around you. From being a strong voice in the black community to helping all types of individuals find a love for running and wellbeing, she knows what it means to empower.
Lean in to Your Feelings
In 2013 Takia and her friend Kiera started City Fit Girls. Like many, they had decided they wanted to have healthier lifestyles and used one another as responsibility buddies. During their journey, they found that many people didn’t have access to a healthy lifestyle because there weren’t groups that were inclusive. Sure, they may say that all are welcome, but if everyone is white, skinny, and runs a seven-minute mile, how inclusive does it feel?
If you are looking to find a group of people to run with or increase your overall well-being, don’t be afraid to try multiple groups. It’s okay to feel scared, and it’s even okay to get there and not feel welcome. The fear you have is valid. This is exactly what happened to Takia when she joined her first running club. So, when they started City Fit Girls, they had a “No Runner Left Behind” policy, and they meant it.
You should feel validated in your feelings, but don’t let them stop you from doing what you want. Embrace the fear or worry or pain, but don’t think that it can’t be resolved. There are more and more extremely inclusive groups available to join, and if the first one you attend isn’t what you wanted it to be, then you don’t need to stay.
The Race Conversation
We cannot talk about empowerment and inclusivity without talking about race. This is a subject that is important to the Running for Real community and it’s a conversation that will stay. What we are learning about today and over these last several months has been enlightening, and for many, rather heavy. But this has been a reality for many in the community for their entire lives.
This conversation may feel tiring, but it’s important to think about why that is so, and how tired the black community feels. It’s not a moment, it’s an entire lifespan. It’s everyone’s responsibility to help, and to those that aren’t sure what they can do, Takia gave some great advice.
“Just practice being better,” says Takia. What we are looking to change can’t happen overnight, so try to make changes that are sustainable. Make an intentional effort to be better, and don’t feel like you need to reach out to everyone. Start small, encourage the people you know until your actions become habits. Then when the opportunities to help those that need it, you’ll be ready to act.
One of the best ways you can help contribute to the change that needs to happen is to not let unacceptable things slide by. If you are white, don’t wait for a black person to tell an individual or a company what they are doing or saying is wrong. This is where your voice can be most important. Give support by not making the minority or the suppressed group do all the talking and fixing.
Empower Just Because
Helping others is a responsibility we have as human beings. We are better off as a whole when we look out for each other. The best thing you can do is help for the sake of helping, without any expectation of reward. The reward is that we get to help each other, it’s a beautiful thing and something the running community does very well. I hope each of you can learn from Takia. Give yourself permission to help others and just practice being better.
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Thank you to my wonderful sponsor Tracksmith, Altra, and Harriets for sponsoring this episode of the Running for Real Podcast.
Tracksmith is a Boston based running clothing company that truly cares about the quality and care of their running clothes. Running can be a demanding lifestyle for our clothes, they definitely go through the wear and tear to where we may be purchasing new clothes constantly. Tracksmith designers truly work with the finest materials and think of you as a runner in mind with spots for your keys, phone, and fuel. Also, go here to check out their 100 days of Summer email campaign where they talk about anything and everything running.
You can get $15 off your purchase of $75 or more, click here and enter code FORREAL15
I am thrilled to announce my exciting partnership with Altra, as an athlete and a sponsorship, I have loved their shoes as well as what this company stands for. So as a special treat to Running4Real listeners they are going to give away a pair of shoes every month this year!
Go HERE to enter to be a winner a free pair of shoes. And once you have entered once you will be entered for the entire year.
Harriett’s Bookshop is a black owned business based in Philadelphia here in the US. I just love that it was named after the brave Harriet Tubman. This is a great source to learn more about being an anti-racist and to just broaden your mind. So let’s show our support for them!
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Thank you to Takia, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.