Write to Change the World
Is it time to claim your expertise, step into the spotlight and join the conversation?
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an excellent one-day training, "Write to Change the World" from the folks at the OpEd Project.
Katie Orenstein and her team are on a mission to get more women’s
voices onto the OpEd pages and sites like the Huffington Post and
This training teaches how to:
But perhaps more important than the skills training, they also help you answer the questions:
- make a clear and well-reasoned argument;
- gracefully overcome other’s objections to your point of view;
- get placement in the major media outlets (most outlets have their criteria right on their web pages).
- Am I ready to ‘claim' my expertise - even in the face of naysayers?
- Am I willing to step into the spotlight - NOW?
What we know is that some people hold themselves back from the
spotlight because they believe they are too young, or too old, too new
in their field of expertise or too unsure that they have a unique point
of view. Others believe it will require another degree for them to
achieve 'expert' status.
The OpEd training is all about helping
participants let go of these fears and uncertainties and understand that
they are ‘enough’ right now. This often requires a major mindset shift.
Make a Mindset Shift
Carol Dweck of Stanford University is the author of the 2006 book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
, has done a lot of research on why many have so much trouble believing that they are ready.
“People generally hold one of two beliefs about their abilities. People with a
"fixed" mind-set - "I am smart" or "I am athletic" - believe their
intelligence or abilities are innate, unalterable traits. A fixed
mind-set can … make challenging situations threatening to self-image.
Conversely, people with a "growth" mind-set - "I can get better with
practice" - believe that they can cultivate needed skills … through
focused effort. They are more equipped to handle setbacks and know that
goals are attainable through hard work.”*
Fortunately, Dweck assures us that a fixed mindset can be changed – often just by
teaching people about the difference between a fixed and a growth
Orenstein and her team are teaching just that –
through experiential exercises that include ‘claiming’ your expertise
and defending your argument to others. A great way to reset your own
Just because you're not ready to write an OpEd doesn't mean that you have a fixed mindset. That is not what I’m suggesting.
There are many different reasons that you might not step into the spotlight or claim your expertise.
hold themselves back because they are concerned they will be seen as
bragging or ‘too big for their britches’. But, as author, speaker and
investor Guy Kawasaki said in a recent online conversation with Rafe Needleman, “If you are adding value, is that bragging? No.”
fear they will not find support from their boss or their organization.
Yet, done well, thought leadership can bring a huge win-win for
organizations. Avinash Kaushik began his blog about digital analytics, Occam’s Razor,
when he was an individual contributor at Intuit. (He's now the Digital
Marketing Evangelist at Google.) Over time, as he grew his following and
his team, the Intuit HR group let him know that his online fame made
their job easier as everyone wanted to come and work for him. Intuit
also became more widely respected because of Kaushik’s thought
- Still others worry that what they know,
they learned from others – they shouldn’t claim a unique set of
expertise. Yet, often it’s how you applied what you learned that is what
others want to know. Margarita Baggett,
MSN, RN, Chief Nursing Officer at UC San Diego Medical Center is one of
the rare nurse leaders who has been a part of successfully implementing
the Magnet Recognition Program® Framework at two hospitals. (The Magnet
Recognition Program Framework is designed to improve the quality of
nursing in a hospital and implementation is usually a multi-year
effort.) As a result, she has developed a unique set of best practices
that others are eager to learn as they make their own journey to Magnet
recognition. She is a regular speaker at industry conferences to share
her lessons learned.
Cultivate a Growth Mindset
As you look forward to the year ahead --
and move forward on your own journey from leader to thought leader –
what can you do to: - cultivate a growth mindset:
Create more value for your industry or your organization by sharing what you know;
Share your best practices and lessons learned?
In the meantime, the OpEd Project is hosting many more trainings (find the dates here) across the country and at at least 6 different universities. Sign up today.
Learn more about Carol Dweck here and here*.
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