We are in interesting times…Times where we often hear or believe that people have become too sensitive, taking offense to “every little thing.” Times where we often hear or believe that it’s good that we’re finally becoming more sensitive, recognizing the damage of perpetuating and propagating stereotypes and reinforcing “norms”.
If your Facebook feed looks anything like mine, there are many conversations happening about racial injustice, gender inequality, the nature of true freedom, the dance of speaking boldly while listening deeply, what kind of changes we want to see in our world, and of course…politics.
These conversations can take on a polarizing nature, calling forth people’s shame, conscious and unconscious biases, fear, anger, pain, and passion.
These conversations can spark division, and yet something is rising in the collective and it seems these conversations need to happen. Furthermore, they are happening.
In the face of this polarization, it can feel scary to voice our perspectives on any topic:
…what if someone challenges us and we don’t know what to say?
…what if we lose rapport because people don’t agree?
…what if we offend people, unintentionally?
…what if we’re judged for being shallow, insincere, insensitive, or inarticulate?
…what if our perspectives are actually contributing to the problem?
We may even find it difficult to share our beliefs because they’re shifting by the day, dissolving again and again into the chrysalis of uncertainty.
So, how do we take a clear stand?
As we navigate these times, it’s critical that we continue to voice our inspired ideas and deepest truths, while being open to shifting our perspectives, and willing to articulate those changes in perspective.
- Shutting down and tuning-out when confronted by shame, confusion, or resistance remove our important voices from important conversations (and yes, even our questions are a valuable contribution).
- Ignoring the aspects of our work or messaging that feel misaligned stunts (even harms) individual growth or collective progress.
- Shutting out the perspectives of others that don’t match ours limits our ability to understand, empathize, and ultimately come together (and often signals a deeper fragility or rigidity within ourselves).
- Avoiding or shutting down pain and anger within ourselves and others is antithetical to leading with love and compassion and prevents us from healing.
- Being willing to shift our [often deeply held] perspectives, even if it means facing periods of painful uncertainty, is a sign of true leadership.
- Acknowledging our changes in perspective and apologizing for ways we may have caused harm does not translate to “being hard on ourselves” or “revealing weakness”.
Leadership isn’t about knowing everything or always hitting the mark. On the contrary, it’s about standing for something we care about, and allowing the journey of taking that stand to shape us. @AskNisha (Click to Tweet!)
We shape and reshape our views.
Leadership requires courage, curiosity, humility, receptivity, and a commitment to true, deep alignment.
In light of my commitment to leading with these values…
…To the woman I was in dialogue with on Facebook years ago, who felt excluded by my definition and use of the word “feminine”…
…To my friend whose husband emailed me and asked, “But what about mothers? How can they achieve mental clarity without space in their mornings?”…
…To any trans women who have felt excluded by my invitations into sisterhood, because of any ways it may have appeared that my work only welcomes cis women…
I’m sorry for any and all the ways that I’ve ever been insensitive.
I’m sorry for not including you, clearly, explicitly.
You are welcome here, always.
Thank you for being my teachers.
In the comments below, I’d love to hear how these times are impacting your voice and self-expression. Are you finding it challenging? Inspiring? I’d love to hear from you.
Nisha Moodley is a Women’s Leadership Coach and the creator of Fierce Fabulous Free, The Freedom Mastermind & The Virtual Sisterhood. Inspired by the belief that the world will be set free by women who are free & sisterhood is key to a woman’s freedom, Nisha creates communities of ambitious women to support them in redesigning their lives & businesses. Find her online at NishaMoodley.com and download her free Take Flight Action Guide to explore the next expansion of your freedom at TakeFlightActionGuide.com. You can follow Nisha on Twitter or FB.
Image courtesy of ROBIN WORRALL.