Recently in the media we were able to witness a beautiful example of a professional woman who, in an awkward situation over something she was ultimately responsible for, chose to take ownership, be vulnerable and speak her truth. Would you have done the same?
A little background: Melissa Harris-Perry, a writer, professor and political commentator, hosts a news and opinion show on MSNBC. As part of a year-end wrap-up segment on her show last month, she invited a panel of guests to come up with off-the-cuff captions for photos from 2013. One photo was Mitt Romney’s Christmas card, which showed the former Republican presidential candidate and his wife surrounded by their 22 grandchildren, one of whom is an adopted African-American. Seeing this photo, one of the guests sang part of the Sesame Street song, “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same…”
Within days, responding to well-deserved criticism, Harris-Perry posted an apology on MSNBC’s website, where she acknowledged that the segment “proceeded in an unexpected way that was offensive.” She also took to Twitter, where she explained that “as a black child born into a large white Mormon family, I feel familiarity w/ Romney family pic and never meant to suggest otherwise.”
But it was her heartfelt on-air apology the following week that was a pure “speak your truth” moment. The depth of her emotion was apparent as, at one point, her eyes welled with tears. She never used that cheap technique that often plagues so-called apologies by saying, “I’m sorry if you were offended.” Instead, she took ownership for what happened, spoke her truth, and allowed herself to be vulnerable in the moment by becoming emotional. What a beautiful example of leading from the heart.
Harris-Perry’s on-air apology was purely an act of speaking your truth with grace and respect, which I believe is one of the most important goals in life. Why not make this the year you resolve to master the art of speaking your truth, in all areas of your life, personal as well as professional?
You can see a video of her apology here.