I required the students in my class to watch Luvvie Ajayi Jones’ TED Talk: Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable. Nearly all of them commented in their reflection papers that she inspired them to think about speaking up and using their voices, even when they were hesitant to do so.

Luvvie says that someone has to “be the first domino” who speaks up and causes others to follow behind them. It’s tough being that initial voice, even if you know it’s the right thing to do. Her talk provides some of the encouragement and motivation required to be first.

What resonated most with me was her comment that others see the person who speaks up as fearless. “We’re not fearless,” she said. “We feel like we have to.” In other words, it’s an unrealistic expectation to wait until it feels comfortable to have the hard conversations. Even Luvvie, who refers to herself as a “professional troublemaker” gets uncomfortable.

Luvvie reminded me of Shonda Rhimes and her book The Year of Yes. Both women intentionally agreed to do things that scared them as a way to lean into risk-taking and embrace what was uncomfortable for them. The lessons learned from their adventures motivated them to gain the confidence required to use their voice and become a force in other venues.

Spend ten minutes with Luvvie’s TED Talk and gain some inspiration to shake things up a bit. Comfort is overrated.

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