As the age-old saying goes, we need to get a whole lot better at ‘walking a mile in one another’s shoes’ first…
Given that phrases like ‘call out culture’ have weaved their way into our consciousness and ‘trolls’ are no longer dolls with crazy hair that you played with as a kid (but real people that project their insecurities in the dark spaces of the web… or in your DMs!) I wouldn’t blame you one bit if you told me that you were scared of saying or doing the wrong thing in today’s viral world.
Trust me, I get it..!
In fear of saying or standing for the wrong thing however, we’re muting ourselves and not standing for anything at all. That or we’re reacting before we’ve even stopped to acknowledge how we’ve acted (not to mention others’ circumstances, the wider context, the origin of the source etc…) jumping on the bandwagon of whoever’s shouting the loudest, in fear of not being seen to ‘show up’.
Either way, we’re running scared.
And that, in my opinion, is stifling us all.
Whilst social media has helped to shed light on so many important issues that have needed to be addressed (and activism always comes with its fair share of radicalism which helps to create urgency and highlight the need for change) its severing lens leaves no room for anything but good or bad. In or out. Agree or disagree. Rise or fall.
– A breeding ground for clickbait campaigns demanding immediate retribution –
And yet life, as we all know, is not designed for ‘one size fits all.’
If we’re serious about creating the systems and structures that are necessary to implement the change we want to see, it requires us to have conversations. Conversation requires a willingness to listen to all sides (not to mention an understanding that opinions aren’t fact – fact!) And a willingness to listen to all sides must allow room for us to learn and the space to move forward and evolve with that knowledge in tow.
Which leads me to ask, is Instagram a fitting host for that conversation?
Ultimately, there’s not a single business owner out there (or person for that matter) who will have got to where they are today without making mistakes. There is not a business owner (or person) out there who has got to where they are today by ticking every box. And I’m quietly confident that there is not a business owner (or person) out there who views the world today in exactly the same way that they did five years ago.
(Not even the person on your Instagram feed who is SHOUTING THE LOUDEST!)
So if you do find yourself losing sleep over ‘what ifs’ or the fear of being ‘called out’ or you’re staying silent because you’re worried that your words will be misconstrued, remember that no-one can take your lived experience away from you. Nor can they take away your voice and your right to learn as you grow.
In my opinion, the only we’re going to navigate the current fear of ‘getting it wrong’ is by listening to one another and moving the conversation that naturally follows to a space that both acknowledges and holds space for life’s nuance.
Not to mention being honest with ourselves, our customers and each other, always.
(Because when we share our truth, we have nothing to hide.)
For us, there will never be a final iteration of She can. She did. A moment where I put my feet up and say to myself, “bloody hell Fi, you’ve nailed it!” Rather, the elements that make up She can. She did. will evolve and build alongside the resilience of the business owners that we support.
Final letter to follow…