Thing #12: Speak up.
This is a lesson I have spent most of my lifetime learning, and I can’t say I’ve mastered it. I am often hesitant to say what is on my mind. I don’t know if my opinions are worthwhile, if my ideas sound smart.
You see, I’ve never thought of myself as an especially bright person. I was a “B” student in a household of “A” students. Even my best friends were on the honor roll. But, over time, I’ve come to understand that it’s only in certain areas where I’m not as bright as others. In other areas, I’m very smart.
Especially at work. I work in communications, and I have learned a thing or two over the last 30 years, so I am getting better about speaking up in discussions. It also helped hearing a co-worker once tell me she liked it when I spoke up.
I’ve also learned that sometimes there needs to be one person to voice a differing opinion in order for other people to say “Yeah, me, too.”
I heard of a situation recently where the board of directors of a company made a controversial policy shift and when that policy was made public, it was, shall we say, not well received. They quickly reconvened and reversed their decision. It came out in those subsequent discussions that some of the board members had never been comfortable with the original decision—but they never said anything.
So, my friends, trust yourself. Speak up. Take the risk. Sometimes you’ll be shot down, but other times you’ll hear those lovely words, “Yeah, me, too.”
Let me leave you with the words of Christopher Robin, speaking to one of my favorite characters, Winnie-the-Pooh, “A Bear of Very Little Brain.”
You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh