It is hard to find the right words to say right now.
With so much heaviness in the world right now, it is easy to feel lost and sad. We are in a state of awakening and it feels uncomfortable... which it should.
We are being asked to listen to stories we have previously ignored or forgotten about.
We are being asked to evaluate our past actions and ingrained beliefs. We are being asked to witness atrocities and pain that we would rather turn away from. We are being asked to speak up for those who have lost their lives and no longer have a voice.
It is a season for true change and there is a lot of work to be done.
Over the weekend, I received a DM asking me WHY, when we have a powerful platform at our fingertips, did I choose to stay silent?
In full transparency, I was annoyed.
When I watched the video of George Floyd's arrest (and as hard as it was to do I watched the whole thing), I was devastated. No man, regardless of the color of his skin, should be treated in that way. But here was a man, begging for his life, being ignored, filmed, and ultimately killed... right before my eyes.
Even though I was quiet on social media, I was taking action.
I was educating myself. I donated to causes that aligned with my values and my desire to start affecting change. I watched as countless #BlackLivesMatter posts flooded my feed and began following BIPOC (Black, Indigenous People of Color) leaders who were sharing valuable insights.
Still, I felt woefully underprepared to step into the arena and share my feelings.
Watching the George Floyd video had left me raw and emotional. I felt like I had so much to learn. In short, I was afraid to screw up and come across as insincere, or worse, just another "white-privilege influencer" checking a vanity post off her list.
But I missed the point... my voice can go places that others can't.
Our actions matter.
Regardless of the size of your audience, you are an influencer and you have influence.
Since I have been asked multiple times today "how do I show up when my heart feels so heavy?" I want to share some of the valuable lessons I have learned in this past week.
1) How you choose to use your influence is up to you.
We live in a "call-out culture" where people feel like they can say whatever they want and provoke us into speaking up. I don't agree with that. Yes, I was pushed outside my comfort zone and felt forced to speak before I was ready, but I am thankful I did. That may not be the same for you... and that is also okay.
If you are struggling to find your voice, ask yourself:
Dig deeper and be honest with yourself. Be willing to do the unsexy work and look at your programming.
2) It is time for us to LISTEN, EDUCATE, and ASK yourself "How can I DO Better"?
It is NOT the time to be asking Black and POC friends or leaders for advice and/or resources. That is not their job or responsibility and we all have Google.
They are already fighting a war when they should be given the space to grieve and heal. We need to be the ones supporting THEM.
Watch, comment, and acknowledge those we are leading and creating valuable resources.
3) Take ACTION, every day.
You won't always do the right thing.
You won't always say things perfectly.
You may need to learn a new vocabulary and unlearn your way of being.
You may ruffle the feathers of your friends and family.
Be willing to get uncomfortable, to make mistakes, and most importantly learn when you mess up.
For now, share resources.
Vote for leaders who will unite and enforce the rights of Black and POC lives.
Support BIPOC businesses.
Don't stay quiet when you see injustices happening.
There are so many options and ways to lead.
You don't need to stand in the spotlight in order to wield your influence.
But you do need to do the deeper work to figure out where you stand and get clear on how you are willing to show up.
Now, when it comes to your business and navigating your feelings, ultimately you are the leader.
If you are glued to your phone right now and feeling drained, it's okay to take a step back and regroup. Don't post because you feel like you "have to". Don't post because you are looking for approval. Make sure that you are in alignment with your actions and your words.
We can not undo 400+ years of oppressive history in a single week.
That's not how anti-racism works. We need to take the time to learn, feel, integrate, and ultimately fight for change.
Remember that transformation takes time but change happens with a single step.
So, I ask: what step are you ready to take today?
Sending you love and waves of gratitude.
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