How many times have you heard somebody say 'oh, but I didn't have a choice - nobody would have listened to me anyway' - and so they simply went along with the flow in the boardroom or at the pointy end of a transaction?
How many times have you thought this yourself when it came to a big decision? 'I didn't really have a choice'.
The truth is, we all have a choice.
We can own our expertise, and share it openly with others, from a place of wanting to add value and a willingness to engage. Or - we can sit comfortably (and condescendingly) silent, keeping our knowledge and insight to ourselves, waiting to be asked.
Worst of all, we get frozen in no-man's land, that aforementioned place of no self-confidence; 'why would anyone be interested in what I have to say?'.
Your opinion does matter.
Your views are unique to you, your thoughtful voice is your gift and YOU matter. You matter because when you own your voice and speak up, you are an integral part of driving change. Change is vital for yourself and others, for your business unit and your enterprise.
Whether we are paving our own entrepreneurial path, following a corporate career dream, raising a family or continually learning to be the best we can be, the impact that we can have on those immediately around us and the decisions being made is significant and should never be underestimated.
Every action we take, every word that we speak, has the ability to influence others and in turn, the decisions being made at that moment in time.
Above all, we are in this together - and your personal success is there to be created if you collaborate openly and willingly, with complete, honest and full disclosure. You have the ability to influence one to one, many to many, more to more. Your team, your colleagues, your leaders, your children, their friends, your friends, your family; but true influence requires one critical thing - for you to speak up.
Too often people sit back and say nothing when something needs to be said. They may have an idea that contradicts mass opinion, or an insight that will add to group thought - but instead of speaking up they keep quiet. Why?
It comes down to fear.
If you don't speak out, you are not leaning out, being brave, or showing willingness to have courageous conversations and contribute to the collaborative experience. You are not creating the space to gift your knowledge, thoughts, opinions or expertise to others. You are not enabling an opportunity for others to listen, learn and add value to your thought process.
By staying silent you may end up being a detrimental influence on the very people you don't wish to harm. You have the chance to influence through inspiring, shifting and creating movement. All you have to do is speak.
In the words of Vera Nzarina, author of The Duke in His Castle:
'Yawns are not the only infectious things out there besides germs. Giggles can spread from person to person. So can blushing. But maybe the most powerful infections thing is the act of speaking the truth.'
You have a voice. Use it. Be part of the evolution and change your game.
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