One thing I love about writing this blog is the response I get from those who read what I’m writing. Over the past month, I’ve made some changes that make responding to the post easier – and people have taken the opportunity to answer the question I’ve posed.
In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her companions set off to see the wizard on the yellow brick road. As they enter the scary forest, they chant the well-known phrase, “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” As I considered the challenge of upper limit problems, limiting beliefs, and fears, I was hearing their chant in my head.
It was early 1981. I’d graduated from college June 1980, after a disastrous student teaching experience. I got married in October of that year and was looking for my first “real” job. The disastrous student teaching experience really sunk my confidence; I’d wanted to teach ever since my freshman year of high school. I didn’t know where to look. On top of that, our country was in a recession, so jobs weren’t plentiful.
I did it to myself. After a busy weekend taking care of family responsibilities and having a little R&R, I opened my calendar Monday morning. As I reviewed my day and my week, I looked at a meeting happening Monday evening. It wasn’t my meeting, but I provide some leadership development for this group. I knew there was some homework that wasn’t done to support an important discussion at the meeting, so I set aside my business to do list to work on the assignment.
“Words matter. Choose them wisely.” This advice was shared with me over and over by the pastor I worked with several years ago. He impressed upon me the importance of choosing my words carefully, as the meaning they conveyed shaped others response to me and the vision we were working toward.
During a recent webinar presentation, Own Your Voice, Change the World, someone posed a thought-provoking question. They asked how to make your voice heard in a male-dominated organization.
We’ve all heard the saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” As I ponder the leadership experiences and conversations I’ve had over the past several weeks, I believe there is a time and a place for this, but we also need to recognize there are other things at play. As leaders, we need to be deeply aware of our context and also aware of the time and place to challenge the status quo, potentially ending current practices and starting something new.
The last few weeks have been pretty crazy. Last Thursday, I did a webinar for WELD (Women for Economic and Leadership Development) on owning your voice so you can make a bigger impact. Developing that took much more time than I’d expected! The message was well-received. I can’t wait to share it with more people.
A few days ago I had this interchange on Facebook Messenger with an old friend who’d recently joined Facebook:
Friend: “Hi Rhonda. Do you ever look at other ways of making money?”
Me: That is a wide-open question. What are you thinking? And at this point, I’m pretty happy where I am. I’m doing what I feel God has created and called me to do. But I’m curious.