Do you ever wonder why some issues are global or universal? It does not matter if you are a surgeon, a mega soccer star or a world-class runner—we all have things in common. Whether you are at the top of your game or just climbing your way, we must always fight for equality, for basic rights, for humanity?
While driving home, I heard an NPR interview with Megan Rapinoe, the U.S. champion soccer player and Olympic medalist who fights for equal pay for women in soccer, LGBT rights and BLM. The interview had touched on subjects that tend to be common for so many women fighting when others want to silence them and keep them in their lane.
It is incredibly apparent she has strong beliefs for what is right and essential in how she fights for equal pay, love and rights for all. Her conviction in activism and her in her sport is astonishing and unwavering. When you lead with conviction, belief and a moral code — you’re unstoppable.
It is interesting that the U.S. soccer federation wanted to silence her. But Rapino had her voice and platform. Yet, she had to make some concessions in returning to the game — like standing and not kneeling for the anthem — to keep her job.
It was a difficult decision based on her principle, but one that she understood had to be made to keep her “credibility,” career and platform. That is a difficult choice for someone with strong beliefs.
It is never easy. There is always something you “lose” in the fight of what you believe. Friendships, sponsorships, career advancements.
But what do you gain?
You gain the realization of living a life with purpose, awareness and consciousness. You get the knowledge that we only get one life to make an impact that will pave the road for others.
Because for a leader, a true leader, the fight is not only about them. The fight is about others who do not have a voice and do not stand on that platform as a soccer heroine. It keeps them steadfast in the storm of negativity and criticism that will come their way.
I see the same grit in women leaders repeatedly. It is fascinating to watch or to listen to them. The sensation is one of empowerment, action and urgency to persist despite the setbacks is the same.
You can see that in Allyson Felix, the Olympic track and field champion, who endured preeclampsia at 32 weeks pregnant and now is a champion for maternity leave and gender equality. Felix fought for athletes saying: “No woman should have to choose between being a professional and being a Mother.”
When she wanted to support her maternity leave, she was told to stay in her lane and just run. Instead of folding, she rose and found her voice elsewhere. She stayed true to her conviction of equality in humanity. She started her own shoe company, made by women and now only wears Athleta clothing, a female-run company. She kept her day job. You cannot change others or the system right away, but you can use your voice and do it on your terms.
You may want to keep your day job because it is the platform you will need for change. There will be challenges as you may want to change and resist the inability to understand why others cannot see your star shine.
Do not waver — persist.
Keep your platform and amplify your voice.
They will hope you “go away” or fade away — just like the U.S. National Women’s Soccer team expected Megan Rapinoe would, or how Nike wanted Allyson Felix to stay in her lane and not speak up about injustices. Or they may ask you to have anything you write reviewed before it is published.
It does not matter. Do not stray from your path. Use the doubt from others and the resistance to fuel your purpose.
Use your voice.
Diana Londoño is a urologist and can be reached at her self-titled site, Dr. Diana Londono, on Twitter @DianaLondonoMD, and on her blog. She is one of the 10 percent of U.S. urologists who are women, and 0.5 percent who are Latina and female.
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