When I see a teenage boy screaming at his girlfriend—red-faced, huffing, yelling obscenities in her face—I will not allow myself to be a passive bystander. I will march over, intervene, and make sure she’s okay. (I have in the past. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.)
When a guy at the gym makes a comment about my body (“Oh no, don’t leave, then I won’t have anything nice to look at…”) I will not let it slide. I will speak up—and let him know that his comments are completely inappropriate. (‘Cause he needs to know.)
And you know what? When someone makes a rude comment about my career (“Life coaching, huh? Is that even, like, a real job? Good thing your husband makes good money, haha!”) I will quickly set them straight.
Call me a “bitch” if you want—many have. Call me “mouthy,” “uppity,” or “full of it.” Call me any name under the sun. I’ve already encountered every troll imaginable, and I’ve heard every insult you can fathom. At this point? Names won’t stop me.
It comes down to this: I refuse to sit back and allow myself—or anyone else—to be treated unfairly, disrespected, or harmed in any way.
Over the years, well-meaning people have urged me to quiet down.
“Take the high road,” people have said to me. Meaning, “Pick your battles. Some things just aren’t worth making a big fuss over. Sometimes it’s better to say nothing.”
Is it, though?
This begs the question: What is the “high road”?
Does taking the “high road” mean averting your gaze, staring down at the ground (or your phone), and not getting involved? Letting people be disrespectful? Letting people behave inappropriately? Letting unfair situations continue? Just letting things slide—because it feels too “awkward” or “uncomfortable” to do something?
Or…does taking the “high road” mean calmly standing in your power, speaking firmly and clearly, and letting people know that their behavior is not okay?
I believe it’s always possible to take action—and speak up—in a calm, grounded way.
You don’t have to shriek hysterically. You don’t have to flail your arms, or hurl Trump-like insults. You can change the world with quiet power. Center yourself, look them right in the eyes, and say whatever needs to be said:
“That type of comment is not appropriate.”
“You need to be more respectful towards women.”
“I know you think you’re paying me a compliment, but you’re not. I’d appreciate if you stop making comments about my body.”
“Get your hands off me.”
“Back away from me right now.”
“I asked you politely to leave. Now, leave.”
“That joke you just made is racist, and it’s not funny.”
What is the high road? It’s using your power. Using your voice. Using your position of privilege. Speaking up to defend those who’ve been oppressed. Being active, not passive. Making a scene, when a scene needs to be made.
To me, that’s the high road.
And it’s the only road I want to take.
PS. Join me on the high road. This week, if you experience something offensive, inappropriate, threatening…don’t just sigh and turn away and let it slide. Say something. Do something. Use your power to educate people about what’s okay and what’s not. Some people just don’t know. Because they’ve never been called out before. Be the first.
PPS: Have you heard?! Enrollment is OPEN for my 2020 Mastermind course On the 6! It’s time to hit & go beyond that $100k milestone. Do it for you, Boo.