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Speaking from Intention, Not Attention

Continuing with our series featuring writers and leaders doing the courageous work of walking into the unknown.

The next post comes from ‘Ronke Kokoruwe, executive coach, a speaker and the founder of iVerbalize, a public speaking and communications training and coaching business. 'Ronke is on a mission to champion women to take the steps to shift ‘from spectator to speaker’ and to express themselves with greater courage, clarity and confidence. ‘Ronke also mentors young women in the developing world to become future leaders.


So much is feeling fragile right now.

Against the raging backdrop of an unyielding pandemic, deep racial tensions and war, the ground upon which we stand is feeling somewhat tremulous.

There is so much noise as we as humans seek to navigate our thoughts, and unearth the deeper emotions we may not necessarily have allowed ourselves to experience ordinarily.

It’s one thing to give ourselves permission to access these deep emotions and quite another to allow ourselves to verbalize them.

Fear shows up; and threatens to silence us before the words even have the opportunity to pass through our lips. The fear of what others think of us is a sure-fire way to ensure that we remain muted spectators in whichever spaces we find ourselves in; showing up with a plan to keep us safe but that ultimately sabotages us.

Fear of saying the wrong thing, of being judged, of making things worse: The wrestle of staying silent versus embracing the discomfort of facing these real fears haunts us.

It is in this messy place of uncertainty that we can choose.

I love the quote by Abraham Maslow: "One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again."

We can choose to bravely step away from the noise and to let go of our F.E.A.R which is Futile: Enslaving: Arduous: Ruthless and to decide to move forward towards growth and to find and use our voices in the midst of the mayhem.

The truth is that we may get it wrong, we may be judged, and things may not change as we put our voices out there. But one thing is for sure in the midst of all of this: We would have changed by speaking up.

Especially when we speak up with intention and not for attention.

There is a huge difference between these two. It is easy to get caught up in the noise and speak for attention. Quite another to carefully consider our values and speak from a place of intention.

When we speak with intention and not for attention, our words convey truth and lead to action.

Speaking with intention gives us permission to show up authentically. When we speak with intention, we are able to listen with attention. When we are caught up in the noise, we so easily get it wrong. We respond instead of seeking to understand. And we know from Stephen Covey that listening is where the magic happens.

This is the growth we must choose again and again. The world needs us; it needs you and me to listen and to put our voices in the places and spaces where we exist.

So start now. What conversations can you begin to have? It may seem frightening. You probably have a reason why you shouldn't. But you can do it. Start now. There is no substitute for taking action; real action. This is where the change begins.

What will you decide to do or say today, this month, in this timely era that we exist in?

It starts with deciding to show up and speak up differently. It starts with speaking with intention and not for attention.


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