I was talking with a friend yesterday about a big change she wants to make. She was noticing and navigating that inevitable fear that creeps up in the face of making a bold and brave new choice.
“I’m worried about all of the criticism that I’m going to get.”
I, of course, tried to encourage her. “You can’t be worried about that. The criticism may happen. But it might not. Either way, when you make a choice that is truer to who you are, you will make even deeper connections with those folks who DO support you. And that’s the more important thing.”
She heard me. Still recognizing, though, that the fear is there and the fear is real. And, I can’t blame her. Who can? Making a bold and brave change is a process. And this process takes time to align your internal capacities to your external realities. All I can do as a friend is to keep listening and encouraging.
AND, I can introduce her to McKenna Pope whose TED Talk I watched just after I spoke with my friend. This 14 year old tells us the story about her choice to become an activist in the face of harsh criticism. In her talk, McKenna tells the story of how she very publicly stood up to Hasbro, encouraging them to produce their Easy Bake Oven in more gender neutral colors. She talks about all of the internet trolls she encountered along the way and teaches us “There are always gonna be haters. So let your haters hate and make your change.” She then goes on to say at the end of her speech,”you can take that spark within you and turn it into a fire.”
Sure, we all have that inevitable fear, but McKenna has the antidote -let the haters hate- wow…it really is that simple. When we know we have no control over what the haters are going to say and do, we can do our best to forget about them and move on to the work of making change.
This is why McKenna Pope is today’s honorary Go Girl!