A Note From Our Founder
Having an opinion these days may cost you your livelihood. Anything not in accordance with the mainstream narrative on either side may cost you your job, your friends or your professional credibility. This is not an opinion piece about cancel culture or any other widely debated topic. It is a sincere attempt at professional vulnerability. Yes, I am a fan of Brené Brown, but this isn't about her either.
Up until the end of last year a large part of my job was to provide blue chip brands with perspective and guidance on changes throughout the advertising ecosystem. Everything from the fallout between data providers and Facebook after the 2016 election, to recent privacy concerns after Apple’s release of iOS 14 and its continued impact on projected annual revenue for advertising related service providers. The role required a firm grasp on the industry and an intimate understanding of how major brands find success on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google. I was always reluctant to write these, not because I was lacking the skills and expertise needed to provide a valuable perspective it always came down to too much imposter syndrome and not enough professional self-confidence.
To have an opinion and to share it widely as my own, in my mind, was more likely to end in professional suicide than anything positive. I learned a great deal in this process was able to craft my professional voice and had the luxury of testing my message’s resonance behind the company logo. I took quiet pride in knowing it was mine but I benefited from not having to own it fully should anything go south. These perspectives were consistently reflective of my personality..balanced and even toned. Most importantly, each document was considerate of as many conceivable perspectives as possible. In a world filled with extreme opinions taking the middle ground rarely receives any backlash.
As I write this, I question was it really backlash that I was afraid of? Was it questioning my worthiness of an opinion at all? The fear of being misunderstood, unintentionally insulting a peer, a partner or a potential employer all made me a bit uneasy. In hindsight, it is impossible to say precisely but all of these things contributed in some way and I am grateful to have found a glimpse into the other side of this fear. I have an opinion and it’s considerate, rational, and necessary particularly in a world where everyone seems to have gravitated toward one extreme or another. So here we are.
All of the personal processing I have gone through in not having the courage to put my name on my professional opinions in the past or not having the confidence to share those perspectives despite their value and thoughtfulness; is a result of constantly seeking external validation of my own ideas. The reality is, sometimes that validation never comes but that does not make the idea or opinion any less valuable. This process helped me realize that I had never quite given myself the space to embrace my personal narrative and opinions in a way that was most authentic to the person that I am and how I want to show up in the world. Every exercise in sharing my opinions or unpacking my experiences was within the context of finding ways that I could make my story fit within the context of someone else’s ideal scenario for the purpose of employment or other so-called opportunities. I had never taken the time to consider my story for my story’s sake and that was the precursor necessary for me to find the confidence and courage to develop anything meaningful and really grow.
It is dangerously presumptuous to completely write off unpopular opinions particularly in a world where what has historically been accepted as the right way is constantly being disproven or called into question.
The education system in America is broken. We know this from the ongoing student loan conversation, but the flawed system starts well before students take out loans for college. Grade school in general and the pivotal point of adolescence where so much of how we see the world and our place in it is solidified, does not do enough to cultivate independent thinking and personal exploration. And unless your family earns an income in the top 30% the chances of you having an education that prioritizes your point of view and provides you with skills that complement your natural approach to life are slim to none. The reality is, you need an education in order to find success without question; and before you can properly maximize an education of any kind; you must first know yourself. Historically speaking, where traditional education should prioritize students' perspectives for deeper engagement; it has all but ignored the unique needs of individuals. A worldly education has the power to separate you from yourself if you are not careful.
People need to be given the space to understand themselves in order to fully evolve and grow their proverbial backbone where resentment, reclusiveness or more popular opinions currently thrive. If gone unaddressed, what we can expect are more cyber bullies and internet trolls where real human connection has the potential to thrive.
To address this gap I have developed the Owning My Story Narrative Building Workshop. The workshop is designed to work with participants to successfully unpack who they are, where they come from, and how they want to show up in the world. It is an exercise in aligning personal values with a professional vision for better outcomes and overall wellbeing across every aspect of their lives. While geared towards young adults, anyone who has struggled with feeling completely disconnected with how they show up in the world stands to benefit from this content.
My inbox is open to anyone with thoughts, related experiences or partnership opportunities. This type of change does not happen overnight and we are better together.