Sending last week’s newsletter was scary. I wrote and rewrote it half a dozen times. I showed it to a few people to get their feedback. One wanted me to speak more forcefully. One warned me that sending it would negatively impact my business. Though I knew she could be right, it was a consequence I was willing to accept.
I held my breath as the responses began to come in. As I read the first line, “I have to be honest, I would not have expected someone in your position to speak on this.” My whole body tensed bracing for the backlash. But instead, he explained that most people stay out of the discussion and then said, “I sincerely respect you speaking on it. Takes courage and confidence.”
I exhaled. 8 minutes later, another email with words of appreciation for sharing my thoughts.
11 minutes later I heard from someone I went to business school with who said, “I’m not sure what to say but I’m so very sorry for your pain and sorrow.”
The responses continued to come in, appreciating the words I shared, offering me support, and one even thanked me for “being a courageous treasure.”
And still I waited for the other shoe to drop.
Late in the afternoon I received a longer email from a man who, as he put it, is “an African – American man with a Hebrew name.” His vulnerability and raw response made me wish I could physically hug him. He shared, “I need to understand, need to get over my inhibitions to not be silent, even ignorant…” before thanking me for using my voice.
I am so grateful to everyone who read and responded. I spoke to one reader who revealed she was afraid of saying the wrong this. Boy, do I get that!
I told her all she needed to do was say you care. Reach out to those who you feel may be hurting and tell them you are thinking about them. That small, but incredibly meaningful gesture, makes a monumental difference.
I appreciate those who saw my words as courage and helped me see it that way too. Always wanting my weekly musings to bring some lessons anyone can apply to their own life; I will leave you with this idea for reflection…
Where in your life do you want to embrace the courage to speak up or take action?
Next week, I will talk about embracing courage as well as humility, vulnerability, and discipline when embarking on the coaching journey as I talk about the long awaited, Wall Street Journal bestselling book, Becoming Coachable.