Sometimes speaking your truth is the farthest thing from convenient. In fact, sometimes it’s downright unpopular and difficult. But the best communicators will figure out a way to be the cherry flavoring in the cough syrup.
Our job as leaders is to make the hard topics get ingested easier.
One of the best ways to do this is to be authentic, to get real…but to be compassionate in the process. To meet people where they are, and lead them to truth in a creative way.
This weekend I saw the movie Inside Out. At first glance, it’s a Pixar kids cartoon movie that’s entertaining and cute. But get your ass into the theater seat, and be ready to learn all about…YOUR EMOTIONS.
I learned so much about feelings during that hour and a half. Things like anger, fear, disgust, joy and sadness – they all show up in our lives from time to time. But how many of us truly understand each of them as individuals, how to integrate them with the rest of us? Just watch it and prepare to be enlightened.
Emotions are hard. Life is challenging. Relationships can be difficult. This is a tricky topic to communicate to the masses about, but the movie did so beautifully, using humor, wit and compassion. The characters are the cherry flavoring. The tough topic of emotions is the cough syrup.
As speakers of truth, we should all strive to be the cherry flavoring.
But this requires energy, insight, clarity and creativity to make it happen. When I started Girls Fight Back in 2001, it was a self-defense seminar aimed at college women. The purpose was to teach them how to save their own lives in violent confrontations. But that just wasn’t gonna be a topic the 18-22 year old age demographic was going to get behind.
Most people teaching self defense at that time took the road of scaring the audience into hearing the message about violence. But since I was just 22 when I started it, I knew better. I decided to make them laugh instead.
I made a lot of mistakes when building GFB, but one thing I did right was blaze my own trail and turn a seminar about violence into standup comedy. I had no idea what I was doing, or how to be a comedian – but I tried to find the light in the darkness, and give women a reason to smile.
When people are laughing, they are listening. When they are listening, they are learning.
And that’s where all the magic happens. As leaders, it’s OUR JOB to take our stories and our truths and make them connect to the audience. Get crafty, but always be real. Think about your audience – who are they? And what can you do or say (authentically) that will disarm them, so you can convey something important?
We need more leaders who are willing to do this work. Who are willing to go the distance, to creatively connect, to GET REAL – so our society can start having the hard conversations that will move the world forward.
That’s the call of the Evolution Society. Are you in?