oh. i could just stop talking.

I was in a meeting.  It was going completely off the rails.  Wrong direction.  Wrong decisions.  Not even on the agenda to begin with.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.

And I couldn't get a word in edgewise to turn it around.  Everything I know about my voice and my presence in a room was out the window.  Shallow breathing, tight jaw, high pitch, too loud--while I tried, unsuccessfully, to insert myself.

Fast forward.

I was in a different kind of meeting.  I had really been looking forward to it.  But it was disappointing.  The energy felt negative, a damp wool blanket.  And I had cleared my schedule for this.

I tried to make it be what I had anticipated.  By talking.  And talking and talking and talking.  I made lots of points.  All the points I had planned to make.  Boy, did I make a lot of points.

Fast forward.

I was in another meeting.  Somebody asked me a question that it wasn't appropriate to answer.  I was on the spot.  And I was so irritated to be asked in the first place.

I answered vaguely, but it sounded dumb.  And so the person asked the question again in a different way.  And I made a joke.  And so someone else asked the question again in a different way, and that's when I remembered:  

Oh.  I could just stop talking.

I'm all about our mama-leader-creative voices being heard.  But sometimes, I work so hard to make that happen that I forget:  I could just stop talking.  And that's okay to do.  And it can be the strongest thing to do.

The next time you find yourself in a meeting where you're forcing something or pressing really hard or just feeling stranded, consider this:  you could just stop talking.  You could open up that space.  Just for a few minutes.

It won't always be the right choice.  It might not even be the right choice most of the time.  But I like to remember that the possibility is there.

For right now, for these few minutes, for this meeting: I could loosen my grip, even when something big and important is on the table.

Oh.  I could just stop talking.

This week, I'm exploring what happens when you admit the possibility that something big and important to you might need to go.
This post is part of a regular series about women's voices.