What would happen to our democracy if women never voiced their opinion or stood up for something or someone they believed in? What if every one of us deflected our responsibility and said, “I’m sure someone else more qualified will speak up on this!”
And when is it appropriate as a professional brand to get political on social media or with the press?
Often clients ask me if it’s okay to post opinion pieces on their blog that may be “controversial.” I say that if there’s something you really want to talk about and the topic somehow relates to your brand, then it’s your responsibility to speak up. More people, especially women need to also write and submit op-eds to local, regional and national publications.
Part of what often silences my female clients is that they succumb to the “Imposter Syndrome,” where they tell themselves that they aren’t knowledgeable enough on a subject, or that they don’t have something unique enough to say. I have to silence this voice in my head almost daily. I try to take my own advice, which tells me that I’m the only one with my unique set of life experiences and my perspective is unique, so if I help one person or bring new angle to a topic, then it’s worth the effort.
Chief Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was in the news this week because she publicly voiced her negative opinions on Trump’s Presidential candidacy. She is entitled to her opinions as a US citizen, but as a Chief Justice, she is expected to stay politically neutral when in the public eye. So for the Notorious RBG, this was off-brand for her to get political in a public forum. I worry that the verbal flogging she received from media and the Hill will send a message to women that we should be afraid to take a stance or speak out on something important to us. That isn’t the point. You just need to speak up using your authentic brand voice, using media that is appropriate for your position / profession. Whatever voice you want to use, bold, contemplative or whatever, just make sure it aligns with the persona you want to put out to the world, and always keep your core values in mind.
Several years ago, I attended a WoodHull Institute program called Democracy 911. It was a boot camp hosted by Naomi Wolf that helped us develop our voices on issues that matter to us, and learn how to structure an op-ed. There’s no time like the present for us all to think about writing op-eds and blogs. And record videos for your website, YouTube etc! There’s no secret to getting published other than persistence and a good editor, and rejection doesn’t mean failure.
The world needs your voice and perspective. In fact, you are depriving the world of your something special if you don’t speak up.
Need some coaching or resources on writing Op-Eds? Check out the http://www.theopedproject.org/!
And remember the saying, Well-behaved women rarely make history.