Insider, Outsider

Usually we want to be insiders. The inside scoop, the inside knowledge, being in the loop.

Being outside doesn’t sound so appealing. Being left out in the cold, an outsider looking in. Maybe even frozen out.

I’m an immigrant, trying to find my way in a new country and culture. I have a weird sense of humour, and quite a few other quirks. I don’t have a linear career path or an MBA. I regularly get ignored or straight-up rejected.

It often feels like a battle.

I often feel like an outsider. Sometimes I probably am.

But I’m an insider.

I’m a straight white male. Middle class. Two parents, still married. One brother, a close friend. I’m married to a loving wife. I’m a native speaker of a common language. I’m (usually) able to pay the rent.

I’m an insider. I have privilege.

Sometimes it’s hard to recognise, hard to spot, hard to see from a broader view.

An unexpected benefit from undertaking a coaching certification has been stepping outside. Turning it inside out.

The insiders like me are in the minority. I get to spend time with the outsiders, the new insiders. I hear their stories of being on the outside, their values, their needs and their viewpoints.

I sit inside, being an outsider, recognising my insider status, and am invited in as an outsider.

There are insiders and outsiders everywhere. In every group, every classroom, every train carriage, every stadium, every city, country, and society.

Sometimes we’ll be on the inside. Other times out. Some of us will certainly feel we’re on the outside more than we’re in.

Even (and especially) if we’re privileged enough to spend most of our time on the inside, stepping outside can be one of the most valuable things we can do.

We can choose how we do it. 

If we step out intentionally and mindfully, we may well be invited inside as a welcome guest.


Thanks to Josh Upton for inspiring this post.

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