One of the best parts of my job is working with women who are starting their own businesses, or those who are setting new and challenging personal goals. And there’s a pattern I’ve seen in many situations, that I wanted to share with you. Because chances are, you’ve run into it too.
It’s about understanding when it’s time to speak up when we see something go off course, and when to hold back. It’s a common theme for women. We question whether what we’re seeing is really off, or if we’re just imagining it.
Someone is disrespectful and we think, “Did I just imagine that?” or “I must be over-reacting.”
We feel uncomfortable as our co-workers or employees are gossiping, and we know they shouldn’t be. Instead of being the one who stands out and calls them on it, we walk away. Either too shy, too busy or too nervous to say something.
We have a feeling that our vision isn’t being heard or respected. We could pull everyone together to talk about anything that’s unclear and to reignite passion, or we could pull back and keep quite so we don’t seem too “bossy”.
And because we run into this often, I want to share what I’ve learned through my work:
Holding back is never a good idea. Ever.
Yep. I said it that directly.
And here’s why: If you feel uncomfortable, there’s a reason. I have yet to see a woman who’s “spidey senses are tingling” who’s that far off.
Now, I’m not saying you run around declaring a “crisis” every time you feel like something is wrong. But you can take a few minutes or hours to gather a bit of information, ask some questions and find out what’s going on.
Let those senses guide you. You have them for a reason, and they serve you.
Then there is the second part of this equation. Acting on what you find and what you see. Taking action and doing something about the situation is the harder part for most of us.
For example: Gossip has ruined friendships, harmed families and brought down entire organizations. Making sure we don’t participate in it is one thing, but we must require that those around us don’t do it either.
Looking away when we see something dishonest happening doesn’t help anyone, and it hurts us because we get included in the dishonesty by default. If you know it’s happening, and you don’t do something, you’re silently giving permission for it to continue.
Your courage is so needed in the world.
It’s up to you to call “foul” when you see someone being treated badly. It’s up to you to call a meeting when the team isn’t organized. It’s up to you to talk to your kids when you find out they’ve been missing school, drinking or using drugs. It’s up to you to ask your friends not to gossip.
You deserve to speak up. It can be scary, sure. But most things worth having are a little scary. That doesn’t mean those things are wrong or that we shouldn’t do them. Discomfort is almost always followed by growth. So get uncomfortable, it’s OK.
If you’re reading this, you’re one of the women out there who’s following your dreams and working towards growing yourself and your goals.
That alone makes you a leader.
Those around you look to you as an example, and as someone who already has more courage than most. The world needs you to keep that up by speaking up and acting when it’s required. You’re up to great things, and courage is the foundation.
Go get ’em.