Leadership for a Better World: Owning Our Voices
We all can be leaders in our own lives. Leadership is a behavior, not a title. Those of you reading this want to build a better world, enhance human lives, and bring about positive social change. Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, your voice matters.
Many components compose a leader. The component I’ll be talking about today is our own voice. Many of us, including myself, bite our tongue when we feel strongly about something, so we don’t ruffle any feathers. No one likes confrontation, but there’s a reason you feel passionately about what you believe in.
I’ve been in a countless amount of situations where I wanted to speak up, but I didn’t. Whether it was because of fear of judgment, fear of rejection, or fear of being perceived as rude, I didn’t do it.
Let me give you an example. About a year ago, I participated in a startup competition at the University of Oregon to receive funding for The Better World Challenge. I received mentorship from a community member who completely discredited what I was hoping to build. He told me that if I wanted to globally make a difference, I should just become a surgeon or get rich instead of creating an insignificant advocacy organization.
These words hit deep. I dropped out of the startup competition, which rattled me so much that I decided not to present my idea in my other business class. I had missed out on an opportunity to share why I was starting The Better World Challenge. Unfortunately, I didn’t let myself share with the world the message of The Better World Challenge. To challenge ourselves to become better humans and bring about real tangible change for our world.
So here I am, about a year later writing to you on the BWC blog. Still fighting, kicking, and screaming to build a better world. My hope for those of you reading this is to remember why you’re starting that organization or speaking up for social justice. My friend Katie commented on my Instagram post about being me and said: “Speak your truth, even when your voice shakes.” That’s a brilliant reminder that our message may not be the most eloquent, but it’s imperative to speak our truth.
Let this be a reminder to you to speak your truth. Be the person who the universe created, not someone else. There is only one you in the world, and you’re the best at it. Be a leader, show up for what you believe in, and care for others. Together, if we all bring our best selves to the table, we can bring about real tangible change.