Speaking Up, Then Backing It Up

Posted on: Jun 09, 2015

Categories: Uncategorized

freehatA few months ago, our family went on a vacation to Universal Studios. While we were there, my youngest son Oliver, who is 10, wanted to buy a customized airbrushed Pokémon hat from a vendor to take home as a souvenir.

There were two guys working at the hat hut, and while my son was waiting for them to finish his cap, he overheard them debating about whether or not there was an Auntie Anne’s pretzel stand nearby.

“There’s a Cinnabon, but there’s definitely no Auntie Anne’s,” said one.

That’s when Oliver piped up. “No, there’s an Auntie Anne’s really close to here,” he said confidently.

The employees peered over the counter, looking down at him. “I don’t think so,” said one.

“No, I promise you there is!” Oliver said.

The two employees looked at one another. Finally one said, “Okay, if you’re so sure there’s an Auntie Anne’s, prove it in the next ten minutes and we’ll give you a second hat for free.”

Oliver asked my for my phone, which I handed to him, then he took off running down the sidewalk. He came back a few minutes later, and, a little out of breath, held out my phone to show off the selfie he’d just taken.

The photo showed his face with the Auntie Anne’s pretzel sign directly overhead. The two men at the shop laughed, admitted that he had been right, and went and made Oliver a second hat for free.

I appreciated the airbrush artists keeping their word, but more so, I was impressed by Oliver’s willingness to speak up about something he knew was right. He was being observant, and he noticed false information being spread around that he wanted to correct. Not only that, but he knew that he’d need to provide evidence to the two men who doubted him, so he did the work—taking my phone and running a half mile away—to demonstrate what he knew was true.

When’s the last time you spoke up about something that you knew was true, and then did the work to convince others of it? Conviction is an admirable quality, especially when you’re willing to provide the data to back it up, whether it’s an issue in your personal life, family life, or work life. In your next meeting, be brave and speak up about an idea you believe in—but make sure you can back it up with real evidence as well.

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