Fear of Connection


Connection is everything in education, as it is in other industries, so why don’t we share more?

I’m new to sharing. New to blogging and tweeting and to their endless benefits. Through the connection I have discovered in social media, I have found free resources, inspiration, opportunities to develop my vocation to write, the chance to support the cause of feminism, virtual friends, and even emotional support.

Apart from maybe, the endless hours scrolling and the neglection of my other hobbies, connecting, has been overwhelmingly positive, welcoming, and fulfilling.

Feeling voiceless

For a long time, though, I didn’t feel I had a voice online. I was convinced that no one was interested in what I had to say, that if I knew something, then everyone would know it too, that it would be better to stay quiet and not risk rejection. These thoughts had a paralysing effect on me. Even when I was sure what I was about to contribute was useful, incontrovertible, uncriticisable, an invisible hand would grip mine and would stop me in my tracks.

Finding my voice

I’m happy to report that I have finally, just as I stepped into my forties, that I do have a voice, that I have something to say, that I can help, support and inspire. I won’t pretend that this new-found bravery has come as a surprise to me. It all started with a 10% Braver tweet, from the fantastic @WomenEd. Inspired by the tweet, I resolved to share one idea. The reception was warm, the feedback was amazing, so I did it again. Looking back, in a couple of months, over 22 thousand people have visited my blog, and some 250 thousand have seen my tweets. It means so much to me and I owe it all to that one tweet. As a way of thanks, I tweeted this:

The response to this one tweet was unexpected and weeks later it still continues. It received many shares and likes, it was seen by thousands, which was flattering, in a way. I got many messages of support and a handful of them caught my eye. Many talented women were getting in touch with me to ask me to share their resources in my blog or to ask for my opinion about something they had produced. I naturally wondered why they wouldn’t share these themselves. Their answer was what inspired me to write this blog.

You're just a girl...

None of these women thought that their resources were good enough to share, or their views important enough to be shared. They had no voice. Drilling down into why they felt that way, many confessed that imprinted in their concept of self, a message they had heard as children still played, loud and clear: you’re just a little girl, no one cares what you have to say.

I wonder how many of us can hear that message still.

10% braver

I’ve made it my mission to take my sisters by the hand and show them that their voice matters, that the invisible hand is not strong enough to stop them, that they are brave, that we need them. If you find yourself gripped by insecurity, if your imposter syndrome weakens you, if you need a place to start, let me encourage you to be 10% braver and take that first step. Today.