At times, it takes me a while to speak up. I blame my mom. For whatever reason, she memorized an Omar Khayyám poem and taught it to me at a very young age. I knew all about the idea of being unable to cross out a line after its been written, no matter how many tears are shed. As much as I’ve kept that sentiment in mind all these years, I’ve also been gifted with another piece of advice, this time from my father: “Don’t take shit from anyone.”
Related Post: Money Lessons from Very Different Parents
I’d like to say there was a dramatic tipping point in which my father’s words finally drowned out my mother’s. But honestly, that tired troupe of the financial damsel in distress is passed around the internet on any day that ends in Y. So it wasn’t that.
Maybe it was my birthday. Or maybe it was just time. But for whatever reason, I finally put
pen to paper finger to keyboard and wrote the words that had been rattling around in my mind for months. Maybe longer. The mentors I admire, the bloggers I read, the followers on social media who have become very real friends, well, that post was as much theirs as it was mine. I was very much writing on the shoulder of giants. Still, I didn’t realize how loudly it would echo.
Now I realize that there was one hole in the piece. The call to action was loud. So loud, in fact, that The Financial Diet turned it into a pull quote. (I know. I’m not even dying. I’m dead dead dead.) In it, I implored men to invite women into conversations. I later requested that women use their own platforms to uplift other women and scale back on the likes of Dave Ramsey and Tony Robbins. They don’t need anymore of the publicity or our dollars.
But I failed to do what matters most. I didn’t call myself to action. I’m exempt from the first request in my piece by the sheer fact that I am not a dude. As for the second part, well, let’s just say you won’t find me quoting either of Those Experts Who Shall Not Be Named on social media. So I completely let myself off the hook, which defeats the point of a personal finance blog.
Both by profession and by hobby, I know that words are powerful. While I like to hope that my post might make even one person reconsider their words or alter their actions, I am not so naive to think that there are really any words or actions that I can control other than my own. Which is why it is so problematic that I left out that piece.
Though I pride myself on still commenting on and sharing as many blog posts as I can get my tired eyes on these days, I, too, have fallen short when it comes to amplifying other voices to the best of my ability. Even though I know better.
Professionally, I have always looked for small ways to recognize coworkers. But until this school year, I never did anything beyond the scope of the building in which I worked. When I came back from my maternity leave this fall, though, I realized what a remarkably selfish thing I was doing by not lifting up others. So I worked with a coworker to nominate another coworker for an award at the district level.
She is a coworker, a mentor, a veteran teacher who is my senior and yet even more in-touch with best practices and popular culture than I am. I can’t nominate her into a raise. But I could show her my gratitude and let her know that her hard work hasn’t gone unappreciated. The look on her face when we read a brief excerpt from the nomination form at a staff meeting was worth its weight in gold. Not just for her, but for me as well. To put it simply, having my gratitude received so warmly was a greater gift to me than what I gave her.
And yet, I never made the connection that one of the easiest ways to start the slow process of change in the money world is exactly the same. Sure, I have made gestures before. From open invitations to guest post to doing various round-ups and shout outs. But those are akin to the type of in-house recognition I was doing in my professional life.
I’m ready to do more. I’m ready to be louder. In addition to promoting resources like Women Who Money and Women’s Money Talk, I am going to push voices that need to be heard into as many spheres as I can. I will submit them to Rockstar Finance, I will submit them to Camp FIRE Finance, and I will submit them to any other forum I can find. (Heck, maybe I’ll even really give Facebook a go this summer.) I will nominate blogs and individuals for the Plutus Awards. I will do as much as I can with my own platform to raise up the voices of those women and yes, those men, too—all of whom I have come to call some of my closest friends.
So Tell Me…Can you think of other platforms or forums or mediums that I (or anyone) can use to shine a light on all the awesome-sauce that needs to be seen and heard and read?