Girl, Speak Up!
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. – Proverbs 31:8-9 ESV
God’s blessings to us are not meant to end with us. His desire is that they flow to others. One of the reasons I became a life coach was to help women, especially women of color navigate spaces and ecosystems by providing guidance, support, sisterhood and covering. Whether you have the professional status or the influence to be a true sponsor of someone’s work, you can always opt in to advocate for a peer or colleague by shouting out their good work when you see it. One of the biggest acknowledgments you can give is to endorse their contributions in meetings by giving credit where credit is due. Literally it costs you nothing to mention good work when you see it, because when you do that you can literally shift the environmental work culture towards acknowledgement, amplification and positive reinforcement for women and specifically women of color in your professional network. But why as women, can’t we consistently celebrate each other authentically and unapologetically without having any underlying motive? I often tell my mentees that there are enough seats at the table for all of us to sit comfortably. And if not, build your own table. But if you’re like me, someone who is tired of sitting at the kid’s table each and every year hoping to graduate or better yet get elevated, then allow this day to be your confirmation and you just say “screw it,” and go to your nearest lumber store and get some planks of wood, a box of nails and rent a few power tools and start constructing your own table.
When you speak up, doors can open for you and for others. When you speak up, names can be brought forward. When you speak up, opportunities become attainable. As former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama once said, “So many of us have gotten ourselves at the table, but we’re still too grateful to be at the table to really shake it up. It’d be nice to have a collective of black women who are opening up spaces for each other, or making strategic moves to raise the visibility of black women within the industry, and not just who’s on the cover of the magazine but behind the scenes too.” Supporting women means you’re being intentional about how you show up in life and business. Showing up means you’re mentally present while listening and speaking up for yourself as well as others.
Be an Esther in someone’s life today because maybe you’re in the role that you’re in or have the title in front of your name for such a time as this! Take opportunities and moments that have been provided to you and reach back and pull someone forward. It is a blessing to be a blessing to others.
Speak up and show up, girl!