I will never forget the first time I actually decided to be persistent. I spent most of my life equating persistence with "being mean". Turns out people actually like it when you are persistent and experience not as "mean" but as a sign of respect.
This has been confirmed as I have grown the skill of persistence over the last several years. Using tools I acquired from Leading Out of Drama by Next Element I have learned ways to authentically set boundaries, hold people accountable, and disagree with grace.
Recently I was in a committee meeting where a person stated that the problem was that "Young people weren't contributing." As I looked around the room I counted four people under 40 with small children at home and I knew that it was time to say something. Previous versions of myself would have allowed the comment to pass and only to bring it up in the parking lot latter with people who I knew would agree with me. Instead I was able to do the following:
1. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. This was the self talk that happened before opening my mouth. The comment made me angry, and I wanted this person to know that. I wanted to recognize the young people in the room with me and I wasn't comfortable moving on until it was addressed.
2. Speak Up. Once touching base internally you actually have to say something. Here is a paraphrase of my statement: I find that comment offensive. There are young people in this room, myself included, that work very hard to help our team. I am interested doing more research on this problem and finding helpful solutions. Let's stick to our mission of including all people and not single out groups anecdotally.
3. Don't freak out. As soon as I said it I wanted to take it back and crawl back to my comfortable silence. Not only did I hold this person responsible I was holding myself responsible and that is uncomfortable for both of us.
4. Reap the rewards of a drama free life. The next day the same person came into my office and told me that he thought it was the best meeting we have ever had. He told me that it was the first time in years of working together that he really felt like I was present in the meeting. My mind was blown.
If you are use to giving in when the pressure is on imagining speaking up in this way may be incredibly difficult. Before Leading Out of Drama I could never have dreamed of the kind of courage it takes to stand up for myself and others in this way.