Be the “first domino” to fall by taking a personal risk for the greater good.
We need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Especially if we wanted to improve the world. Then we need to consider being the first domino. The first domino to fall is the spark which starts a chain reaction of falling dominoes that follows.
“Fear has a very concrete power of keeping us from doing and saying the things that are our purpose.”
Speak up about the changes needed to make the world a better place, even when it’s difficult or you’re afraid. Just like Greta Thunberg’s speech on climate change. You don’t have to be fearless.
Being the first domino is scary, and speaking truth to power comes often comes at a price. But being the first to speak out will inspire others to follow in your footsteps.
In order to effectuate lasting change, abandon our comfort zone and rally like-minded individuals to your cause. Owning your purpose is difficult. Ajayi began blogging as a hobby in college after abandoning her lifelong dream of becoming a doctor.
However, it took her nine years and a stint of unemployment to recognize her purpose and proclaim herself a writer. In a year motivated by the mantra “do it anyway,” she embarked on a journey of self-improvement whereby she conquered her greatest fears: She vacationed solo, went zip-lining, swam with dolphins, tried skydiving and wrote her first book.
Remaining within your comfort zone is easy. However, you can’t prompt change from a place of comfort. Comfort merely preserves convention. Speaking truth to power can feel like skydiving. You need to take a leap of faith with no safety net.
“Comfort is overrated, because being quiet is comfortable. Keeping things the way they’ve been is comfortable. And all comfort has done is maintain the status quo. So we’ve got to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
“Professional troublemakers” usually tend to critique those in power. They value truth, integrity and justice above all. But we can’t expect professional troublemakers to be the only ones willing to be first dominoes. We, too, can find our voice and speak the truths that will beget change.
Sometimes, perhaps unbeknown to yourself, you will rank among the most powerful individuals in a room. In those situations, you have a responsibility to question the status quo. When you feel you hold no power, band together with other like-minded individuals to amplify your voice.
Before becoming the first domino, analyze the truth you wish to expose to ensure it is well-meaning.
One time, Ajayi, a black woman, was invited to speak at a conference where the organizers asked her to pay for her own fare. She later discovered that the organizers reimbursed white male speakers at the conference for their travel expenses and paid them a stipend for their contribution and also paid for white female speakers’ travel costs.
Although it took guts to speak out, “silence serves no one,” and by being the first domino, Ajayi ignited a conversation on discriminatory pay practices. Similarly, by being the first domino, Tarana Burke launched the #MeToo campaign.
“It is our job, it is our obligation, it is our duty to speak truth to power, to be the domino, not just when it’s difficult – especially when it’s difficult.”
When deciding whether to take the plunge and be the first domino, consider whether you mean what you say, whether you’re able to defend your words and whether your truth comes from a place of love.
If so, you can be that first domino and ignite change. Speaking truth to power shouldn’t involve personal self-sacrifice, but it does. Nevertheless, exposing truths that move society toward a better common ground benefits everyone.
- On finding our unique voice: The 8th Habit
- If you’re interested to start blogging: “Bloggers boot camp” and “Born to blog“.