Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a passionate conversation or discussion—at work or in your personal sphere—keeping your mouth shut to avoid the possibility of an uncomfortable confrontation?
Confession time: I have. A lot. I haaaaate arguing, fighting, even heated debates. Always have, since I was a kid. I particularly dislike being in the middle of the mayhem, with disapproving looks or negative comments being hurled at me.
(Who does, right? But some people seem to enjoy the heat of the debate, or at least don’t shy away from it. Not me.)
Unfortunately, my disdain for discomfort has often kept my voice silent and my opinions out of the mix. This applies to work, home, childcare, even school situations. When important decisions or changes have happened, I’ve sometimes stepped back and let others make the calls while I silently questioned their choices. Later, I wished I had spoken up, because my insights might have made all the difference and led us to a more beneficial outcome.
A few examples of times when I didn’t speak up and regretted it later:
- In my ad agency days, the male creative director and mostly male team pitched a really terrible creative campaign for a product targeting women. Relating to menstrual periods, no less. I knew the concept would go over like a lead balloon with consumers, but I only mildly expressed my hesitation and the pitch turned into terrible advertising in the marketplace. (Yet, they won an ad industry award for it … that’s another story for another day.)
- Years ago, at my daughter’s first preschool, the school’s director/owner approached me in the lobby at pickup time with a very private, totally misinformed medical “diagnosis” of my daughter. Other parents streamed around me, picking up their kids. I just stood there with my daughter, stunned and confused, feeling like a truck had plowed into me. Later, after several medical professionals debunked this school director’s theory, I never said anything to her about how inappropriate or upsetting her verbal assault was. Turns out, she was 100% looney tunes and the school eventually closed.
- At home, I have taken on many household responsibilities and tasks without even asking my husband to pitch in. Sure, I would resent the hell out of doing everyone’s laundry, dishes, etc., but I didn’t say anything until I was about ready to explode. Once I actually voiced my concerns about our inequitable chore arrangements, and my husband was in the right place to hear me, we were able to bring a little more balance to our home life.
- I have purchased countless products or services over the years that turned out to be defective, less than desirable, or just not right for me. Yet I’ve almost never returned them or complained to the company I bought them from. I just shrugged my shoulders and ate the cost.
Lesson learned from all these experiences: I would have felt better and gotten much better results by speaking my mind. Telling people what I think. Making my unique, important voice heard. Creating the change I want to see in the world.
Bonus: By contributing my thoughts to a situation or conversation, I’m empowering other women and girls around me to do the same. If you see a woman you respect offering her point of view, you feel more confident about doing it.
So speak up, my friends! Let’s make our opinions known and make good things happen in the world.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of ProOpinion. The opinions and text are all mine.
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