June 26, 2019

Don't wait for someone else to speak up



Once upon a time, I was getting on the freeway at an onramp near my home, and for the nth time, was nearly sideswiped by a car entering in the lane next to me. This onramp has two left turn lanes to enter the freeway, but once you begin the turn, the lane markings disappear.

If someone doesn't realize there are two lanes, it's very easy for them to drift from the left into the right lane. Accident waiting to happen.

So I contacted CalTrans on their website and shared my concern (they have a form just for these kinds of suggestions), and I received an auto-reply that my concern would be investigated. Exciting! But would it, really?

Less than a month later, I was getting on the freeway at this onramp, and suddenly realized that the entrance lanes were now demarcated with raised pavement markers!

(Here's a little factoid for you: These markers are called Botts' Dots.)

This was a small win, personally, but it made a big impact on all the drivers entering the freeway on that very busy street.

And I had had little faith that my concern would actually be heard and acted upon.

What are you longing to speak up about? What issue do you care deeply about, but feel powerless or afraid to address?

And what's holding you back?

  • Discomfort around being seen and heard? 
  • Fear of reprisal? 
  • Weariness from being ignored in the past? 
  • Apprehension about shocking people?
  • Belief that nothing will happen? 
  • Confusion about what's the next right action to take?

I hear you and I see you!

There are as many reasons NOT to speak up as there are to speak up.

Like you, I've suffered the emotional consequence of speaking up and being ignored or chastised. I've also experienced the incredible reward of speaking up and seeing change happen.

It's easy to sit back and wait for someone else to complain.

Or to share a post on Facebook and think we've done our civic duty to speak out on an issue (it's a start).

But someone else won't complain. Or not enough people will speak up. Or a lot of people will speak up, but not effectively enough to get other people to take action.

Sometimes we just don't care enough to speak up until we personally have been affected by an issue (like my unsafe neighborhood onramp). That's okay! Pick your battles. You can't fix everything, but you can take baby steps toward effecting change. You just have to participate in the conversation.

And... this is important... you have to be willing to take action and share action steps with others. Because the biggest frustration when we want change is not knowing HOW to take action. This is what knocks back the best of us from speaking out when we want to!

Want to learn how to effectively speak up in just a few easy steps?

Join my #SpeakingUpForChange 5-day Challenge here! We start Monday, July 22.

Have you stepped out of your comfort zone and spoken up lately?

Share it, use the hashtag #speakingupforchange, and tag me!


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