Currently Girls Fight Back is a frontrunner for the Campus Activities Magazine awards for Best Speaker 2012 and I’m asking you don’t vote for us. Instead, take some time to do something nice for yourself and know we appreciate you. Yeah, it’s a tight race right now (we’re 3 ballots from 1st place) so I should be asking for more people to vote – but I’m just not gonna do it. And here’s why.
Something is happening in the world – let’s call it compassion fatigue. There are so many sad stories, so many great causes, so many world problems, so many opportunities to fix them – and more than ever, we are interconnected via the web to be hyper-aware of all these issues. Frankly, it can all be a little overwhelming. So many activists are shouting for their cause, it all starts to sound like noise. Can you blame people for putting on headphones?
As leaders of companies and nonprofits working to get the message out there, we are encouraged to spread the word. The mission statement of some organizations is simply that – to break the silence of some problem, or speak up about another atrocity. Sometimes these online competitions we are encouraged to participate in have money at stake, or high visibility – or in our case, street credit if we win Best Speaker. (And GFB was certainly campaigning earlier, but we made the decision to cease as of today.)
Overall I’m starting to wonder if leaders are a little misguided about what really matters. Not anyone’s fault, but worth exploring. Maybe it’s time to reflect a little deeper about what it means to be successful, and what it means to make a difference. You can have a really big mouth, and actually accomplish nothing at all.
Does it matter more that we win Best Speaker, or that we have almost 5,000 Facebook fans who (according to our Facebook stats) are actively engaged in the conversation about ending violence against women? Does it matter more that we are featured on some fancy national TV show, or that 90% of our clients bring back our speakers a second, third, fourth – sometimes 9 times over the years? Does it matter more that we are selected as a keynote speaker for a major conference, or that we receive a success story from a young woman (who wants to remain anonymous) about how she used techniques taught in a Girls Fight Back presentation years ago, to save herself from a deadly assault?
The end of the year, and the holidays in general, are for giving thanks and love. If you are reading this, don’t worry about voting. I know you appreciate the work we do at GFB. So relax, go make yourself some eggnog and know we couldn’t have done this without you. If you see this link on Facebook, no need to take any action – the fact you saw it means you’re in our corner, and I express my deepest gratitude. Go get a massage and know we are thanking our lucky stars for you. In short, if you think we’re great, well we think you’re pretty great too. Let’s just leave it at that, and quit asking for favors during the time of year we should be giving them.
Because when I sit down and reflect on what a good year looks like, here’s what matters:
-We successfully provide women the tools to become their own best protectors.
-We offer folks a valuable learning experience to make their lives better and safer.
-Our material is available to women across the globe (currently USA, India, Pakistan)
-We make friends and form solid, long-lasting relationships along the way.
-We provide a sense of calm and joy, in an often un-peaceful world.
-We laugh. A lot.
-We recklessly share what we learn and what we know, in hopes that others don’t have to work so hard to make this world a better place.
And by those measurements, I believe we emerge victorious this year.
So instead of using my time to blast our network with pleas to vote, I’m gonna go sit down and write about a hundred notes to people who have stood by us in 2011. Tea is whistling on the stove, and my pug is ready to pounce in my lap in front of the fire. Thank you for another great year of peace, love and girl power. You have made a difference.