Would you agree or would you start Yea-Butting me?
Yea, but not a good one.
Yea, but it’s not like I’m a REAL storyteller.
Yea, but it’s not like I know what I’m doing.
Yea, but it’s not really about anything important.
Yea, but it’s not like anyone wants to hear what I have to say.
Yea, but it’s not like anyone asks me to do it.
Yea, but I’m just goofing around.
Yea, but I’m introverted.
YeaBut. YeaBut. YeaBut.
After working through this very conversation with nearly 70 women who have stepped onto the stage for SheSpeaks—a women’s storytelling evening I’ve run ten times now—I’ve heard a lot of YeaButs. I expect them. I normalize them. I actually have come to love them, and you know why?
When a woman says YeaBut to my invitation to SheSpeaks to share her story on stage, sure she faces her fear and her doubt and all those other hairy monsters we have within us as humans. But you know what else she does in that moment? She touches her humility in that pause. She touches her humanity in that hesitation, and let me tell you, that is often the beginning of a beautiful story.
Stories with humble beginnings are some of the best ones in my book.
It is in that pause that she reckons with that question Marianne Williamson asks in her book A Return To Love:
“Who am I to be brilliant, talented, gorgeous, fabulous?”
You know what comes next, right?
“Actually, who are you not to be?”
And Marianne goes on to remind us that showing up fully as ourselves is, in fact, a deep service to not only ourselves, but the world.
Your playing small does not serve the world….We are all meant to shine.
So put THAT in your YeaBut. I know I have over the years—many times. In fact, when I first left the cushy corporate world and started SheChanges I had a whole lotta YeaButs to contend with—the first being that up until that point, I had considered myself “one of the guys“. What the hell was I thinking starting a business working exclusively with women?
So you know what I did?
I painted that quote on the wall in my itty bitty home office that was the first roosting spot for my business.
(Side note: if you know me at all, when I really want to OWN something bold in myself, I either paint it on a wall or get a tattoo)
But back to being a storyteller. And being a woman.
What I’ve come to appreciate in the past fourteen years doing this work with women—and wrestling with my own hairy monsters—is this:
Storytelling is a feminine form of leadership.
A story transports—it has the power to take someone with you to another place.
A story paints a picture with words—it leaves images like breadcrumbs for others to find their way back to it.
A story enlists the senses—it asks our whole body (and heart and spirit) to experience it and not just the mind.
A story invites us to connect with ourselves and each other—offering solid ground to stand on in uncertain times.
A story offers a deeply personal perspective—allowing space for differences to emerge and resourcefulness to rise organically.
But you probably know all this, right? This isn’t new information. In fact, a case could be made for this being really OLD information—like ancient, in our bones information.
But if I were to ask you to speak with me on stage at this year’s at SheSpeaks…would you see yourself as that woman I see?
The one who could take up space on that stage—tomorrow if need be— and lead us forward simply by sharing what’s in her heart as only she can?
Or would you wait until you felt ready?
There’s no right or wrong answer here, and it’s not a trick question. It’s an honest one. An earnest one.
Because as I sit here in the heart of Women’s History Month, I am already eager to hear what you’d say, woman. Not just at SheSpeaks, but on our world stage.
Let’s storm the stage. YeaButs ‘n all.
Hungry for specific examples of how women create change with their stories? Every chapter of my next book, Witch Ways: You’re Not Crazy. You’re a Woman. begins and ends with a “She story” that might have you think someone has access to the thoughts inside your head, but rarely say out loud. If you want to read more about what’s coming in that book, where it came from and when it’s coming out, please check out my GoFundMe page for access to five sample chapters read by me via SoundCloud, and updates on where I am in the publishing process. I may be the birth-mother of this book, but you are its lifeblood, so this is indeed a book that is truly powered by women for women. Thank you for all of your enthusiastic support in helping me get this into your hands sooner than later!