"A riot is the language of the unheard." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
How are you?
This simple question really gut-punched me yesterday. I was talking to a woman I plan to collaborate with on some upcoming workshops and, as I always do, I asked her how she was doing. Of course, her reflex was to say "fine," but then she took a beat and said, "actually, I'm not fine and I don't know why I said that." We then proceeded to talk about all the garbage happening in the world. The fact that over 100,000 Americans have died due to COVID-19. The fact that black men are still, pervasively and repeatedly being killed by police and harassed and turned in by white strangers for the simple act of being black. It's just too much and too often and too everything. So we sat in our feelings and I listened and she listened. And it was healing. I told her we could hang up and talk "shop" another day. Work could wait. But because we were real and candid and honest with each other, she and I both felt able to talk work and use it, not as a distraction, but as another facet in what makes us who we are.
Coping with Success
When the lockdown started, I wrote this piece about survivor's guilt, and the conflict between doing so well while others were suffering. Well, business has never been better, and yet, the world has never been worse. So yeah, feeling conflicted is part of my DNA these days. I'm fortunate to be able to pay that forward. I hired a designer to help with my materials. I hired a bookkeeper. I've been donating and giving my time. I'm looking for a writer to bring onto my team. I'm collaborating with amazing talented people and sharing work with them. But so much of that feels hollow and empty. And while I acknowledge I have worked my butt off to get here, it still feels pretty shitty that not everyone is able to share in these wins.
Most of you know me and know I'm a very upbeat and energetic person. So if this post "brings you down" I hear ya. It's a total downer. But it's real and authentic and this is what I'm feeling. And I wanted you to know that, because that's being true to who I am. No pretending, no hiding. One thing I've been talking about a lot lately is the fact that more of us are being us. We are soooo human, with video calls in our homes, family running around, animals running around, no make-up, beards, grey hair and tech issues a plenty. Even the highest level executives are forced to confront their humanity. I love it because it's real. No one can hide anymore. We're truly bringing ourselves to work, as much as we can. And that realness is what the world needs more of. Now and always. No longer are we hiding under our generic titles like the IT guy. He's Bill with the crazy cats. Or that lady from accounting, who's Suzanne with the ornery teenager in the background. The curtain has been pulled back and it will never be the same again.
Hopefully this doesn't make you more depressed and ready to climb into a bottle. That wasn't my intention. And while this is a departure from what I usually write, it felt like something I needed to share. So I did. And I encourage you to do the same with your colleagues, clients, audience, friends and family. We don't have to pretend anymore. Let someone know how you're feeling today. I guarantee they will listen and are probably feeling the same way. And that support and connection is what we all need more of. I'm sending you some virtual love today and if you want to tell me how you're really feeling, my inbox is always open.