I am taking a break from our goal setting challenge today because of a news story that has been making the rounds and causing some controversy.
A family from Louisiana decided to do something a little different for their Christmas card this year. Upon doing so a firestorm was created on social media . Before I go on, let me stress that in no way do I think that this family or photographer intended to promote violence against women (as many of the comments on social media elude to). I do however think that this points to a larger problem, this family didn't see why this image might be sending the wrong message
So, why is it the wrong message? This picture creates the illusion that silencing women of all ages is okay.
it is not!
It implies that getting women to shut-up can be celebrated with a thumbs up.
It implies that silencing a woman can be laughed at with a witty tagline.
Research shows that the first step to violence and terrorism against any group of people is that of dehumanizing them. Making them less than human by reducing them to a body part or an object, or even by silencing them. All of this is destructive but the silencing is the one that hits me the hardest.
It can be argued that most people are looking to be heard. What happens when we take that option away? When we take away a person's voice, we take away their ability to fight, to be heard, to be understood. We become less than in our own head. We become unhappy, unsatisfied, uninspired.
Some of you may be reading this and think that I am giving this photo/concept way too much energy but you would be wrong. There is a wealth of evidence to back me up.
I studied "communications" in school. I decided it had a broader reach than a traditional marketing degree. With this I chose to spend a large part of my time studying gender and kids. I knew that this is the direction that the business world was going and wanted to better understand the consumer that I would potentially be marketing too. I now work in marketing and realize the approach I took is rare. Very few if any marketers actually take course work focused on gender, psychology or sociology. Maybe a class here or there, but no real emphasis on it. This is why I struggle with my profession. At it's core, marketing is convincing people to buy, do or act. It works with the psyche and what motivates people. It is great responsibility.
Unfortunately, it seems sometimes like marketers are worse than the stereotypes of lawyers. I say that because in my experience very few people in marketing actually know anything beyond the "business" part of marketing. Marketing is so much more than that. It is about knowing how people think, what they desire and why and using that information for good. How can you do this if you don't know anything beyond the numbers?
Marketing shapes the way we look at the world, whether we like to admit it or not. Marketing and media shapes the way we see and feel about ourselves subconsciously, it convinces us what we want and what we need. Herein lies the responsibility. Do we use this power to do good and make the world better or do we use it to make a buck? Are they mutually exclusive?
I would argue they are not.
We live in a visual society, one that puts emphasis on "seeing is believing". Instagram has exploded on the scene, as has Snap Chat and a number of other social networks that focus solely on imagery. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? If it is that how can we remain complacent with imagery like this family photo or any of the images on this post? How can we claim ignorance as to what these image are really saying?
How can you call yourself a marketer if you don't know how consumers digest the imagery and content you are putting in the universe?
my opinion? you can't.
I could continue to go on about this but realize this is an much bigger subject than a single blog post. So I will come down from my soap box for a minute and get back to the point Did this family have ill intent when creating this holiday card? of course not. Does it speaker to a larger problem in our society? Of course it does. I couldn't let today go by without at least addressing it. I won't apologize for this big soap box because I believe so full heartedly in it but I will work to better formulate my thoughts for future posts.
I would like to say one more thing regarding the "witty tagline" that says "peace on earth". The silencing of women will not create "PEACE ON EARTH". In fact, it is the attempted silencing of women that is causing so much destruction, war and terror on this place we called Earth.
I'm reading a new book about modern romance. Yup, that is seriously what it is about. I'm not afraid to admit it. Admittedly, I did not know it was about that when I started reading it, but by the time my Kindle told me I was 15% into the book I was hooked. It got me thinking about how weird the concept of romance has gotten and how that same weird concept has infiltrated our work life as well and if it was a good thing or not.
I'd like to meet the first person that asked their significant other to marry them on an arena score board or the first person to YouTube a flash mob wedding proposal. I'd like to meet them and punch them in the face. (It may sound mean but it is what it is.
When those people did that, they changed everything because they made proposals this massive event that now has no originality, no meaning and forces people to think bigger and bigger is their only option. (If you asked someone to marry you in this form, I'm not talking about you, you didn't have a choice, it was expected so I understand. I'm mad at the 1st person who did it, they are on my list.) Now we live in a world of awkward white guys dancing to impress their wife and relatives at the reception and millions of judging spectators on YouTube.
You are probably now wondering, what in the world I am talking about. Modern romance has turned us into braggadocious show boating competitive weirdo's. It isn't just with potential lifemates either. All of the sudden we are trying to do the same thing at work.
