listen to silence, it has so much to say - rumi

For a while, I've had a little thorn in my side that I've noticed I've allowed to cause some frustration with some professional relationships. I've always wanted to maintain neutrality with some because I know firsthand that there tends to be a degree of vindictiveness. Honestly, a bit of fear held me back, too. This negates one of my always-talked-about issues, advocating for yourself, so I know that it's time to talk about it.

One thing I know for sure is that our life experience contributes significantly to how we are both in personal and business relationships. There is a degree of truth when discussing dismissing the small things. We have to do that, given how experiences mold who we are. The problem, however, is when we dismiss the small things that tend to build into a consistent big thing. I overlook small things occasionally because I hope people extend that same courtesy to me. Everyone, myself included, can overcome past experiences to be a better person. Those positive and negative attributes are often reflected in our leadership and employee roles.

Our encounters with others will inevitably bring up differences, whether political, religious, or on various other issues. This is where learning to be silent is something we should aspire to and understand why those differences should have zero influence on our professional affiliations. Not only is it against the law, but certain things have no bearing on how we or others perform their jobs. However, silence is only sometimes golden.

There is a lesson to be learned regarding what our silence says about us. Most importantly, does silence affect how we show up and support others?

You see, overlooking the small things when I know I'm supported allows those small things to remain small. I've been thinking a lot about this for the last six months because I've noticed a particular trend in support in certain aspects of my professional affiliations. This led me to think about how I help others in various ways and to evaluate when silence isn't necessarily a positive attribute.

I've developed a checklist of sorts based on how I try to conduct myself as a media director, business owner, contractor, and friend to ensure that my actions show support in the best way possible.

  • Respond. It takes very little time to respond to questions and inquiries. If I don't answer, I don't have a job. Some of you may get a lot of emails, but a form reply is better than none. It's highly unprofessional not to respond at all. If you're a leader or director, there isn't any excuse. (Pro tip...check your filtered/junk inbox once a month to be sure you've not missed anything. I had a job opportunity reply that went into a junk folder for a big world event that I would have missed out on if I hadn't diligently checked those other inboxes.) Simple responses are better than none at all.
  • Engagement. Believe it or not, especially in small groups, this IS noticed. Selective support when it suits appearance isn't support at all. Here are some suggestions to evaluate your engagement:
  • Do I engage with those I've worked with?
  • Do I follow them on social media and not follow others?
  • Do I engage with them for their efforts, direction, and ideas?
  • Do I engage with them similarly in a group of people when it's not work-specific issues?
  • Support. Your team isn't built to make you look good. You build a team to make the core mission look good. Too often, it's apparent that the success of a team and how that reflects on you as a leader is the focus. You might want to read that one again. I've been on teams like that and worked for people like that. How do you support your leaders and your team? Disagreements happen, but respect and courtesy go a long way in showing support, even in times of challenge. One thing that is sadly something I see often is the lack of support for those who leave companies or positions. I realize we don't know the context, but it's safe to say that usually, someone will not praise their previous work opportunity if there were issues that warranted their no longer employed status. A simple expression of gratitude for a former team member is a good optic.
  • Value. Value can be both monetary and not. Some will hate or disagree with this, and I understand experience negates pay, but sometimes experience is pretty similar across the board. I can say I've been in a space where my resume far exceeds the professional sporting expertise of others, and yet I know I'm paid less despite the workload being precisely the same. When you openly place value higher on others doing the same job, you openly show them you don't support them. Value can also be defined by how we engage those on our team. If you do not value your team members similarly, I can tell you that it does not create a positive and cohesive work environment. I've seen it happen, which can be detrimental in various ways.
  • Attitude. Indifference is not an acceptable practice for anyone in leadership. There, I said it. You can absolutely be dedicated, efficient, and excellent at your job while also being indifferent to a degrading degree. Your attitude equates to others' level of support. The dynamic of a leader role was never intended to be one that treats others poorly. Your attitude leaves a lasting impression, regardless of how talented you are in your job.

Take the time to evaluate how you support others and listen to the support around you. If support is silent, listen loudly.

Much love,


Palais Garnier was taken in March 2023 while touring Paris, France.