The march is over, now what?
If you can’t fly, then run
If you can’t run, then walk
If you can’t walk, then crawl
But whatever you do, keep moving forward! – Dr. Martin Luther King
Have you ever thought “Can I really make an impact on something so much bigger than me?” Well marching with millions of your closest friends and strangers is a great place to start!
Seeing the pictures of millions of women and men all marching in the streets from DC to California to cities around the globe was beyond words. It’s listed as one of the biggest one day protest in American history. There was a synergy that can not be described. A sense of strength, the message of equality, inclusion, and intersectionality on the world’s stage. Many gathered to stand with this one unifying message. Each feeling a part of something bigger than themselves. The marchers marched with both passion and disbelief. Passion for the cause and disbelief that in 2017 we are STILL marching for equality.
So now that all the media coverage is over, the cleverly worded signs have been put away, and our timelines are no longer flooded with images of the masses; I can’t help but ask, “Now what?” This is same question I asked in my last article Who’s Next? What happens when we are no longer cocooned or comforted by the crowd? When we return to “real life” and our 9-5? When clients are looking for the “owner” and looking past you. Yes, mobilization is easy following someone else’s bravery to start a movement. We commend the courage and bravery of the Women’s March on Washington organizers, Janaye Ingram and Tamika Mallory. The movement made it easy to share our voice in a sea of voices. But again the question about what happens next, is still unclear.
The same questions can be asked in your career or business. How will you keep marching when there is no crowd? Or when your voice is the only voice? We MUST find our voice to speak up in meetings. Find our voice when the leadership team doesn’t look like the workforce it leads. Find our voice when there are qualified leaders in the pipeline but they don’t get moved up to the next level. And find our voice when diversity and inclusion are just buzzwords in the organization but there are no obvious or outright efforts to change the landscape. Your march doesn’t have to be a global movement; but it should focus on how you can impact your circle of influence.
As you consider the “Now What” question for any area of life, be intentional and introspective. Ask yourself:
- How will I show up differently and challenge the status quo?
- How will I leverage my voice differently?
- How will I react and respond differently?
There are many organizations, businesses, and individuals who are champions of equality. However, we all have the opportunity – and the responsibility – to impact change, address obstacles, and lend our voice to create the real, responsive and radical change we want to see.