Thursday, January 28, 2010

When Your Voice is Stuck

I had the unusual treat this morning of spending time in traffic court. I was there to contest a ticket I deeply feel was issued unreasonably and found myself in a pool of mixed humanity. Some pleading "not guilty" and others acknowledging guilt. I sat there, listening to the presiding judges, who patiently listened to each case. I had plenty of examples of what to say and do before my turn came to address the judge. I new I was pleading "not guilty." But even after listening to everyone, I was nervous and choked on my response when I stepped up to the lectern.

I discovered that with all my assurance and confidence, in so many areas of my life, I felt a little unsure and anxious in that court of law. I am a person who generally follows the rules of our society. When I was in school, I rarely caused a ruckus...and if I did and I was busted, I was the most uncomfortable kid in the world. I am quite sure it is an issue of feeling powerless v powerful. In the case of my court appearance, I feel quite justified and assured of my position. My court date is set so I must gain my voice before I return and at the same time be prepared to accept the court's ruling. And yet, it could be dismissed if the officer does not appear.

But the power of this experience has exposed a part of my voice that is tentative to say the least. Authority figures, for some, stifle our voice. I experienced that feeling today. I was somewhat composed, but at the same time I wanted to plead my case and have it done. My explanation must wait for another day but by then I will be prepared and more confident when I approach the judge, should that even happen at all. In the meantime, an Achilles Heel, of sorts, has been exposed for me. Leadership and success depends upon our ability to stand tall in the face of an opposing point of view. I realized when facing someone I perceive as being more powerful, it is my right and my obligation to speak clearly and concisely but with respect and dignity. I am grateful for this insight...even if it is rather displeasing to my eyes!! This, however, is why I do what I do and write what I write. Would love to know what causes you to stumble ... it might help us all!!

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