Don't Be Quiet


We are into the second month of our New Year resolutions. If you are like most, you are still waiting to execute the promises you made, or have already decided that you never should have made those promises in the first place. I understand it because I am in the same place, or was in the same place, until recently.

If you bear with me, I'll share my insight. I tend to be deliberate and analytical, often holding back my expression until I feel secure that it is appropriate or correct. Makes for good lawyering, but keeps me passive or muted in social and, even in scholarly discussions. My New Year resolution was to be more self-expressed and less controlled in making my voice heard outside the courtroom. The goal was to offer my perspective while facing down the fear of opposition, or difference, or snickering from the audience. If you are not plagued with such fears, your courage far exceeds mine.

The opportunity presented itself in the past few weeks. True to form, I sat quietly in a seminar listening to the opinions of participants. I could feel the familiar restraint on positing a different point of view and interjecting another query on the topic. But, what if I were wrong? What if it appeared sophomoric, even stupid? There they were, the usual lock-downs on my expression. The pressure and agitation kept building, while my brain battled with my mouth to speak up!

The shift came automatically. I don't remember raising my hand, but do remember that I had to. I got recognized and spoke. There was no laughing, no booing, no one threw rotten tomatoes. What did follow was a lively discussion, more points of view, and more queries on the issues. Did I start that? Who knows and who cares? What I viewed is what can occur when you don't stifle yourself (as Archie Bunker would advise).

If I leave you with one idea from this narrative, it is to let your thoughts be heard. Your voice does matter. It adds to the conversation, stirs the discussion, and introduces another perspective. Your statement really does make a difference.

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