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Dear colleagues,

It has been a while since my last article. This does not mean that there was nothing to write about – it was just a matter of time. I am sure you all know this feeling, running out of time, being overwhelmed by your own to-do list and being unsatisfied with yourself.

This will be the topic of today’s column. How we see ourselves, the mistakes we make looking at us from only one, mostly over-critical position and being caught in the vicious circle of lack of self esteem in a performance driven environment.

Why is this something to talk about in line with RAHM and LGBTIQ+ leadership?
There are several publications that reveal that LGBTIQ+ community members have a strong feeling of not being good enough. Being “different” often comes along with the feeling someone needs to be better than others to reach the same goals or to have the equal opportunities. As a result, there are a lot of self-destructive questions in the heads of these colleagues around us:
• Have I done enough?
• Do I have to invest even more?
• Is it worth to be shared?

All these questions trigger fundamental needs of human individuals:
• Being part of a group / team / society
• Being seen as a valuable individual
• Achieve goals

As social individuals we want to have the feeling of “belonging” – which means you feel psychologically safe with the people around us. This is also a crucial part of diversity & inclusion activities, making people feel “I belong here”! This underlines how important this feeling is for everybody. On the other hand this comes along with a kind of pressure. Everything comes with a price and in this case the price is, bringing something in which is helpful and valuable for the group. And this input is very personal and individual. We all have our talents and bring something valuable. Every team, every group or society is a puzzle of different characters, talents and ideas. We don’t have to be perfect all by ourselves – we bring in what we have and it’s up to us to make the best out of it.

And here comes the problem for LGBTIQ+ community members or other groups that feel minor in our society. There is this feeling that it’s never enough we do, we say and we achieve. The strong will to be seen as a talented individual leads to a blurred self-reflection picture of ourselves – always doubting that it is never good enough! This is why fighting against discrimination is so important, because facing discrimination or mobbing stresses the feeling of “I do not belong here”. This is one of the worst feelings in a human life. And it is toxic, because it can lead to self-destructive behavior, depression, burn out and in worst case to suicide. The feeling of being powerless to change the own situation can destroy people and can be the result of the feeling to always be in the shadow of others.

The good news is, that LGBTIQ+ leaders know about this and are aware of situations who can trigger this doubts in people. This is one of the reasons I like being part of RAHM. It’s not only because of the interpersonal exchange across different businesses, “best practice sharing” regarding Diversity & Inclusion management topics – a huge part of this community is showing empathy and to listen to each other! I have heard a lot of sad stories of discrimination, hate and violence and sometimes I had tears in my eyes just listening to the life stories of others and their way to cope with it. However, in those cases it did not break them, NO, they are now here with us at RAHM to share these stories- not for pity- but to have learnings and make an impact for a better society around us! And that’s the spirit of RAHM. In this community you are more than enough – you are just perfect the way you are and you are more than welcome!

I am so thankful for that experience and looking forward for the next meetings, because this also drives my personal views. It reminds me to be proud of everything I have done in my life. Did I made some wrong decisions, did I made mistakes and would I do some things from my past differently with the knowledge of today? Yes, Yes and Sure – but this does not make me a bad human being. That is just what life is, a winding road with bumps in it, broken bridges and missing road signs. We can all learn from each others experience and if we are able to face ourselves with harsh critics, we should also encourage ourselves to be proud of the things we achieve.

Try it and join me in making a list of positive things in your life – it will help and open your eyes! And do not forget to share…

See you next time.


About the writer

David Holthöwer is a member of the RAHM Leadership Council. Working as an Associate Director Pharmacist in Hesse (Germany), he is part of the Communication Committee of our Council.

Know more about the RAHM Leadership Council here.

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