Photo by Jiawei Chen on Unsplash

Think about the simple choice to speak up in a group when you’re not fully on board with the way things are heading.

Before you choose to open your mouth, what runs through your head?

Do you need to say something so your status is acknowledged? Are you trying to help? Who are you trying to impress? Are you preparing to spend social capital on an argument? Are you trying to understand the worldview of others around you? Are you trying to earn the respect of someone else? Do you bear the burden of the minority? Do you have any allys? Do you suspect people are open to change? Are you trying to get a laugh, score a cheap hit or change the subject? Is this really about that? Are you brave enough to say something new?

Photo taken in Chile in 2009

It turns out that how we think about what we’re contributing significantly impacts what we’re going to say.
It’s never as simple as right and wrong.
It might be better to aim for the ‘how’ that will help you open up.

Here are some new reframes that I’m trying on for size.

The dread of new – the chance to learn
The work to do – the change to spark
The ‘badge of busy’ – the ferocity of productivity
The shake in my voice – the bravery of sharing

The embarrassment of being wrong – the gift of contributing
The sacrifice that hurts – the sunk costs, ignored
The sting of rejection – it’s not about me
The fullness of failure – the relief of a new day

The discipline to master – the relief of rhythm
The adventure that paralyses – who could I become?
The fear of the unknown – the bravery of trying
The ache of weariness – the choice to turn inward

The unease of difference – the you in me
The chasm between us – what bridge can I build?
The conversation to have – the connection to create
Another blank page – a chance to just see what I think, follow the Muse, break the rules, feel the frustration, push through the Resistance, share something, get it wrong, hear what resonates, and try again the next day.