Paula’s boss calls for an emergency meeting. There’s been a technical incident at the factory. Everyone’s bouncing off ideas on how to fix the situation.
Some ideas seem complex. Others sound technically unfeasible. In the middle of the discussion, Paula thinks of a simple solution.
But she pauses. In her mind, she swings between “This seems so straight forward, surely they must’ve already thought of this?” and “I’m sure it’ll fix the problem.”
After going back and forth, she finally decides to put herself out there and shares her idea.
The room goes quiet. Paula thinks she’s just made a fool of herself. After a few seconds, her boss says, “That’s a good idea!”
Sometimes we hold ourselves back from speaking up because we think we have nothing ‘insightful’ to contribute. We marginalize our own ideas because they seem ‘obvious’.
Don’t devalue your point of view. Share your opinions knowing that they matter, even if they seem obvious to you!
Your opinions matter
You’re in your current job because someone believed in your ability to contribute. Be assured that it’s almost never because they wanted to do you a favor. They spent time and effort thinking about the right person for this role.
Because of that effort, they were excited to bring you onboard. So, not only do they think you’re smart enough to contribute, they expect you to do it often.
Your boss wants your inputs!
So have the faith in yourself that someone else has in you. Give your opinions without worrying about whether others will agree with you or not.
After all, your piece of the puzzle may be the missing piece. And if you don’t say it, you could regret it later.
“What if I don’t have something brilliant to say?”
Some of us set the bar really high for ourselves – we even secretly take pride in it. We expect ourselves to come up with brilliant comments every time we contribute. And if we can’t do that, we’d rather stay quiet.
The thing is… no one can come up with exceptional comments all the time. And certainly not in the beginning. It takes practice to get there. And even after that, you simply cannot be brilliant all the time.
Just do the best you can, every single time. What matters is that you consistently try. If you think of something brilliant to say, great – go ahead and say it. Other times, make a simple comment. That’s fine. Just do the best you can and participate consistently.
And who knows? Your comment may actually open the door for the team to arrive at the solution.
“What if my opinion is wrong?”
Aha! This is another common reason why women hold off from speaking up. We worry about what people will think of us if we say something wrong. But for most discussions, here’s the thing:
There is no ‘right’ opinion. It’s your opinion, and you’re entitled to one!
Your thoughts are unique to you. They’re the result of your creativity, intelligence, and experiences in life.
Every single human being thinks differently – it’s what makes us such an interesting species. If all of us had the same opinions, imagine how dull things would be!
When people contribute their unique thoughts, others learn from it and grow. So don’t try to second guess what others want to hear. Say what you believe.
If your colleague has a different opinion, great! That can only broaden your thinking, even if you don’t agree with it.
And if you see that you missed something basic, that’s ok too. Learn from it for next time. It’s the only way to keep improving!
Coming up next
Tomorrow we’ll see how your speaking up can inspire many others who are afraid to speak.
- Your opinions matter.
The person who put you in this job not only thought you’re smart enough to have good ideas, but expects to hear them often. Your boss needs your inputs to do their job better.
- Do the best you can, consistently.
No one can be brilliant all the time. Sometimes you make exceptional comments, and sometimes simple ones. That’s fine. Allow yourself to do the best you can, every single time.
- Your opinion is your perspective.
Don’t worry about whether your opinion is right or wrong. It’s your unique perspective, and the result of your experiences. So say it confidently.
- Do your daily Rekindle routine.
Voice your opinion, even if it’s to make a small comment.
Today, try contributing in a meeting or a social gathering. Make your best effort to make a comment. What if you don’t muster the courage at the last moment? That’s ok. Start afresh and try again next time. Be kind to yourself. And give yourself a pat on the back for trying – you’re on the right road! The only way to get better is by practicing and persisting. Eventually you’ll succeed, we promise!
Good job completing the lesson. We’ll see you here same time tomorrow.
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