We all know the experience of being dismissed as an irrelevant voice, or an irrelevant human.
And…if we are honest, we have all dismissed others as irrelevant.
I have been a master at dismissing, which of course is why I have had to face dismissal so thoroughly of late.
Here is how it works. I am introduced to a ‘business as usual type”, a male, white, either business hip – jeans, T-shirt and scruffy – or smart suit…and in less than 2 seconds, I am dismissed. No questions asked, just judged and juried. Dismissed. Bam.
My age, my sex…
If we do get past the 2 seconds, then I am increasingly dismissed because I live in a commitment to beautiful business…where there is enough to go around and we do not have to build the next monopolising unicorn, or be the guy who has had several exits, or have extracted the juice out of everyone to be ‘successful’, aka Walmart and Uber. And because I do show up without this overt win-as-much-as-I-can agenda, or covert extract-as-much-as-I-can agenda..because I show up to explore synergies, period…to win win win all around, then I am not taken seriously.
Or, because I am not hard core commercial, then people do not know which box to put me in, and boom, I am not taken seriously. “Is she for real?”
Occasionally I meet someone who actually understands the enormous value of emotional and social capital. (emotional capital = the ability to care for, listen to, deeply respect and honour our fellow humans. Social capital = the nurturing of profound local and global networks, people who trust you and are trusted)
In our world being heard is a form of wealth.
Think of the people we give attention to.
It is rarely the cleaner, the child care worker, the carer. We do pay attention to the Kardashians? To celebrity. To the monied. The status symbol.
The ‘underclass’ is the voiceless.
Of course the good news is that to a degree the internet has enabled more people to be heard.
I used to think that you just had to produce really excellent work and you would be heard. But it requires more than that. You must be clever at marketing, social media, and more often than not manipulation through media.
There is a serious amount of luck involved to be heard on the interwebs, even if you have the voice of an angel.
I believe we as humans are starved for voices of truth. The Annie Lamont’s of the world who cut through BS and go to the marrow.
The poets, who use words with the precision of an artisan sushi chef. Taking the complex, and enabling full transmission from their heart to ours with no waste.
We all want to be heard. To be seen. To be understood. In our full unglamored glory. No smoke, no mirrors, no filters. Raw, pure, uncontaminated.
When we foolishly step over the voice of a fellow human, or walk right past the maestro playing violin in the subway, we are seeding the path for our own dismissal.
When we turn up the volume on the white noise of celebrity and gossip, we are seeding the path for a world that dismisses the value of the true artist.
When we allow the ego driven male to mansplain and dismiss, we are seeding a path inaccessible to women and minorities.
When we roll over in the face of corruption, cronyism, nepotism, hypocrisy, we are seeding a path for autocracy and our own slavery.
No matter what our status, what our education, our colour, our sex, our age…we have to find our voice.
Dismissal is an agreement through silence and acquiescence.
We need to find our voice. And give voice to others.
Photo Credit: Marc-Olivier Jodoin