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I Was Always Afraid To Come Out The Stupid One

Once I was invited by the CEO of an engineering company to give a talk about change in the workplace. I talked about what stops organisations from opening up to change, initiate it or support it from the human perspective. My main points were that there’s not enough space for the heart or soul-life of the individual, that what really gives meaning to people doesn’t take part in the working environment, and that there’s a great fear of failing for which there is no room for honest communication.

At the end of the talk, I opened the conversation to the audience’s questions. I could see the CEO moving restlessly in his chair. He then raised his hand as if he had a question but apparently he was actually more interested in proving me wrong and pressing the point that his organisation doesn’t suffer from such emotional problems.

For a number of years now I really haven't been interested in men explaining things to me (to borrow Rebecca Solnit's brilliant observation), so I simply turned to the audience and asked “please just raise your hand if this talk about emotional stagnation and the desire to have a more open and honest conversation in your working environment was relevant to you in some way”. About 90% raised their hands.

More than anything else, I was happy to witness myself voicing out the truth that I’m loyal to, without being silenced by the dismissive remark of a CEO. But it wasn’t always like that.

To voice out your truth you need to get in touch with your vulnerability

Being human is being vulnerable

Lately, I’ve become fully aware of a thin voice veiling almost all my thoughts and actions. A voice I was partly conscious of. It wasn’t completely new to me. What was new was the awareness of how present it is in my daily life. That voice was saying something very simple

Are you stupid?!

It showed up consistently every time I followed my heart. Every time I followed my inner vision. Each time I chose the worldview, actions or perception that aligned with my deepest understanding of life. This voice had a very simple and clear message - “You will end up the stupid one if things don't pan out “your way” but more like “their” way”; “if this will not work you’ll be ridiculed. The joke will be on you for thinking you know different."