Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Countdown to 30: 30 days, 30 Lessons (Day 1 - Speak Up)

Today marks a milestone in the #CountdownToThirty: 30 days left. And I've decided to share 30 lessons I've learned over the last 30 years in a lesson a day. Friends will be tagged and stories will be shared all in the hopes of arriving at 30 with clarity, laughter, and motivation.

So without further adieu, today's lesson is simply this: Speak up.

In August of 2012, I wrote an e-mail looking for a fight. I had some serious thoughts that I wanted addressed, and the people to whom I wrote stated they wanted the feedback. So I sent a rather harsh e-mail, and the recipient invited me to meet him. The subject was New Brooklyn Theater's desire to renovate the Slave Theater; the recipient was none other than Artistic Director Jonathan Solari.

I got the fight I was searching for, just with an ally instead of an adversary.

After we met, Jonathan and I become fast friends. Artistically and professionally we wanted the same things for Bed-Stuy with slightly different approaches; personally, he just turned out to be one of the coolest people on the planet. We have since collaborated on some amazing things and have been able to support each other in this Founding-Artistic-Director-struggle. Had I not spoken up, I would have missed a chance to get to know an amazing person and collaborator: my life and work would be worse for it.

And this other time I was on Twitter in my feelings.

Social media-ing while sitting in your feelings is rarely a good idea. However, one day I decided to do just that. And a friend offered me words of encouragement. I texted him a thank you, and we proceeded to have one of the most honest and fulfilling conversations I've ever had. It was unique in that we never talked like that previously. It was a random and honest moment of connection - a testament to his generosity as a person. I got through the day and got out of my feelings, but realized (again), had I not said something I would have missed it. I'm not even sure he knows what that (and subsequent) conversations meant to me.

Speaking up is not about burdening those around you. It is about trusting that your thoughts have enough value to create something amazing.

Telling someone how you feel (good or ill) is not just for unrequited love or bedside confessions. It's an opportunity to trust the people around you to be great; to be supportive; to be attentive. It's an opportunity to be vulnerable, which we should all take more frequently.

Speak up, truthfully and often.


No comments:

Post a Comment