Activism as an inside job

Did you know Australia has dropped 6 places on the gender equity scale as published annually by the World Economic Forum? That this year we came in at 50th while our neighbours across the sea in New Zealand increased their performance and are now ranked 4th on the same scale?

Yep, Australia 50th, New Zealand 4th.

Clearly, we have a lot of work to do.

It would be very easy to list all the ways in which we can see this play out, especially in the political arena right now. The allegations, the cruelty, the double standards, the inability to stop, listen and respond appropriately. All of these things leading to a growing swell of anger amongst women and supporters of gender equity and inclusion, united in saying enough is enough.

And while we can feel the momentum growing and hear the increased commentary on these issues it’s not hard to feel powerless against a history that has moved slowly to address these and many other social issues. After all these aren’t new issues. These aren’t issues being played out somewhere else, in some dark corner of this vast country of ours. No. They are issues that have made their way the nations capital to the very building where decisions that shape the nation are made. Decisions that are made by the people we elect to make them.

No wonder we feel so angry, violated and helpless.

But we are not helpless. And it will require each and every one of us to keep the pressure on to realise the changes we are looking for. It’s not only going to be the protesters, the bravery of the few who speak out and tell their stories or those who go public who will lead the change. It’s all of us. Every day, calling out bad behaviour and remaining steadfast even when no one takes any notice. Every day, shutting down inappropriate jokes and stories even when we get eye rolled. Every day, “doing the work” to build our own resilience, learning to trust ourselves again and address the limiting beliefs and old stories we tell ourselves that have been woven into our lives through generations of oppression and power over women.

Elizabeth Lesser calls this last act “innervism”. A term she coined to balance out the act of activism. Activists play an important role in social change, but they run the risk of becoming the anger and the fury at the core of the issues they are fighting against. To maintain balance and to not become the monster we are fighting, she recommends we do the inner work to address our own biases and shadows. That when we can stand up for what we believe outwardly and become that which we want to change inwardly, then we can feel the wholeness of who we are.

Or, as Ghandi so profoundly said: become the change you want to see in the world.

For women this message resonates on a visceral level. We stand in our power when we can embrace who we are rather than what we do. Our journey is one to become. Our power lies in our wholeness and our wholeness is reflected though our natural longing to sustain life which we do through our connection to ourselves, each other and the world around us. As we do the inner work and become more attuned to the wholeness within, we access powers that connect, harmonise and bring about peace. And that is the balance we need to progress change.

Want some ideas on what “innervism” could look like for you?

  • Embrace your feminine energy. Release the toxic energy that judges, separates and divides. Return to the lifegiving, compassionate, hopeful energy that is your birthright. The energy that allows you to use your fury to advocate for change on the outside while having the courage to face your own shadows on the inside.

  • Commit to a path of self-development and growth. Take a trip of self-discovery and unpack what it really means to be you. Read books, listen to podcasts, journal and join communities.

  • Contemplate and consider what you want your future to look like. What do you want to be known for? What do you stand for? When asked, how do you want people to describe you now and into the future? Who are you becoming in this process?

  • Build your bravery muscle by speaking up. Start small with family and friends if you need to. Know that every time you speak up there is a ripple effect. You might not see it and you may never know it but someone is watching and someone’s views are shifting.

Are you ready to change the world? Do you want to try some “innervism”?

Then sign up to my mailing list and do the challenges I set every week to keep you on track. These challenges are designed to keep your personal growth top of mind. They allow you to make practical and incremental changes that when adopted will give you the tools and knowledge you need to forge your own path in becoming the change maker you were destined to be.

Sign up here and also receive a FREE copy of my latest publication Leading with Courage and Vulnerability – the 5 Things you Need to Know.

I look forward to welcoming you.

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