Today’s guest, Sherry Lee Benson-Podolchuk, is a shining example of a woman not letting bullshit or burnout stop her. She’s uber-emblematic of why I originally created this podcast back in 2016. While prepping for this interview and researching more about Sherry and her story, I was brought to tears. Seeing other women speak up courageously, empower others, and remain compassionate tends to have that effect on me.
For those of you who haven’t met her yet, Sherry is a retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer (or RCMP Officer) with 20 years of service. Since she retired and now in her second career, Sherry is a professional speaker and educator breaking down how she coped with and stood up to workplace bullying, sexual harassment, and violence. She's authored three books and presented at Tedx Winnipeg in 2015. She's also been part of the Senate committee hearings on sexual harassment and bullying in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
In this episode, Sherry shared her story as a RCMP Officer and the bullying and sexual harassment she experienced during her time of service. More importantly, especially if you’ve ever or are currently experiencing workplace bullying or harassment, she shares examples of self-preservation and how her coping skills have evolved over time. Like the #metoo movement is also helping us understand, we don’t always get it “right” initially, especially when it’s a messy, scary and unexpected situation. We talk about the role forgiveness has played in her journey and how it has impacted her. Sherry continues to inspire and motivate others to get out of their comfort zone and recognize the power that they have in their own voice - in the workplace and beyond. Of course, we talk about that, too.
If you've ever felt frazzled, afraid or powerless, you are in the right place for a dose of inspiration with today’s episode featuring Sherry. Listen now!
Selected link love + resources from the episode
What is forgiveness? What if I can’t forgive? by Sherry Lee Benson-Podolchuk
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Quotes + selected highlights from the episode
All of this wisdom is from Sherry herself (with some minor edits for readability).
[00:13:40] It just takes one person to ruin a workplace if there is ineffectual leadership.
[00:19:01] You cannot change other people, but you can create an atmosphere where being a bully is uncomfortable for them.
[00:20:25] I'm hoping by having conversations like this we're empowering people so that they can spread the word that workplace bullying, sexual harassment, or violence against anyone is not okay.
[00:26:43] That's where as women, as victims, whatever the trauma was - we have to be more forgiving with ourselves knowing we did what we needed to do to survive.
[00:35:25] I was nurturing myself. I would sit and be calm for 45-minutes or an hour. That little moment of being at peace. And that was enough to recharge my internal battery, or really, my courage.
[00:35:50] Stress always comes at a cost. It wears you down into almost nothing. It’s the little things you can do to keep your strength alive.
[00:41:00] With stress, those experiences don't stop at the parking lot. They ripple into everything you do: all your relationships, your family, your friends, your relationship with yourself. It just starts to spiral.
[00:46:05] People don't deserve to be violated. Nobody deserves an unhealthy workplace. We all deserve to be respected at home and in the workplace.
[01:16:38] I loved my job. I just didn't like the bullying part.
[01:21:10] When you shift from judgment to curiosity, I found that I was able to be more compassionate with myself, but also with others and more forgiving.
[01:21:55] I am forgiving this person for what they did to me. I am moving forward because the longer I hang onto that pain, the more they still have power over me.
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