We apply for jobs online with a thousand other yahoo's for the same role. A computer picks up if we chose the right generic words to win the interview lottery. Then we chat with an HR person that often times hasn't been provided any real information on the role. If you pass this step you then get to meet with 1 to 20 other people on the team to determine if you are a fit for the role. There is no timeline provided, call backs are never when they say they will be, nobody responds to your thank you email, voicemail or thank you card, even though it is an expected practice. So basically we do all of these things just to play the game. What this means, is that the idea of "modern romance" or technology has quite literally turned getting a new job into winning the employment lottery.
I sound bitter, I know but maybe I am. I have been helping a lot of people lately to find jobs and the responses and experiences I hear about are appalling. These are seriously qualified people with good resumes, good personalities and everything else you would expect from someone you wanted to hire. Now being qualified isn't enough. You need your own career flash mob. Full disclosure, you probably shouldn't do a flash mob for an HR department.
So I guess the question is, what would be the equivalent to a wedding proposal flash mob for our careers? How do we let people know who we are and what we have to offer in a compelling "man I gotta hire this kid right away" kind of way?
Some people do have some pretty interesting ideas from sandwich boards saying "hire me", taking out ads, video resume's etc. In some small cases, that works, but it isn't a guarantee. I am not sure I know the answer but...I will say this. Maybe this type of crazy idea job hunting will lose its luster. Maybe we are in the down slide of schemes and tactics to get a job and we are moving up towards good old fashioned hard word, dedication and drive...I said MAYBE, which probably reinforces the fact that I have no clue what the answer is. That reinforces the fact that maybe this post doesn't have its plot wrapped up in a nice bow.
Let's bring it back to the beginning and the idea of a flash mob wedding proposal. How many stories that start that way end with a 50th wedding anniversary? This is not meant as a judgement more of a hypothesis. When you start something as life altering as a marriage or a job it is special. You are learning new things every day, you get butterflies, there is always something new and exciting to talk about and share. All of that means that there isn't a need for any flashy addition to make it better, it's already awesome.
As time goes by, in a marriage or a job things start to settle, they become a little more routine, the quirks we used to love now make the hair on our neck raise up. THIS is when we need a scoreboard proclamation of love. This is when we need to be reminded why we are there. This may be easy to imagine in relation to a marriage or love, a tad harder maybe for a job. I see i like this, fancy resume's and big bold gestures may in fact get someone's attention at a place of employment, they may even get you in to a job but getting in is only the first step. Once you're in is when the hard work really begins and unless you are always at score board level or above, the expectation you created isn't being met. You have to do more and more to be seen and recognized for your work and it is usually at this point when people start to not like the job they so publicly fought to get.
I think it is time to bring some real romance back to our lives. It is time for us to do the work that gets us scene, recognized and adored. Modern romance? I'll take good old fashioned "till death do us part" kind of romance and get a career instead of a job.
no flash mob or scoreboard required.
In a shock to everyone I know, I missed the Emmy's this year. It is a shock because I am actually known for my Award Show parties. Sadly, this meant that I had to watch clips afterwards, What really makes this sad is the fact that it really felt like the Year of the Woman (again), at least from social media and traditional media following the event.
Obviously everyone has been talking about the speech made by Viola Davis which and for good reason, it was beautiful, poignant and thought provoking. It aligned so clearly with not just the issues of women of color on television and movies but the entire culture of race continue as a global community to perpetuate. Between the increasing racial tensions in our country with regard to law enforcement to the Syrian Refugee Crisis we remain a world where hate spreads.
If you were to ask most people if they are filled with hate or are prejudiced against other people, they will say no. Nobody admits to being hateful. They make excuses for what they do based on a variety of experiences, religion, history etc. Think about it, most people will admonish the atrocities of World War II and the concentration camps or the Civil Rights Movement yet so many are standing by and watching as the refugees are hit with fire hoses and dogs or another video of a black American being beaten or killed by an officer of the law.
So what does all of this have to do with the title of this post?
The other speech that impacted me but got less coverage was that of Regina King. Her speech was not necessarily out of the ordinary for an acceptance speech except for her seemingly very sincere shock at having won. There was one section/line though that stopped me.
It is a small but powerful sentence that I haven't been able to get my mind off of it since. It seems that we hear and see in the media a lot of the negatives and burdens of being a woman but rarely see the "power and blessing" being extolled. It is why I think this phrase needs more attention.
I study, speak and educate on women and it took me a minute to determine if I had ever expressed the power and blessing I feel being a woman. My stomach dropped as I realized that I don't honor that enough. Women are the most powerful force in the globe. Many will argue with me I am sure but let's really think about here.
