Last Sunday, we attended a demonstration. When I told my husband I was going, he decided to join me. We told the kids, and my son and stepdaughter asked if they could join us. When my stepdaughter’s friend heard about it, she asked if she could join us, too. My daughter-in-law, sister, and niece said they would meet us there. Lots of people must have had the same experience, because 50,000 of us ended up marching in Melbourne that day. I shared my experience of this extraordinary event in social media through the whole thing: who says you can’t carry a placard and tweet at the same time? It was exhilarating and affirming, until the next day, when someone asked, “Aren’t you afraid it’s going to hurt your business?”
When you start working – either for yourself, or you enter the workforce – you inevitably come across two philosophies. The first one is to take anything and everything that comes your way: you are, after all, making a name for yourself and have to be established before you can start choosing what jobs you take on. The second one completely contradicts it: take on only the work that suits your dreams and skill set, the clients that fit your demographic profile – or market – precisely. Two philosophies at odds with each other: the need for self-actualisation VS the need for money for stuff like food, a roof over our heads. How are we supposed to choose?
Perhaps we don’t. Perhaps there are other choices to be made. Like the choice to be true to ourselves and our values. To present ourselves as we are, not arrogantly, but honestly: “This is who I am. This is what I am willing to stand up and be counted for.” To be something to ourselves before being anything to anyone else. Perhaps this one choice aligns the other two choices, because the issue then becomes not what we choose, but who will be attracted to us as a result of our first, fundamental choice.
So. Hurt my business? I don’t much care. But affect my business? I’m relying on it.