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Stop Being Silent – Speak Up

My four-year-old son Grayson likes to narrate. He gives instructions to people he doesn’t know, tries to be “helpful” and keeps everyone informed.

Today we rode a miniature train Grayson has ridden many times. He has the instructions memorized. “Keep your arms and legs inside the train. Stay seated while the train is in motion, etc. etc.” While we were waiting to ride the train he informed everyone standing in line of the rules. The other parents were patient and indulged him, smiling and asking questions. When we got on the train Grayson continued to give instructions, and I became embarrassed.  Self-conscious that my son was irritating other passengers, I told him to be quiet. He looked at me and wisely asked, “Why are you shushing me?” And then I was even more embarrassed.

He was right to ask. Why, indeed, was I shushing him?

Before I had children, I always hoped my child would be one of those kids who wore superhero costumes everywhere, who didn’t care what anyone thought, who was unabashedly himself. And I wondered, at what age do kids become self-conscious? When do they begin to lose this level of self-expression? And then I had one answer, when adults tell them to.

I imposed an old ‘rule’ on my son, “children are meant to be seen and not heard.” Sit quietly. Don’t stand out and don’t inconvenience others.

Where are you sitting silent, stifling your views? What do you know a lot about, but keep your skills or expertise under wraps? When do you have a solution or a better way to approach a problem, but you don’t share?

Share your ideas. Do it in a way that doesn’t tell others they are wrong. It’s ok to have the answer. You can be right without being righteous. It’s ok to speak up.

About 

Shari Harley is the founder and President of Candid Culture, a Denver-based training firm that is bringing candor back to the workplace, making it easier to give feedback at work. Shari is the author of the business communication book How to Say Anything to Anyone: A Guide to Building Business Relationships that Really Work. She is a keynote speaker at conferences and does training throughout the U.S. Learn more about Shari Harley and Candid Culture’s training programs at www.candidculture.com.

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One Response to “Stop Being Silent – Speak Up”

  1. I LOVE this blog today, thank you so much for such a wonderful reminder!

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