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Silence as a medium

Silence can be uncomfortable, and it can be tempting to rush to fill “dead air.” When silence falls upon a meeting or lands abruptly in conversation, it can be unsettling and anxiety-provoking. You may question the efficiency of communication or worry that your message has been misunderstood.

But silence is one of the most powerful communication tools we can use. When harnessed, silence allows room for focus, self-reflection, empathy, and introspection. Sometimes, silence is exactly what is needed for a creative storm to follow.

The next time you find yourself in a silent standoff with a friend or among colleagues… pause. Invite silence into the space and watch what blossoms.

“Everything that’s created comes out of silence. Thoughts emerge from the nothingness of silence. Words come out of the void. Your very essence emerged from emptiness. All creativity requires some stillness.”

Wayne Dyer

Braving intimacy

Intimacy is a series of steps, a sometimes timid momentum that helps define who we are and what we most fear. Choices that shine light on the walls surrounding each one of us.

That gap between “too much” and not enough. A hesitant share. The pause before an extended hand. Gentle questions to better understand.

Of course there are risks. But the best things in life happen because of these leaps

The conversations you have

The conversations you have directly influence your reality.

Want a more positive outlook? Be intentional with your words.

Working a passion project? Talk about what you create.

Looking to spark change in your community? Listen to stories.

Want to make introductions more meaningful? Ask better questions.

Delaying projects that matter? Announce your goals to people who care.

Follow your joy

2020 has been rough. What can help you forge ahead and start 2021 fresh? Notice your joy — and follow it.

Find places that bring smiles. Recognize moments that offer lightness and reprieve. Spend time with those who make you feel good.

If joy feels like a stretch right now, start with curiosity. Ask questions. Surprise a friend. Create magic for yourself. Say thank you.

Joy is waiting.

The power of friendship

“Sometimes I feel that society likes to trick us into thinking that we cannot, or have no interest in, getting along, working together, and standing in support of one another.”

Alexandra Elle

Relationships are important. Now more than ever before.

By encouraging those around us, we can set the bar even higher for ourselves.

Examples for inspiration

Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe

At a show in Colorado, Marilyn Monroe saw Ella Fitzgerald turned away from the main entrance. She then refused to go inside until both were allowed through the front doors.

Shrinkhala Khatiwada and Maggie Doyne 

Nepal’s beauty queen advocate and CNN Hero recently collaborated to provide care and support for workers returning to Nepal.

Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez 

“She’s encouraged me when I’ve had nothing to be encouraged about,” Selena Gomez has said about Taylor Swift. The songstresses have supported each other for over a decade.

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan and Mindy Kaling

“You famously auditioned with 15,000 other young women… What stuck out about you was there’s an authenticity about your performance… yours was just completely authentic,” Mindy Kaling gushed.

Basetsana Kumalo and Pearl Thusi

“She gave me my first laptop. Helped me bury my grandmother. Held my hand as I became a mother.” Pearl Thusi’s recognition of Basetsana Kumalo could make you cry.

Meryl Streep and Patricia Arquette

Patty Arquette wins an Oscar, uses her acceptance speech to talk about wage equality, Meryl Streep enthusiastically hollered support.

Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga

“i met a woman who knew pain the same way i did… who cried as much as i did, drank as much wine as i did, ate as much pasta as i did and who’s heart was bigger than her whole body. she immediately felt like a sister to me.” Ariana gushed for Lady Gaga.

Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King

Friends since 1976, this duo continues to defend and cheer each other on. “We have talked about everything and nothing,” says Gayle King. “I’ve been to five therapists…Nobody has been a better therapist than Oprah!”

Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus 

Since 2009, Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus have exchanged consistent praise.

Gloria Steinem and Marlo Thomas

The story of the first meeting between Gloria Steinem and Marlo Thomas is legendary, and their fierce friendship has remained powerful and strong ever since.

Helen Keller and Ann Sullivan

Helen Keller was 19 months old when she lost her eyesight and hearing. 20-year-old Ann Sullivan became her teacher. The rest is history.

Tracee Ellis Ross and Samira Nasr

“…she is not a shapeshifter, changing her point of view with the times, but has a clarity and continuity of vision built from life experience, impeccable taste, a hunger for knowledge, and a love of people,” says Tracee Ellis Ross of friend Samira Nasr.

Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert

From sports rivals to supportive allies, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert built mutual admiration through sport and have shared commendable leadership, grace, and friendship.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

“Weirdly, I remember thinking, ‘My friend is here! My friend is here!’ Even though things had been going great for me at the show, with Amy there, I felt less alone.” Tina Fey’s friendship with Amy Poehler is one for the books.

Women in U.K. Parliament and Meghan Markle

“We share an understanding of the abuse and intimidation which is now so often used as a means of disparaging women from getting on with our very important work.” Women of U.K. Parliament issued a strong statement in support of Meghan Markle.

Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett

“She said, ‘Kid, if you ever need me for anything, give me a call.'” Lucille Ball helped Carol Burnett break into the industry.

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton

These two powerhouses united to campaign for women’s rights, combining Stanton’s speech writing prowess and Anthony’s vocal platform.

Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox

The hashtag should suffice: #WomenSupportingWomen.

Eleanor Roosevelt and Pauli Murray

Eleanor Roosevelt and Pauli Murray exchanged hundreds of letters throughout their friendship, uniting over debate and civic cause. Roosevelt notably wrote about her “firebrand” friend in the Feb 1953 issue of Ebony, years before the Civil Rights Movement.

Beyonce and Michelle Obama

“Every time I see her, she inspires me, she empowers me, she encourages me,” says Beyonce of Michelle Obama.

Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts

The friendship between Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts spans ALMOST 40 YEARS. Talk about #goals.

Have examples of your own? Tweet me @redheadlefthand.

Draft your dream team

As the coach of your life, be sure these players are on your team:

The Mentor – This is a person you respect and admire, someone who’s “been there.” You see their life and think “That’s what I want.” These people remind you to look at the big picture.

An Advisee – Someone you mentor. They are eager to learn from you and respect your work. Your willingness to teach them and spend time with them reaffirms your own knowledge and skills, even reminding you where you’ve come from and lessons you’ve learned along the way.

Your Advocate – No matter what circumstance you find yourself in, you need people who fight for you and honor what you stand for.

Supporting Star – You challenge each other to become the best you can be. You compare notes, support each other, and get competitive when it’s beneficial. This could be a colleague or friend, someone you feel comfortable delegating work to or can trust to help when you unexpectedly head out of town.

A Neutral – This is someone who can provide an outside perspective when needed, a person with no direct investment in your life or work.

The Wildcard – The Wildcard is just that, wild. Someone in an industry completely different than your own, an energy that keeps you on your toes and brings you new ideas and experiences.

The people around you can make the difference between pushing beyond your limits and settling for less. Find those who motivate, inspire, and encourage you to do better.

Modified from this post, March 2013.