The Cost of Silence — Your Voice Matters
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I wrote the blog, Have Freakin’ Conviction, a few days after the massacre of my brothers and sisters in Israel. A few days after thirty children in pajamas were snatched from their beds and thrown into the very center of hell.
I appealed to and implored each of us to speak up.
A number of folks in my social media community spoke up by unfollowing me.
I respect those people.
They stand for something. Not what I stand for, but something.
Underneath the binary battle raging on social media, TV, and on our campuses, there is a quiet and profoundly wounding battle between those of us who are choosing to speak up and The Silent Ones.
We are, of course, free to exercise freedom of choice. But know this. Silence is the foundation on which the Holocaust occurred. So whether you are a Silent Jew or a Silent Gentile, know that your silence is deafening to the rest of us.
We keep silent in the face of the deepest violation of our values for a number of reasons.
Mainly, we don’t want to shake up friendships and business relationships with those who don’t share our point of view.
We also don’t want to lose money. I lost hundreds of followers when I published the aforementioned blog. Some people who might have been interested in working with me will no longer consider that choice.
We don’t want to be seen as mixing politics and business or politics and our personal lives.
We mistakenly believe that having conviction in a belief — like the belief that Jews are entitled to their home — means we don’t have an understanding of the opposing point of view and the myriad complexities that come with it.
But mostly, we don’t have the courage to take a stand.
If, like me, you absolutely, positively, and undeniably believe that what took place in Israel on October 7th, 2023, was nothing short of appalling evil and that it must be stopped at any cost, and yet you choose to be a silent bystander, you are lacking courage.
And if you are giving money but not speaking up, you are holding back what the world needs most at this moment: Your Voice.
Martin Luther King’s words have never rung more true for us Jews than in this moment. “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
If you are a Jew who is silent at this moment, MLK is talking about you.
If you are a gentile who is silent at this moment, who has not at least called your Jewish friends to check on them, please reconsider your silence.
I've frequently advised clients that the pinnacle of Professional Coaching doesn't revolve around the two skills that often lead people to seek coaching: Time Management and Communication Skills. While these are indeed valuable, even a mediocre coach can assist with them.
The most transformative and impactful coaching focuses on identity. Identity goes beyond your actions; it's about who you are, not just what you do.
So, this blog of mine is as much of a coaching blog as any other. No, it’s more than most of the others because here I’m talking about Identity.
Courage and Conviction determine Identity. It tells me who you are. More importantly, it tells you who you are.
If you don’t love the “Identity” this historical moment reveals to you, the good news is that you can change it.
And if you dig down and realize that you indeed have the courage but are grasping for words, here is an email I received from a true friend whom I speak to intermittently and who is not Jewish. It is the best example I can offer you of words that matter in this terrible moment.
Carolyn, I'm largely off of social media and traveling on business, but intensely following events in Israel and the repercussions globally. I didn't want another day to go by without checking in with you. It's utterly inadequate to ask "are you ok?" when that shallow sentiment is so far off the unutterable gravity of this moment. So let me ask instead if there is anything I can do to be helpful to you or your family. Individual efforts seem so miniscule, but that's where all change begins, and I want to wrap you in love and support.
Please say something.