“If you don’t stand for something, you fall for anything” – Peter Marshall
I’ve always admired remarkable orators. When I watch some of the greatest speeches from history, such as Blood, Toil and Tears by Winston Churchill, I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr., and On the Pulse of Morning by Maya Angelou, I find myself wishing that I had that kind of platform, influence, and voice to share my philosophy with the world.
As a shy and sensitive young girl, I knew that this was a far-fetched dream. That was until, one day, in high school, a teacher offered me the opportunity to try my hand at debating. When she saw me hesitate she said, “Seline, you’re never going to know what you’re capable of until you try. I know that you have something valuable to offer.” Deep down, I knew she was right.
Her gentle nudge was all I needed to sign on. Before my turn at the debate, I experienced terrible anxiety. I calmed my nerves by taking a few deep breaths and remembering the encouraging words of my teacher, “I know you have something valuable to offer.” Once I stepped onto the podium and began speaking, I felt a surge of power pulsate through my body. Liberating myself from my fears of public speaking to express my views on something that I cared about induced an out of body experience that made me come alive.
This visceral experience proved to me the significance of sharing our message with the world, and why it’s essential for the vitality of our souls. I’m convinced that each and every one of us has something valuable to offer. We’re a product of unique life experiences, lessons, and challenges that others can learn from.
Yet many of us feel intimidated by the prospect of speaking out. Perhaps you don’t want to come across as being preachy, or you might believe that you don’t have anything that’s worthy of sharing with others making you lack the confidence to put yourself out there. The harsh voice of your inner critic will stop you in your tracks even if you have something that for which you’d love to advocate.
In a crowded media space, where so many people are expressing their creativity and thoughts on blogs, YouTube videos, and Instagram profiles, you may feel that your message will get lost in the void. You may look at influencers with so many followers and subscribers and believe that you could never measure up to that. But, this sort of fear-based thinking will only serve to sabotage your success. Remember that all of them started out at on the ground and had to work their up to get to where they are now. With dedication and focus, so can you!
The act of sharing your message with the world must begin with you. You need to believe that you have something valuable to share with others, and you should be motivated by pure intentions. Try to help others with your knowledge rather than using your platform to feed your ego, or to make a profit. Your message needs a clear internal channel to come forth. If you are the chosen messenger for a certain cause, you have to be able to listen to your heart and catch that spark of inspiration that is urging you to take action. Using your story to help others gives it meaning and purpose. You’ll elevate it to another level when you use it to serve others.
Expressing your message does not have to be a grand production. It can be done quietly and discreetly, behind the scenes and away from the spotlight if that’s what you prefer. You also want to make sure that you’re doing it in a way that is well received by others. They should be able to relate to, and understand what you’re saying. Think in terms of solutions and key takeaways that will help others. Don’t make it all about you – share your story but make sure that, in the end, you offer a nugget or two of truth that can enhance people’s life.
Depending on the scale, reach, and the impact that you would like to have on others, you can select one or more of these five ways to share your message with the world:
1. Write about it: If you believe that you express yourself best in writing, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to share your message through the written word. You could start your own blog, write articles and share them in online, or offline, publications. Within your professional sphere you could write journals, or contribute to the company’s newsletter. If you want to reach a larger audience you could write a book, an e-book, or write for a column for a newspaper, or magazine.
2. Speak about it: If you prefer to speak about your message you can look for speaking opportunities that are available at various groups, organizations, and speaking bureau’s. These institutions are always on the lookout for speakers who can educate, train, and enlighten their members. Nowadays, you don’t have to speak in front of a live audience. You can do it behind a computer on online platforms like podcasts, webinars, or YouTube and Vimeo videos. You can share your thoughts in meetings, networking events, and informal events such as parties and gatherings, if you find people who you think could be potentially interested in listening to you.
3. Campaign for it: A campaign is an active and intensive way of sharing your message. It will require more of your time and energy. If you’re passionate about your cause and you would like to influence more people, then running a campaign is the best way to do it. Campaigns usually run for a fixed period of time and have an organized set of activities scheduled. It could be as rigorous as the political campaigns run by politicians, or as low key as the small campaigns run by students in school or college. Campaign efforts will require that you recruit a team of people who share your vision who can help you carry out your mission.
4. Teach about it: You don’t have to be a school teacher or a parent to engage in the activity of teaching. All of us are capable of imparting knowledge to those who need it most. As a parent you can teach your children, as an aunt or uncle you can teach your nieces and nephews, and as a friend you can impart knowledge to a friend who needs your support. You can teach in formal settings such as a workshop, seminar, or a live class to educate people about your movement and how they can be part of it.
5. Use your art: If you’re someone who is creatively inclined, then your art form can be a potent medium for expressing your beliefs. Whether it’s through painting, sculpture, music, dance, writing, or acting – you can use these as vehicles to spread your messages and to connect with the hearts of those who consume your art. For example, legendary singer Michael Jackson used his music to spread a message of love, equality, and compassion through songs like Heal the World, Man in the Mirror, Black or White, and several others. Actor Sidney Poitier only chose roles that aligned with his beliefs and showcased issues important to his community such as Lilies of the Field, To Sir, With Love, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
No matter what your age, race, economic, or social status, know that you have a message that could improve the life of someone out there. If you feel the urge to speak your truth, grab that mic and unapologetically share it with the world. Your demonstration of courage is what we need to instigate progress and the evolution of our civilization.
All my best on your journey,
Question: How would you like to share your message with the world? Why is it important that you do this?