My Voice Will Not Be Silenced
This week the focus of my posts has been communicating with confidence.
I want to focus today on the problem with a woman, particularly a Black woman speaking with confidence. Where our peers are praised for their confidence, being articulate and steadfast in their resolve, we are scolded for being arrogant, aggressive and entitled. I was once told, by the Director of HR of a company I worked for, "had I been a white, middle-aged male, my confidence would not be a problem." He went on to say that "my confidence makes people very uncomfortable, because they are not historically accustomed to someone like me, being that way." He was one of the good ones - told me exactly how it was!
I've been shut down, shut-up and tossed away. I've been told "I can be perceived as overly strong in style and delivery of messages", while in the same breath described as "...intellectually very strong... able to assess process and flow quickly... able to attack and solve complex technical challenges... caring, focused and detailed". Confused? I'm not the only one.
During TED2019, Brittany Packnett, said "confidence is something that we underestimate the importance of. We treat it like a nice-to-have instead of a must-have". She went on to say "confidence is the necessary spark before everything that follows". If this is true, why would you want to dim the light of another human being?
There are people who are going to read this and think "how dare she!" or "this cannot be true". I did and it is! The truth is, you do not have to like me to respect what I bring to the table, hear my voice or know my value.
I have gratitude for my leader in 2013, who restored my confidence and voice. I have gratitude for my mentor in 2017 who encouraged me to chart my path. I have gratitude for my ancestors and family for praying for me. I will no longer silence my voice!
I leave you with this from Brittany Packnett, "For some of us, confidence is a revolutionary choice, and it would be our greatest shame to see our best ideas go unrealized and our brightest dreams go unreached all because we lacked the engine of confidence."
Here is the link to watch the rest of Brittany Packnett's TED2019: https://www.ted.com/talks/brittany_packnett_how_to_build_your_confidence_and_spark_it_in_others/transcript?language=en#t-127322
Nail, meet hammer. This is yet another example of (enter innocuous activity here) while BLACK and female.
Continue to speak with the strength of your ancestors.
And still, we rise.