I don’t like conflict.
It’s a sentence I hear a lot of women say. I’ll talk about why in this Wednesday’s new episode of the podcast but here’s how it applies to me.
I grew up in a home with a combative mother, and I often found myself in the center of her storms. The good news about that experience is that I learned how to be resilient and now, conflict doesn’t scare me.
I’ve learned to be still, to listen to what is being said, and what isn’t, and above all to speak the truth.
Sometimes–a lot of times–speaking the truth gets me into trouble, but I prefer it to the alternative: silence.
Speak when you are spoken to.
A woman should be seen and not heard.
A silent and loving woman is a gift of the lord.
Or something current that’s supposed to make your silence seem cool. The most dangerous animal in the world is a silent, smiling woman.
Not on my wall.
Using your voice comes with the territory of being visible and the more visible I become, the more I welcome it.
Case in point, I recently made a comment on my FB wall, one that slipped off the edge of political correctness, a fence I usually straddle happily. An onlooker decided to mansplain the appropriateness of said comment. I will point out it’s not the first time this almost stranger has done this sort of thing, but it would be the last.
Platform is a composite of all of the tools you use to communicate your POV to your audience. Your platform is yours. You built it. You’ve nurtured it and you can use it ANY way you choose. Why? Because it’s an extension of your POV, voice and vision, of your work in the world.
Facebook is one of my platform tools. I was reluctant to the party and these days privacy concerns mean I use it less, but I still post what I like, when I like because my page is just that: mine.
You don’t have to agree with the things I say. You don’t have to like them, or accept them, or believe them, or receive them. You can judge my curiosity or anger as inappropriate but here’s what I’ve learned about O.P.P. (other people’s perceptions) when it comes to me. They’re not my business.
Sometimes I write about topics that are unpopular, or take an unpopular stance because I’m working through my feelings and because I know that other people are working through theirs. As an artist, I believe part of my job is to ignite opinions and discussion on purpose.
Often I write for the people who I know won’t “hear” me any other way. Then other times, I write about things I can’t gauge the acceptance of by my audience. I get it wrong. I have typos. I ask questions that seem obvious to others. But the things I write are things I’m struggling with, inspiration I receive, research I’m learning from, or ideas I think are important. I write because I can’t not write and those are the hardest because it means I have to push through uncertainty to the other side. It means I have to figure myself out.
I don’t should. I ask, listen, ponder and decide. I use my voice in a way that I hope will help me move the conversation forward. My intention is that you as a leader in your family and community can use what I’m thinking about to ask the kind of questions that will influence your life and business in a positive way.
Sometimes people unsubscribe. (My ego would rather hit unfriend first ;)) Again, I welcome it. It’s kind of like pruning back a bush to make sure that the flowers can bloom fully.
The point is that as you become visible, you will receive feedback, both positive and negative, and your ability to continue to grow creatively, to tackle new and groundbreaking work will be contingent on your ability to remain visible, in spite of O.P.P.
Unless it’s blatantly libel, violent, or creepy—and there are ways to deal with those jokers—haters are proof that you got it right. Because if they’re that pissed off, you connected to their consciousness. You can’t say the wrong thing to the right person or the right thing to the wrong person so the best way to use your platform is to keep on being you.