No man is an island

“Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee”.  ~ John Donne 

Lately I’ve been reflecting on my values, on what’s important to me. And independence is big with me. Ever since my father died when I was just seven. And, If that wasn’t enough, my family barely survived a head on car crash with a drunken driver three months later. I learned early on to be independent.

As I matured I created a story about those events in 1949. I’m strong, I don’t need anyone else. I’m independent. I became my own boss for the past 39 years. However, with age and a little wisdom, I now realize I’m not that strong, not that independent, and I do need to ask for help now and then. And it’s OK to ask for help. I love to help others, and it’s perfectly fine to get a little help yourself now and then.

I first read Niemoller’s quote at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Wash. DC

Niemoller, a theologian, seemed, by me at least, to have a more pragmatic belief in speaking out, that if you don’t help others, who will be left to help you when you need help? It’s in your best interest to help others. And, as I continue to master and refine my story, I realize I am not that strong and independent, and I do need other people. It’s OK to be vulnerable and ask for help. Have the courageous conversation. You owe it to yourself and your tribe.

Why is it important to speak up? If you don’t speak up, who will? What kind of friends do you want to have? What kind of organization do you want to work in? One where you hide and mask your true thoughts and feelings? Or, one where you speak your truth? It will make all the difference.