When I was a young girl, my family went boating a lot. We loved being out on the water. The smell of the lake, sticks floating along as we would motor through some of the most beautiful wetlands in Missouri. Ah, good times.
But to have those good times, we had to prep the boat for each of the trips. Something that I very much disliked. Putting gas in the engine, counting the life preservers and packing the boat. My least favorite job of all…packing the boat.
Packing the boat sucked because I was seven. That meant my long and lean legs (back then! Ha! Not today!) would be going up and down and up and down the side of the boat to pack all of our food, fishing gear, etc. by the directive of my father. The trips up and down the boat would be at least twenty times. “Sheryl, put the blankets in.” “Hey Sheryl, did you pack the cooler?” “Come on, Sheryl, let’s move it!”
I hated packing the boat and one day, under what I thought was the safety of my breath, I said, “I don’t want to pack this stupid boat!” About 4 seconds later, my father had me yanked up very closely to him and said, “What did you just say?” I was in shock by how quickly I had been shaken from my internal griping, so I took a big gulp and said in my sheepish voice, “I don’t want to pack this stupid boat.”
My father set me down and on one knee looked me in the eye and gave me some of the best life advice I have ever received. He told me to never be a coward and mumble under my breath. Instead have the courage to say your words out loud and own them. Your words could be right. They could be wrong too, but your words are something you own and shouldn’t be whispered under a breath. My father told me it took guts for me to tell him how I felt about packing the boat. He hugged me, straightened up my clothes and then proceeded to help me pack the boat.
When you’re working online or offline, both personally and professionally, do you mumble cowardly or speak courageously? Have you got the guts to own your words?
Sheryl Brown / @BionicSocialite