Updated: Dec 3, 2019
I was recently honoured to be awarded as one of the prestigious recipients of RBC’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrants for 2019. Amazing right?!
It was an eventful day spent with 24 other deserving winners from all over Canada, each one of us working in a variety of fields that contribute to making our communities and the world in general, an even greater place to be. As I sat listening to the other winners accept their award, I could not help but hear a small voice of doubt and insecurity in my head say to me: “What am I doing here?” How is it that I deserve this recognition? These people are so much more than what I am.”
Even before I arrived in Toronto to receive my award I was feeling undeserving and very overwhelmed … As an entrepreneur and a solo parent, I found myself racing through my to-do list of making sure everything was covered for my children and arranging all the details for my travel. I love to travel, but I do get a bit anxious traveling alone, not to mention figuring out what was I going to say when I accepted my award? What do you say when you know you will be following previous award winners who include: Arlene Dickinson, Governor General Michaëlle Jean, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan Singh, Minister Ahmed Hussen, Sursur Lee, Vikram Vij, Donovan Bailey, Daniel Igali and Karl Subban? ... and here I am The Devina Kaur among all of these famous and accomplished people. I was really struggling with feelings of not being as worthy; my insecurity took over and I grappled with feeling like I was a fraud. What so many see on the outside is not always consistent with what's going on inside. There were just so many emotions!
Somehow (as always) I pushed through the tiny voice of doubt and insecurity in my head and I made a conscious decision to speak to myself kindly and to remind myself just how much I have accomplished and how much I do contribute to the world around me. I went home, picked up my bag and began my journey to the awards gala. When I arrived there was a flurry of television and radio interviews, photos, smiles, congratulations, and so much hustle and bustle that I almost completely forgot about feeling undeserving of this incredible accolade which was about to recognize all of my accomplishments. The interviews caused me to reflect on my journey to Canada. Leaving my place of birth, my family, and my friends to bravely forge a new life in a new city, in a country foreign to me. How many people take a leap of courage, relocate to a place unknown, begin a whole new life, and build a career? How many people really stretch outside of their comfort zone and then receive an award for it?! I was suddenly re-energized with this clearer more accurate perspective of why I truly did deserve this award, this recognition of my contribution and accomplishments.
And then it happened ... the award ceremony began. I sat in admiration listening to stories of struggle and overcoming adversity … some not unlike my own, yet I still told myself that I was not in their level of greatness. We all have these moments, the split second where we compare ourselves to someone else, the flash of anxiety that says, “What am I doing here?” It’s human to have these moments, we are not frauds when we have them, we are frauds when we hide them. I was lost in listening to Giacomo Gianniotti’s (Dr. Andrew DeLuca on Grey's Anatomy) speech when I realized I was up next.
I snapped out of my haze to my name being called and as I got up to the podium and looked out on the crowd I realized that:
1. I deserve to be recognized for my contribution to our world. (We all do)
2. I was going to be me - 100% authentic as always, Devina Kaur.
3. I had to do this for all of the warriors I represent.
I told the story of my anxiety filled thoughts just hours before my award, my journey to this point, and I gave my heartfelt thanks.
The lesson? We are never frauds. We all have insecurities and whether we share them or not, those moments don't make us less human- they are what make us human, beautiful and #SexyBrilliant.
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