Today I want to lean more deeply in to the philosophy behind being OUT LOUD and why I feel it is important for all women – and men – to embrace this way of being.
I sometimes ask myself if I fail to effectively communicate the serious and heartfelt intent behind my message. I see that people wonder if I am going to do or say something outrageous or that I will expect them to. I see the anxiety in people’s eyes that I may force them to stand up and declare their most intimate secrets or do something that will make them feel embarrassed or foolish.
Yet that is not what being OUT LOUD stands for and not what I stand for as a coach. On the contrary, being OUT LOUD means embracing exactly who you are, speaking your truth in whatever way feels right for you and if that means saying nothing, or expressing yourself in a non-verbal way, then I understand that is your choice. And I completely respect you for it.
For me to insist you do something or be a certain way which is counter intuitive for you goes against all that OUT LOUD stands for and would simply be adding to the kind of limited thinking that I am trying to confront.
However, there are some situations which I believe we as a society have a duty to speak up about –as OUT LOUD as possible.
The terrible truth is that despite all the advances women have made, there are still many instances all over the world (including close to home) where woman are being exploited, victimised, brutalised, frightened, bullied, intimidated or abused. All of us must speak up in this situation, we must express our outrage and horror forcibly; especially where the victim is unable, for whatever reason, to speak up for herself.
I was painfully reminded of this when I watched two TED talks this week – the first is given by Leslie Morgan Steiner who tells how she was violently abused and threatened throughout her first marriage. Eventually she found the courage to leave her husband and despite successfully rebuilding her life, is now determined to speak out about domestic violence. Her point is that this kind of violence thrives and grows in an atmosphere of secrecy. I can’t imagine what it does to this courageous woman each time she retells and relives her horrifying story but she does it because she knows that keeping silent means the perpetrators will continue to be protected.
The second talk is given by Theresa Flores who again with incredible courage, relates how she was sexually trafficked at the age of only sixteen. She found herself too terrified to tell anyone about it, not even her parents. Now years later she speaks up and campaigns against this horrifying atrocity and through her ingenious ‘finding a voice through soap’ initiative provides terrorised girls and women with a lifeline of escape.
Paradoxically on a certain level I do not feel qualified to speak about these horrifying issues – I have never experienced the kind of abuse that these brave women have endured nor do I work in this field.
And yet I truly believe that the OUT LOUD refrain has something to offer this debate – if women are empowered to speak up for themselves, they are less likely to be intimidated. If all of us are able to expressly challenge these outrages which in the past may have been taboo because of shame or fear, it will give the message to the world that we as a society do not tolerate women being hurt or frightened. We truly need to follow the inspiring examples of amazing OUT LOUD women like Leslie Morgan Steiner and Theresa Flores who heroically speak up so that others may be safe.
Have you ever been in a situation where you felt you needed to speak up either because of risk to yourself or others? Please share with us what happened and if you want to find the courage to speak up for yourself or others email me at and we can start the conversation.