1st and foremost we are the caretakers of the world. Without women, our children wouldn't become healthy and contributing adults to society. Women literally are raising the future.
We are responsible for 80% of all purchases
advertiser's want our money
We have a seat at the table - in some cases at the head of the table
We are big in numbers and we are good at organizing around a cause
we have more women in high places
the power to influence - in my mind, women are the most influential people and yet in the past have never received credit for this
We are educated
70% of all high school valedictorians are women
62% of all associates degrees
57% of all bachelors degrees
63% of masters degrees
53% doctoral degrees
now that is power...
So that is the power of being a woman, let's talk about the blessings.
It's a blessing because we have a voice and using that voice is changing the world in big ways. I feel blessed to call myself a woman when I see all of the amazing things women are doing. I feel blessed to be/have:
We are blessed enough to live in a time where we can get educated and fight for a career, a family and more and there is power in all of that
lots of conversations around women and girls now
to have a voice
empathetic to others
to be a caretaker
to be able to like sports and wear nail polish at the same time
that women in my generation earn more than our mother's and grandmother's on average and get to spend that money the way we want and still are selfless enough take care of everyone around us
I don't have to wear heels to cook in ( I actually don't have to cook) but I can
I can do anything I want but I don't have to do anything I don't want to do
The real blessing in my life is that I get to help other girls and women by sharing my experiences
There is power and blessings in being whoever we are and it is imperative that we dig in to realize what it means to us so that we can celebrate and express gratitude for who and what we are. Once we realize our own blessings we can be more empathetic to others and open up opportunities for people who don't have them; whether it is welcoming refugees into our country and caring for them, volunteering our time to help others or opening up roles for women of color and other individuals in our art. You may say these have nothing to do with each other but the do. The art that these women do open our eyes to the experiences of others.
Quick tip, be sure to look up the show Regina won her Emmy for, American Crime. It was an amazing look inside ALL sides of a single situation and the struggles we still see around race and gender in this country.
I saw this video online yesterday in between videos of babies laughing and cats doing weird cat things. Yes, suddenly I am a cat video watcher and yes, I'm not really sure how I feel about it.
This video showed up in the "you might also like" section and so I though, hmm maybe Facebook DOES really know me and clicked on the play button.
This video asks the question "what would you tell your younger self?" But that question is asked all the time, so what makes this video any better?
After watching I couldn't help but think, "Why do we wait so long to speak the lesson out loud?" Do you think any of these people had thought about giving their selves permission to follow this sage advice before they were asked to be part of this video? I'm guessing not. Mainly because when I tried to think about what advice I would give to "last year's me", it too me a minute. But again, WHY?
We are learning all of the time but we go so fast, it takes us WAY to long to get what we were supposed to get out of things. We are all guilty of concentrating too hard on giving everyone ELSE advice and not working out the advice we should give to ourselves. I can wholeheartedly cop up to that. I'm not proud of it but I do know I am not alone.
So I wanted to make some sort of commitment to myself that would allow me to start talking to myself, forgiving myself and reminding myself of what I can let go of and what I should hold on tighter to. To myself and to you I say, let's slow down and take a minute, just one little tiny minute to think about what our life taught us in the last year (shoot, last week or even yesterday) and figure out how we can use it moving forward. Here is my first attempt...
to my 38 year old self I say this:
I wonder if the makers of this video realized that by doing this I have now displayed my age for all the world to see. Great, guess I'm gonna have to pull out my Aliyah CD's next year and tell my 39 year old self that "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number"
so thank you Facebook, for telling me what you think I would like today. Not only did I like this video but it was the perfect video at the perfect time. I love when that happens.
It's KISMET. oh and since you are so cool and read this I'll give you a tip...Come back Wednesday to hear a little more about Kismet. I think you'll like it and don't be selfish, share the wealth and tell your friends. We are trying to start a movement here. Sharing positive content and building people up. Now, that is something to get behind.
OH and don't forget to play along...tell me in the comments what you would tell your "last year's self"
Anyone who knows me, knows that I want to have a life of experiences. I'm talking about big, scare the crap out of you, never regret missing out experiences. I do my best to do the things I have always wished I could do. Here’s the thing though, I let life get in the way sometimes. I don’t know why, but I guess I just let fear and anxiety get in my way. I suppose I’m not alone in this. There’s a multi-million dollar book industry out there called “self help” to prove that I’m not alone. We really are our worst enemy sometimes, or at the very least our biggest obstacle.
