Speaking your mind… it can be risky business

“Nobody loves me, everybody hates me.

Think I’ll go and eat worms.


Remember that jingle from childhood?  That’s how I felt after speaking out at a meeting recently.

I am so used to people liking me and respecting my opinion, so it is hard to take when folks are hostile; don’t want to hear what you have to say and choose to leave you out of the discussion. I am sure part of it was that they didn’t like my feedback as it was contrary to what they believed and more to the point, wanted to do.

Speaking your truth

It would have been so much easier I am sure if I just went along with the crowd, and voted in their favour, but I have to sleep at night.  I have to be true to myself, and I pride myself in being loyal to an organization that will be negatively impacted by the decision they want to make.

In the past I would have chosen to take the easy way out and said nothing.  I would just go with the flow. Harmony, is something I value, so I would go to great lengths to achieve it, sometimes at the cost of my own beliefs and I think as women we opt for compromise and consensus because it leads to more harmony.

Getting comfortable with discomfort

I remember years ago forming a committee to spearhead a new award program for women.  I purposefully selected women who were leaders in their profession.  Good idea, or so it seemed at the time, but try reaching consensus with women used to leading the way; to having their voice heard and followed. It was challenging to say the least.

Certainly as an entrepreneur, I admit I am used to making my decisions without too much consultation.  That strategy doesn’t work when you are part of a volunteer board, each with an equal voice on what happens.  So not only does it take longer to reach consensus, but you don’t always get your own way.  Sometimes you have to go with the flow.

However, when you feel strongly about something, then you owe it to yourself to speak out.  But that takes courage.  It’s risky business, especially when it is with your peers.  Let’s just say I am not going to be on their Christmas card list. And since I doubt I will win them over to my point of view, I have a choice.  Do I shut up and stay involved, or do I move on – and go eat worms?

Unfortunately I have let this negativity colour my days. I have let it infiltrate my thoughts, and while I am working hard to shake it off, it lingers.  My decision – I have decided to vote myself off the island. I won’t play in their sandbox.

As someone who is the pleaser, it is actually good to realize that when it is important, I can put myself out there, take a risk and say something that is true for me, even if it is not going to please everyone, or anyone for that matter.

My new mantra – “To thine own self be true.”  As for the worms, guess I could go fishing!

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