Have you ever truly taken a stand for something you’d risk all for? Something that may not be guaranteed to succeed, but you just don’t care – because it’s THAT tug-at-your-soul urgent? Artists often say they have no choice but to make their art. Every passion-driven, successful woman I know also works to change the world with this same zeal.
But sometimes, we don’t take a stand. We want to, but something stops us.
I believe it’s our fear that weighs us down, and prevents us from acting. Sometimes, we just doubt our calling. We come up with a multitude of reasons that it just can’t happen. But what if we listened to it? What if we knew we could transform our dreams into realities? I’m giving you the 5 steps you need to follow to take a stand for what you believe in. But first, here are three inspirational women who followed their calling, took a stand, and are changing lives because of it:
Doniece Sandoval’s nine-year-old daughter calls her “a superhero for the homeless.” Doniece, however, considers herself a lover of finding creative solutions. She founded Lava Mae, and repurposes retired transportation buses into mobile showers and toilets to deliver hygiene and restore dignity to the homeless. A near-brush with homelessness as a teenager left an indelible mark on Doniece and ignited her passion to ensure basic human rights for those in need.
Maya J. Lin
Washington DC’s Vietnam Memorial is iconic, but most are unaware of its creator. Maya J. Lin was a 21-year-old Yale architecture student when she won a design contest for her concept for the memorial – and she met with controversy at every turn. Critics opposed its simplicity, color, and symbolism, while others felt it shouldn’t be built at all. Despite her youth and inexperience, Lin pressed on despite the protests, and went on to not only see the memorial built, but to a long and successful career – highlights of which include Montgomery’s Civil Rights Memorial and Yale University’s Women’s Table.
Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act– If you don’t like the way something is handled, create a new way to do it, like 24-year-old Amanda Nguyen did. Nguyen, a Department Liaison to the White House and a sexual assault survivor, chose to “pen her own rights into existence” in response to learning she’d need to file an extension request every six months to prevent her rape kit from being destroyed. She lobbied to create a rape kit tracking system and forbade law enforcement to destroy kits without first testing them and notifying the victim. “I could accept injustice or rewrite the law,” Nguyen said. “I chose rewriting the law.”
Need more inspiration? Take a look at Glamour Magazine’s annual Women of the Year Awards honors hometown heroes – 50 phenomenal women who are making a difference.
The 5-Step Strategy to Take a Stand for What you Believe In:
1. Build Your Platform –
My coach impressed me several years ago when she suggested a framework that could inform my every idea, program, or speech: What does it look like when it’s done and done well? Deceptively simple words that have saved me tons of work. Takeaway: Take the time to think through a strategy and break it down into an action plan.
Start by doing this:
- Write down your ultimate vision. Now, how do you reverse engineer that vision into a plan?
- Name the elements that must be in place for it to be successful.
- List the barriers that could get in your way.
- List the ways you could overcome those barriers.
- Decide and write down how you’ll measure your success.
2. Find Your Tribe –
I guarantee there are others out there who believe in your cause as much as you do. A support collective will lift you up and give you the kudos you need when things are going great AND will lift you up when you’ve hit a downward spiral.
3. Get Noticed –
This is where the rubber meets the road. You tell your leadership team and the world that you have a plan, a position, and make it public. Scary, right? Taking a stand means fighting your fear of ridicule and professing what you believe. It can also be the most empowering thing you have ever done because you chose to face the fear and walk through it.
4. Proclaim! –
Take advantage of the many vehicles at your disposal to shout your idea from the rooftops: social media, professional association meetings, the speaking circuit, and more.
5. Stay the Course –
No matter WHAT you do, don’t veer off course or listen for one second to the inevitable naysayers. There will always be people who’ll tell you your concept is crazy. As I said before, trust those instincts and the rest will follow (adoption of your plan, positive recognition, ally building). This is where you protect your confidence at all costs. Trust that you have all you need to make it happen! Each one of us has a calling that begs us to take action – something considerably bigger than ourselves. Think about what yours is and share it below… it’s time to claim it with certainty. We’ve got your back!
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