Why do we block our blessings when they are so obviously heading straight for us like a freight train? What are we so afraid of? Better yet, how do we move past this type of thinking? How do we move from fantasizing about the life we want and start living the life we want?
I saw this sign at the Denver airport that said “no waiting” and it suddenly clicked. I now knew the answer to everything. I took my picture which you can see below and went on my way. For weeks afterward I sat myself down to reflect on what appeared so simple at the airport. Only it didn’t seem so simple anymore. “No Waiting”. The phrase and the picture (a photographic gem if I do say so myself. Thanks Hipstamatic) speak to me. I just can’t seem to fully hear what the words are really saying. It’s almost as if it is a whisper or worse, a riddle that I have to figure out. It can’t really be that easy, can it? Stop waiting?
Or can it?
What happens if we stop waiting? Well…I suppose we stop waiting! But what are we waiting for anyways? Someone to tell us it’s okay to be happy, successful, content, delighted, loved? Come on, we are grown ass men & women here (excuse my language). We know our worth, right? We know that we deserve all of those things I listed and much more, right? We tell our friends and loved ones all the time, that they deserve better than what they are accepting, don’t we believe the same for ourselves?
I think we do. I KNOW I do.
So, after a lot of time trying to complicate the matter I have decided to follow the direction of the sign, as I am convinced that it was just that, a sign. I am not going to wait. I’m gonna stop waiting for life to happen. I’m gonna stop waiting for someone to tell me what I think I want to hear. I’m gonna stop waiting for something easy to come along.
Now I’ve heard it all before, “you have to be patient” but I believe that there is a difference between patience and ambivalence. I think people live lives of ambivalence a lot of the time, waiting for someone, anyone to tell them it’s okay to LIVE and enjoy life, to experience it in all of its glory. So I will exercise patience when it is needed, but I will no longer wait for the sake of waiting.
I’m going after the life I want. I’m taking every opportunity to grab every piece of happiness, love, pure unadulterated joy, success and delight that I can and I’m bringing you with me, because…well why not?
Before I leave, I thought I would share a few quotes about waiting from some people who know/knew what they were talking about.
So, my question for all of today is...
what are WE waiting for?
Short and sweet too. Recently I shared my experience at a Creative Mornings Event with Kevin Carroll as the key note speaker. Many of you reached out asking where you could find a video of the session. Look no further. The video is now up and available. Check it out and be inspired.
To learn more about the great stuff Creative Mornings is doing, check out their site by clicking on the logo below and choose the city nearest you. You won't be disappointed and you will probably be inspired.
As a reminder, last Friday I started a series on what I love to do...SPEAKING. Basically, it is a series to let you know how I came to finding what I love and why I do it.
When we left off last Friday, we went from speaking about women's shopping habits. After my realization that speaking was my purpose, things got strange. Strange because my whole life I searched for this moment but here I was, finally at the point of knowing and I was tearing my hair out trying to figure out...
agh...what the heck am i supposed to do now?
I mean, where do you find a job on google to be a speaker? What's more, where do you go find a job on google that specialized in subjects about and for women? What do I even have to say? Will people even listen? I am not normally someone who get's stumped but admittedly I was stumped.
And though I'm not proud of it, I kind of thought about it a lot more than I did anything about it. I mean, I did keep speaking, which actually brought it's own surprises. When I found my "thing", I thought the only way I could do it was if it did focus on women but for quite awhile after that moment I spoke about a ton of topics and most of them had nothing specifically to do with women. The crazy thing? I still liked doing it. I liked the research that went behind fine tuning your subject matter, and deciding how to make boring subjects sound less boring. I mean, a boring speaker? That would be the worst. (a little over-exaggeration maybe but have you been to a boring speech? YIKES!)
So I decided to talk about what I knew and what I knew/know is marketing. I spoke merchandising, marketing planning, training, target consumers and consumer market segments. As I said, it was actually fun. Who knew?
So, why am I telling you this and why is it part 2 of the series? I tell you this because it is part of the journey just like discovering your passion. This part of the journey is figuring out what it is about what you do that you like and why you like it. It is also about getting up and deciding that it may not look the way you imagined it at first and that is how you know it is real.
People seem to use the saying "if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life" as if it means that once you find what you love, everything will be easy. That is SO not so. Let me tell you...you still have to work and hustle to make it a reality. Yes, it is hard I've got a little secret to tell you...it is also the fun part.
Don't forget to check out part 3 of the series next Friday. In the meantime, have you learned a lesson on the way to your purpose? Share it with me below in the comments.