We often feel great fear and get woefully uncomfortable in our own skin when faced with the task of speaking our own truth. Whether it is coming out or letting our personal beliefs known, it can be frightening to be that vulnerable. What if people hate me? What if it makes my whole career crash and burn?
Two recent news stories reminded me that even if the worse outcome happens, it is still for the best. In the end your integrity and truth matter far more than any one job, relationship, or the court of public opinion. And, she who has the courage to stand up for her truth in the face of adversity will ultimately win out even if it takes a little longer than we might like.
Last night, the Dixie Chicks won five Grammy awards essentially showing the world that speaking your truth, even if unpopular, doesn’t have to be a negative thing. Four years ago they ignited major controversy (not to mention death threats, radio boycotts, and concert bans) when they spoke their minds on the topic of President Bush and the Iraq war. While you may or may not agree with their opinions, the fact is, many people fought and died for our rights as Americans to speak our truth. Why then, do we tend to crucify people when they speak up? Their song “Not Ready to Make Nice” is an unapologetic anthem to their right to speak their truth and with five Grammy awards including best album for “Taking the Long Way Home”, I’m certain they now not only feel good for standing up for their own integrity but also for this outside validation of their courage.
In the latest issue of W Magazine, Ellen Degeneres appears on the cover. In the online interview she talks about her lowest lows following the backlash of her coming out on the Ellen show. Personally and professionally she took a bit hit and hit bottom. Yet, never once did she regret having come out. In fact, she considers the whole ordeal a blessing “Because I got to learn that I was strong enough to start over again.” Of course, now Ellen is on top of the world with her talk show and hosting the Oscars. It proves that speaking your truth pays off in the end because not only do you get to stay in integrity with yourself but you ultimately show up in your career and personal life from a much more couragous and authentic space. That in and of itself is part of what success is really about.
How about you? Are you living and speaking your truth?