You know we all want to change the world. Aptly written by John Lennon. I want a revolution, for sure. This week, I’ve been thinking and talking about what it means to speak up alot as I finish the bootcamp. Seems self explanatory, doesn’t it?
Most people, maybe you, envision someone getting a gleam in their eye, straightening their back and taking in a breath to give someone else a good piece of their mind with a righteous tone. Possibly yelling. A real table thumper. That’s their view of being assertive.
Speaking up is not about bullying
And, I can’t say I blame you if that’s your view, too. That’s the message we get as children that re-enforced on just about every cop and doctor show. Might makes right. The show, House, comes to mind. Could there be a more confusing message: Treat some people like shit in the name of saving other people and becoming a hero. Ehhhh, no.
I saw plenty of that kind of sanctimonious, ego-driven crap when I was a prosecuting doctors for misconduct. First, it totally enraged me to see men (yes, mainly men) behaving so badly. Slowly I realized it wasn’t a man thing. It was a doctor thing. Doctors get brainwashed. And, not in the good, peer pressure kinda of way.
More like in the ‘mega-mind, world domination’ kinda way. Their medical training is brutal. It required that they close down a portion of their humanity, stomp indecision to death and be supremely confident (or act like it anyway).
Lawyers are the same. I vividly recall my contracts prof telling me she was gonna strip us down and twist our minds to a new way of thinking. I used to joke that I was a ‘recovering’ lawyer and in some ways that’s true.
So, to be clear. Speaking up is not about bullying, marginalizing or threatening anyone. Rants work; I’m not gonna lie. Buttheads do get their way. But you’re better than that and so am I.
Speaking up is about
saying what’s true….
- for you
- in the moment
- to others kindly
- and to yourself!
Speaking up doesn’t have to be loud to be powerful. In fact, a whisper at the right moment catches everyone’s attention. (Remind me to tell you the one about the frat boys I lived with)
I love how my VA Melissa speaks up to me. She’s clear & friendly and without apology lets me know when I’ve crossed a line for her.
Our working relationship could’ve been doomed by my ‘last minute ideas’. But she spoke up. Now, I know that she likes her weekends free and wants more big picture so she can plan her work and mine. She’s never yells or is nasty to me and I get the message.
Why Speaking up works
Speaking up, saying your truth, works because you and your client have the same goals. To do great work together. That’s why they picked you. You promised that.
That means it’s your job as the self-employed person to lead and set kind boundaries for your clients. It’s also your job to embrace your clients. You can speak up about that in a patient, compassionate way.
Melissa and I both understand that to get the very best product (and she’s fab, let me tell you) there have to be kind boundaries set on both sides- client and trusted adviser.
What does speaking up mean to you?