What I should have said was… [Writing Prompt]

I pride myself on being an excellent listener. In most settings, whether it’s professional or personal, I’m the one in the room who connects the dots and uncovers the root of what others try to convey. It’s because I am also a processor. When others are speaking, the gears are turning in my head while I’m decoding and deducing.

What do they want from me? What do they really mean when they say this? Why aren’t these two people understanding each other? Where is the disconnect?

But as those gears are turning, on the surface, I am silent. I let opportunities to speak up pass me by. I miss the chance to prove I have these listening and decoding skills at all. I miss the chance to influence those in the room.

What I should have said out loud was, “Is this what you mean, when you say…?” “I hear what you’re saying here. Have you thought about it this way?”

But instead, I am silent.

For what seems like forever, I’ve heard this feedback from my mentors. What I should have said was something, anything, to make myself seen. To make others trust me, rely on me.

On a daily basis, I fight my natural instincts and many times I lose. But, I will keep fighting until one day, “What I should have said,” will be a phrase I delete from my vocabulary. In its place: “I’m glad I said it.”

Do you ever have trouble speaking up? What do you do to combat your instincts when they’re holding you back?

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