How My Unpopular Opinion Created Influence

I recently sent out a blog post to the subscribers on my site via Mail Chimp as I always do, but this time I also sent it out to my mailing list of peers in my industry (film and television). This post was respectfully critical of a practice in my line of work that needs some light shed on it (in my opinion). So off it went.

**Click PLAY above to watch my video on this topic**

My site subscribers responded well to the post and I got some great engagement, however, some of the people from my industry list hit the unsubscribe button, fairly quickly I might add. A few also happened to be people that I respect and that have a bit of influence. My stomach started to tighten, my heart beat faster and the only thing I could think was “What the hell have I done”? I immediately regretted sending it to that peer list.

After an hour, I began to ask myself some truly hard questions. “Was I right to send this out”? “Was I telling the truth”? “Was I studied and thorough in my assumptions”? “Was I adding value to an important conversation”? I answered yes to all of them, but the thought that frustrated me most, even angered me was one that was coming out of an old place. A place that had stopped me from moving forward in the past. That thought was “my opinion doesn’t count. I might offend someone”?

With this old script, the one that says “don’t rock the boat”, I built a businesses that started out as a good idea but eventually became unrecognizable because I didn’t want to risk offending anyone. Because of that mindset I ended up with partners that were bad for me and a business that didn’t work.

I know what happens when I secretly hold an opinion back for fear of offending influential people. People that can move the needle in our careers or advance a project, or hell, are simply our bosses. But now, I find myself enthusiastic about leaning into honest, and sometimes unpopular opinions without fear and in fact, turning that opinion into influence and opportunity. So the takeaway for me was, when I owned my honest opinion, I actually built trust with my audience which has lead to more subscribers. I found that I must take a side, firmly, on a topic that I’m writing about or in a video that I create. If I don’t, I might as well say nothing because the effect of riding the middle yields nothing.

I’m now able to build a life of choice by doing the one thing I used to be terrified to do…give my opinion (I’m still scared but I do it anyway). I’m learning to role with the varying responses. Responses ranging from enthusiasm to outright hatred. I’m willing to bleed a little. I find that the things I’m most afraid of never happen. My career doesn’t fall into a thousand pieces, people don’t run for the hills and I’m not paraded down the street with someone ringing a bell behind me repeating the word “Shame”.

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