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Reflection By: Ronit Odom

Freedom comes in many forms. Freedom can be the ability to choose what type of work you do. Freedom can be the right to say what you really think. Freedom can be the right to choose where you live. Freedom can also mean the ability to act contrary to your norms.

We are creatures of habit and while many of those habits lead to our survival, sometimes they also harm us. Due to the environment in which we were raised, who our parents were, and the opportunities available to us, we developed those habits. We can be free, not only from elements in our external world but also from negative habits and established norms within ourselves. We assert our freedom when we act contrary to our habits and choose another path.

 This was a point I made as I led a workshop on anger management and conflict resolution with the women of Sari Bari. We watched clips of animals behaving in accordance with the five styles of conflict management. The turtle avoids, the chameleon accommodates, the kangaroo competes, the bird compromises, and the rabbit collaborates. We talked about the environments in which it is best to be a turtle, and when it is a good idea to be a kangaroo. Someone who is naturally a kangaroo should sometimes be a chameleon while someone else who is naturally a turtle may need to act like a bird. We should all work towards acting more like a rabbit. Always competing can hurt us just as much as always accommodating. One act of freedom is choosing which style we want to use in a given situation and not being trapped by our habits. 

When Purnima said to me, “I had a conflict this weekend, I started out like a kangaroo but then I decided to be a chameleon”, I didn’t just smile because we now have this odd shared animalistic vocabulary, but also because she recognized what she was doing and chose how she wanted to proceed. This was another step for her in her freedom journey.



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Reflection by Ronit Odom, Sari Bari Human Resources and Training Consultant based in Kolkata, India.  Ronit joined Sari Bari USA in October 2018 and gives her sweet energy to the Sari Bari Private Limited Leadership team, supporting their journey to become better leaders. She also brings her joy and enthusiasm to weekly soft skills training for all the women of Sari Bari.   Ronit supports making our Sari Bari community a better place to work and a better place to heal.