Make this your year to speak up

Updated to Business on December 29, 2022.

The world is screwed.

Let’s face it, we Boomers have raped and pillaged until our bellies are full, a clown is about to lead the free world and by the time our children reach 20 they’ve spent more time glued to screens than looking at the sky or walking in the woods.

That wasn’t the plan.

Our utopian vision of the future is off track and we need a new path.

And the myth of technology saving the day is, well, just that – a myth. Believe me, we won’t find happiness once our cars drive themselves or computers are the size of a finger nail.

But one thing will make a difference – it always has.

Your voice.

Since the beginning of the human experience (long before the iPhone), ideas and theories, and guesses and even complaining have sparked change. Maybe not right away, but eventually—all our voices matter.

And it doesn’t matter if only 20 people read your blog or 120 watched your latest YouTube video. You have an audience.

You have an audience

You have an audience online,

at work,

in your family,

and in your community.

And that’s why you need to speak up. Take 3 minutes and watch this clip from the ridiculously creative Brad Montague (the mind behind the Kid President series) – I dare you not to feel better after.

I don’t know what’s bugging you or what solutions you’ve already put into words.

But, now’s the time to get it out.

And, you know what?

Maybe nobody hears you. At first.

Just like nobody heard of J.K. Rowling until she shared her first book about a young wizard or Candace Lightner before she started MADD, or Casey Neistat before he committed to a daily vlog (video blog).

But, they did the work anyway—they took a risk.

Walking down the street naked

I know that all too often I play it safe – I catch myself leaving “me” out – churning out sterilized advice anybody could have written.

That’s a mistake.

People really do want to know what you think and feel. Even straightforward “how-to” advice can come alive with a bit of personal reflection or by admitting your failings.

Award-winning author Neil Gaiman, in a commencement speech at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, probably said it best:

“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”

What have you got to say? I’m listening.