Answering to Myself

Sometimes you just have to stand up, take a position and stay with it, regardless of the older (but not necessarily better-informed) voices speaking against your ideas.  A FrontRange GoldMine blog with 666 members may not necessarily be a comfortable place to argue with those who have been in the business  longer than I have. Especially when the group includes some superb, well-known industry experts and one self-admitted grump with a Grumpy avatar who speak as if they were in on the pre-beta tests of GoldMine Premium Edition.  A few of them are actually published authors. In a word, they can claim to be more technically authoritative than I am.  However, remaining silent is worse.  I have to answer to myself just before I drift off to sleep at night.

Until recently, my points about integrating social networking with GoldMine Premium Edition at the heavily  technically-oriented members of the FrontRange Community site have mostly been met with pushback.

Not that I did not expect that to happen. It’s just that very often the louder chorus of voices can easily drown out a soloist with the courage to speak up for change.

A fair estimate of the male to female ratio in the FrontRange GoldMine community site is about 10 men to every woman. And when a chorus entirely dominated by men spoke in doubt about the value of integrating social networking with GoldMine, it got rough and tumble. I pictured myself standing up and speaking directly and in person  as a group.  For some people, that might be a rather intimidating experience.

That was when my Toastmasters training kicked  in, making the FrontRange community experience  exhilirating, not daunting; exciting, not devastating.

I first joined Toastmasters in 1981. Since then, I have spoken to thousands at a time. I have spoken in front of strangers and in front of friends. I have spoken to hostile groups. Most recently, and in front of a virtual LinkedIn Toastmasters group of 5,773, I have been debating the value of a proposal being put to all of our voting members around the globe, including the Executive Director and those Board members present. Based on the Toastmasters International profile showing 53% of our members being female, I suspect I have been talking to more women than men. But again, it’s mostly men pushing back in public.  Why that seems to be so, I am not sure.

The experience in each group gets my heart pumping.  Sometimes I just have to speak my truth to power to answer to myself just before I drift off to sleep at night.  Then I’m glad to be a Toastmaster.