Sunday, 17 May 2009

Overcoming the fear

I wrote yesterday about a colleague who was reluctant to post their opinions to the new company Intranet.


This fear is understandable. For many of us there is nothing worse than feeling that our opinions have no value, however, this fear can be overcome. It doesn’t take money, status or possessions, it is choice, a choice only you can make. I encourage you to choose freedom over fear.



  • Your opinion is valid
  • Not everyone will agree with you
  • Opinion is different to fact

Your opinion is valid

Not only is your opinion valid, we want to hear it, your opinions are part of who you are, to hide your opinions is hiding part of who you are. Not only do we want to hear your opinion, we want to talk to you about it, we want to converse, to engage, to debate.


Not everyone will agree with you

We are human. We have our own thoughts, our own opinions, our own beliefs.
You are human. You have a voice. You are curious. You are passionate. You seek fun experiences. You seek to share your opinions. Like most people you also seek gratification, you may also seek validation and acceptance, you want to belong.

If you don’t use your voice (be it on this platform or others) to say something, have conversations and dialogue, you are ignoring an essential part of being human.

Think of this, close your eyes and really think, who are your closest relationships with?
Your spouse or partner? Your children? Your parents? Siblings? Friends? Colleagues?
Think of the 5 people who you are closest to…

Of these 5, how many agree with you about 100% of the topics you discuss 100% of the time?

None of them. Not one.


How many of the 5 do you agree with about 100% of the topics you discuss 100% of the time?

Do you see my point?


Being concerned that that someone will disagree with you is like being concerned that the sun will rise tomorrow, you can’t have everyone agree with you any more than you can stop the sun rising tomorrow, so why worry about it? You have more important and valuable things to use that big brain of yours for!


Opinion vs fact

Indulge me for a moment… If you were to say to me that:


“Linux is the most prevalent desktop Operating System in UK businesses today, and it out sells Microsoft Windows by a factor of 10:1.”

You would be wrong. And I may not engage you in conversation about it. I may point out some facts that show different, and you may learn something, but I am just as likely to ignore what you said.

However, if you were to say to me that:


“Linux is a better, more powerful, flexible and usable desktop Operating System than Microsoft Windows, and should be used as the standard in UK businesses.”

I would disagree, but, and this is important, this is your opinion (and it is valid). I would be interested. I would engage you in conversation.



You do have something to say.


And what’s more, we want to listen, we want to engage.


Possibly the most important thing to remember is this:


Speak using your own voice

Be funny, we will laugh.
Be controversial, we will debate.
Be passionate, we will respect you for it.

Tell us what you actually think, not what you think we want you to.

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