These are crazy times. Right? It feels like everyone is shouting and no one feels heard.
I spent the last 15 years of my life publishing community newspapers. I just finished printing my last issue getting ready to change course in my life path and I’m realizing both the price I’ve paid and the perspective I’ve gained through that experience. (Hang with me for a minute.)
My publications were privately owned. No one dictated the opinions expressed. They were MY publications. As the owner, I could have done anything I wanted with the editorial. Of course, in doing so, I would have alienated certain readers or advertisers, but still, I could have made that choice.
People in the community saw me as a leader because of the role I played and the platform I had at my fingertips.
My opinion mattered to people, but I rarely shared it.
I always felt a very strong obligation to keep my opinions to myself. To stay neutral. To present all sides. I didn’t filter information based on whether it was something I thought should be promoted or not promoted. I saw that as my responsibility as a publisher. To provide a platform for as many people as I could. To keep my own agenda out of it.
The downside to that is that for 15 years, I haven’t heard my own voice. I haven’t dared to choose or to express my own opinion on a variety of issues. It’s like there’s a line drawn in the sand and I’m not sure how to cross it.
The upside is that I have learned how to see all sides. To welcome different opinions, different perspectives. To not judge something or someone too early. To observe and attempt to relate to different people.
Problem is that I’m reaching a new stage where the wisdom of time and experience gives a whole new strength to my opinions and my voice. Where it actually feels like a responsibility to speak up, to make my choices and to make them known. To share my experience and knowledge and perspective. And, to not tip-toe around trying to ensure everyone else is comfortable with my voice.
It’s going to take some practice. Some mistakes. Some courage.
If you’re sitting in the same boat – I hope you will join me in finding your voice. In learning how to express it with strength and courage while simultaneously offering an open ear and an open mind. It matters.
Our crazy world needs it. Don’t you think?