While it may seem new Vanguard Voices has been in the works for nearly two years.
I imagine many people have that ah-ha moment that changes their lives, maybe some have many. It is that moment that makes you stop and think, wait, this is not right, or maybe, there must be a better way. I was challenged in taking action on my ah-ha moment by two things: the absolute scale of what I knew had to be tackled – psychological safety in the workplace; and maintaining a successful corporate career to be able to fund my dream.
Just think about either one for a moment and answer the question I struggled with which was where to start?
I knew I should know something about SEO, content and social media strategies, content marketing. I understood there were multiple channels to consider, each likely with its own pros and cons. And of course, I knew I needed a website to have the global reach I understood was required but again, on which platform and using which design? I spent a lot of time talking to a lot of different people, many of whom had different expert advice.
I worked with many different freelancers and consultants along the way and one thing I can share with certainty – few will have the same passion for your cause as you do, regardless of what they say, and many will overpromise and under-deliver. But each contact, successful or failed, taught me a lesson, and for that I am grateful.
Lesson One: Opt in favor of the person who has a limited list of what they say they can do over the person whose resume is supremely impressive. In my experience, few of those really were.
Through all of the conversations and missteps I was fuelled by a feeling of excitement. Shakespeare may have penned the original quote that led to “the world is your oyster” but he could never have imagined that with a laptop and an internet connection, you literally have at your fingertips the power to chase your dreams, to change the world if you so choose.
Don’t assume I was always eager and ready to go. The challenges of a busy workplace, the hectic pace of my role as wife and mother to three young children, plus six solid months of house guests, training and certifying to be a coach at times were overwhelming. Wait, whose turn is it to make dinner tonight?
Working weekends and nights, and early mornings when the only company I have is the cat can be both productive and lonely. When the cat stares at you at 4am it can be hard to know if he is just waiting for breakfast or silently wondering what is wrong with this human who is supposed to be so in control of her life?
Lesson Two: Remember that you are driving towards a bigger purpose and take strength from the solitude of dark of morning/night work. Oh, and while you are chasing dreams your expectations in other parts of your life may need to move from perfect to acceptable for now.
But I remain fuelled by my passion. Just ask anyone close to me who has probably heard more than they really want to about the topic. I also remain fuelled by the knowledge that I may only have one real chance to get this right and get it right I must. I have always been driven by the desire to fulfill my purpose, to have others around me and outside of my circles see their own potential met. I want my girls to grow up in a better world than what I had. Not in the way of things but in the way of promise and opportunity and support. Idealistic? Perhaps, but what a wonderful world that would be.
Probably my biggest challenge has been finding a voice for my brand that would both communicate the absolute importance of what we are facing, but also do so in a way that was empowering instead of negative, in a way that called people to action without slamming those in power that might want to join in and support us in this effort. We have heard a lot of expressions in recent months about ‘quiet quitting.’ This is something we cannot be quiet about but it is a fine line between anger and desire, between encouraging and condemning, between laying out the issue and providing people examples that resonate. If I could define my voice in a few words it would be the desire to be a bridge builder, to seek peaceful reconciliation while serving as a voice who have felt they had none.
Lesson Three: Your voice may not actually be your voice but rather a creation made of all of the advice, the input, the feedback, and the reactions of those around you as you try to understand what you want to say and how best to frame it.
Employee activism fascinates me, because of the community it instills, because it really is about people coming together to champion a shared cause, ultimately for the good of their own company, sometimes for the good of others. Ultimately all of my planning about strategy and voice and content and platforms will mean nothing if people do not come together, if they do not link arms to join in the pursuit of a better way of doing things.
So here is the new day one for my labor of love: Vanguard Voices. It is not new but it is newly imagined and now ready for you to become part of it. I am excited. I welcome your input, your lessons, your voices. I know that if we embark on this journey together we can build each other up, carry each other when the work gets hard, and that together, we can get this done.
Today is step one.
“THE PEOPLE WHO ARE CRAZY ENOUGH TO THINK THEY CAN CHANGE THE WORLD
ARE THE ONES WHO DO.”
- STEVE JOBS, American Entrepreneur
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