The Power of a Single Voice

Earlier this week, I discovered Chimamanda Adichie's TED talk titled The Danger of a Single Story.  As she so beautifully states, “the single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”


That same day, I came across Adichie's talk (h/t YA author Julie Berry), I learned about  A Challenge to Digital Influencers:  Join the #One4One game.   As Forbes blogger Deanna Zandt writes, “a bunch of us who work in the tech and information industries are tired of pointing out that women and people of color are missing from lists, from panels, from articles about the industry, and that it’s the same six straight white guys having conversations about the future of media, technology and, well, everything.”  But rather than lobbing in yet another e-mail to the compilers of digital influencer lists, Deanna Zandt, Melissa Pierce, and Andrew Rasiej, decided to create their own list of influencers, with this simple call to action:  name one influencer whose identity is radically different from yours (if you are a man, name a woman, for example) as your #One4One.  I happily nominated Denise Jacobs, a veteran web developer, expert on creativity, and with whom I sit on the Advisory Board at Just Family. If you'd like to play, here's a sample tweet:  A Challenge to Digital Influencers: Join The #One4One Game Mine is @_______.

As people have read Dare, Dream, Do, some have asked me why so many stories.  Adichie's story helps me articulate why.  If I had included only my story, the message could easily have been construed as ‘how to have a successful career’, rather than a book about the why, what and how of dreaming.

There is danger in a voice, and a single story — but when we share our stories and voices — there is a singular power.


“We are impressionable and vulnerable in the face of a story.” – Chimamanda Adichie #one4one


[stories] are told, who tells them, when they are told, how many stories are told, are really dependent on power.” – Chimamanda Adichie #one4one

“Stories matter.  Stories can be used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize… repair and heal dignity.” — Chimamanda Adichie #one4one

Can We Have It All?

Today, I've posted posted on Maria Shriver's blog; I'm not only a fan of Ms. Shriver, but as you know from my TEDx talk, I'm an admirer of her late mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

Prompted by Anne-Marie Slaughter's article “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All“, and Annie Bourne‘s Amazon review, a draft came spilling out of me on Sunday morning — during my unplugged weekend — a piece that contextualizes Dare, Dream, Do within the current zeitgeist.  As I read Ms. Slaughter's piece I again thought of the ship-harbor metaphor.  Must we as women choose to be either one or the other? Can we have it all? Should we try?

photo credit

For me, the real question is less whether we can have it all, and more what is our definition of “all”  – and why is it vital for women, and also for men, to try to be both a ship and a harbor.

I hope you'll take a moment to visit Maria Shriver's blog, read my guest post and share your thoughts on “having it all.”

For more on this topic, see Melissa Stanton's piece Supermoms Should Tell the Truth About Their Perfect Lives,  Joanne Wilson's Life is All About Decisions, and Tony Schwartz' Women and Men Can Have It All.

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