Things are rocking our society regarding social justice, not just in Canada but globally. As hundreds of unmarked graves were uncovered at former residential schools for indigenous children, shockwaves are rippling throughout the nation and abroad as we question the history of empire-making and the policies that tried to erase indigenous culture. We’re more aware, ready to speak, ready to tell the truth, and ready to listen. But as an entrepreneur, it can be hard to know when to stay silent, how to be a respectful supporter, not be tone deaf and still run your business and sell.
We bring Shelagh Cummins onto the show for our special edition of ‘What would Shelagh say’ (‘WWSS’, and clearly we need some t-shirts for this) – and you’ll find out why her words are so important. Shelagh is a business coach, strategist and the CEO and founder of The Road to Seven, providing coaching, training, and access to capital to help women entrepreneurs grow a freedom based, profitable and fulfilling business. What keeps her up at night is opportunity.
“This global uprising, social uprising, is part of the great gifts that Covid-19 has given us. And I think it’s a part of the Covid reset that we’re going to be seeing through tons of different areas of our life. What people, especially small business owners, have realized is that we have a platform, and therefore we have a voice. And it’s a real opportunity to stand up and dig into what it is that we believe and what we stand for.”
For us here at C+P Digital, we’ve always said that as marketers we need to stop, drop, and roll. You don’t need to stop for a week but stop for a minute and think about your automation and the timing of it so you’re not completely tone deaf. Shelagh adds to this by saying we need to “breathe”.
“We as the business owner need to stop and breathe into ‘what is in alignment for me?’ One of the things that business owners often overlook is the core values that our entire program or company is built on. When we’re out of touch with the values and what we stand for, it makes it really hard to know when we should be speaking up or when we should be adjusting to what’s going on. I think we need to just stop and look at it and say, ‘is this post in alignment with who I am, what I’m about, what my company stands for, and with our values? Or is there a way that I can tweak it to make it more applicable to the day or to the times that we’re experiencing?’ Being able to pre-schedule, automation is a gift. But there is the opportunity to go in and edit. So do share the photo of your graduate. And acknowledge that there are 1323 children that will never graduate, and their parents never even got to say goodbye to them.”
“At The Road to Seven, one of our leading values is people first. So, you better believe we’re going to stand up and speak for people when we see injustice happening around us. We are going to call out the systems that are oppressing people and that have systemic racism built within it and that are exclusionary, because one of our jobs to help women entrepreneurs be seen, heard, and understood is to help pave the way so they can stand up and their voices can be heard. Throughout all my social media platforms, we touch 10s of 1000s of women, people, and followers. I think it is my duty and my responsibility to share our values. And if I piss you off, you’re probably not the right people for me. Here’s the door. Don’t let it hit you on the way out.”
This is why we love her! Shelagh related that when we breathe into what’s happening, and give ourselves the space and grace to be able to process and breathe – which cannot happen when you are working 24/7, if you don’t have those buffers built into your day or your week where you can step out and get quiet, turn off your phone, step away from your screen, shut your computer, get outside, go for a walk etc. “It’s in those quiet spaces and moments that our next steps become clear. We all are resilient, we all have grit, we all have fight. And when it’s important, we always can find the strength to stand up, step in and speak out. But, we have to give ourselves that breathing room to be able to process and download and figure out what our next steps are. We have to let go so that we can grow sometimes.”
Shelagh shares some key ideas on this episode:
- Not everyone has the same values and that’s okay – they are not your people.
- Don’t label yourself as an ally – get educated, get the facts and share them – but it’s not about you.
- Answer the question: Why is this program needed now more than ever before? And when you can answer this succinctly, and specifically, you have the messaging that you need.
Shelagh related how asking this question was one of their business tactics when Covid-19 hit. “It was because they (her audience) needed the support, they needed the guidance, they needed the accountability, they needed the sisterhood. And that became a big part of our messaging. When we can say our programs will help you find your voice, help you create your voice, help you create a platform to stand on, it is a very poignant and important reaction to the social uprising that we’re seeing.”
The biggest takeaway?
“When you are advocating or speaking up, don’t make the post about you. This isn’t about your unlearning or your rehabilitation or your blind spot being uncovered. Share facts, share people, share statistics, share stories, share resources, share links, talk about it in a way that’s not about you personally, but that is about the issue. An example is on Juneteenth. I saw so many people talking about celebrating Juneteenth. We chose to talk about Opal Lee, the grandmother of the movement to make Juneteenth a national holiday in the US. Now, that is us taking a stand for an issue, but it has nothing to do with us.”
Let’s celebrate Opal Lee’s historic success as Juneteenth finally becomes a national holiday that commemorates the emancipation of black Americans, our very own Shelagh’s rousing call to action as she urges female business owners to be heard, and all the women who keep standing up for what they believe in, even in these troubled times.
To hear more from Shelagh, visit theroadtoseven.com or check out her podcast.
If you’d like to chat to us how to stand up for what you believe in through your marketing, please give us a shout at C+P Digital – we would love to help!
Plus, if you’re losing sleep over a particular marketing/business related problem during this Covid-19 economic uncertainty, or if you have a guest idea on the topic, let us know.
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And as always, sweet dreams…well, hopefully!