Advance. Don't retreat.
Why do you do it, Lorna? Why do you talk openly about the things that you're passionate about? Why do you get involved in debates on social media? Why do you put yourself out there? Why did you leave a job you loved and were great at to start a business from scratch?
Who knows. My husband would tell you that I am 'scrappy' (I think that's a compliment Chandler once paid Monica in Friends, and not a Scooby Doo reference). I've been told I'm 'fearless' and 'brave', but that's not true. I am fearful every day. Building a business is truly scary.
But here's a belief I cultivate: Advance. Don't retreat. Get out into the world and do what you believe is right. Try. Fail. Keep trying, keep failing. Thats how you learn. That's how we progress. I believe that we need to engage more in conversation and debate, rather than hide away in our safety zones, and have real conversations. So, just like they tell you on the London Underground, if I see something, I say something. If I believe I can do something, or I really want to do something, I will get out there and try.
A good friend of mine told me that I shouldn't be open about speaking out passionately about the things that matter to me (women at work, positive change, equality, politics) because people in business don't like it. As if I haven't been a person in business for twenty years.
What I think he meant was that it's safer to be vanilla. Don't have an opinion, don't stand out. Don't. Be. You.
I recently saw a post on LinkedIn asking whether people should share their hobbies on their CV - and a bunch of comments advising against it. In case people learn something about ' the real you'.
People who impart this type of advice will tell you it's 'sensible', 'practical', 'this is just the way of the world'. But I disagree. These beliefs that if you share too much of yourself bad things will happen are driven by fear. Fear of vulnerability. Fear of rejection. Fear of success, even.
These are normal human fears - they're inbuilt in most social mammals in fact. They've kept us alive in groups for millennia. But like lots of these evolutionary responses, they don't serve us so well today.
Today, more than ever, the world is ripe for those who want to say something or do something. Technology means that having a voice or creating something is more possible than it ever was. And there's so much that needs changing, needs involvement, needs championing.
We are a long time dead and, frankly, we never know when that time will come. Why would you not be your truest, bravest, most authentic self as soon as you possibly can, in every way that you can?
Your playing small does not serve the world.
Advance. Don't retreat.