I didn’t know it at the time, but for the last 25+ years, I’ve been on a journey to becoming a professional troublemaker.
My journey started as a young woman who has always been moved to action by the injustices of others. When I founded OCG+ my vision was to start an agency specializing in creating change for marginalized communities. What I didn’t know was in order to create change, I was going to have to turn troublemaking into my profession.
Some would see the title of a troublemaker as negative. I actually see it as empowering. Author Luvvie Ajayi Jones defines a professional troublemaker as a person who is willing to make people comfortable with being uncomfortable. I would add to the definition– being a professional troublemaker is also about using your privilege for good by being a voice in the room of those who have been left outside the door.
Troublemakers are powerful! We are the game changers. We make this world a better place for everyone to live, work, and raise a family. We understand the risk of speaking up when no one else will. Troublemakers can’t see something and not say something. We are willing to take the heat when everyone else is afraid. We need more troublemakers, so I am calling you to launch your journey as a troublemaker. And I’m equipping you with a few need-to-know items before you get started:
Have A Vision
Decide why you want to be a troublemaker. Your vision must be bigger than you! My vision is clear: I want to get into good trouble, transformational trouble. I want to create change for those who don’t have a voice.
The next time you are in a meeting where a troublemaker is speaking truth to power, don’t leave them hanging. It’s lonely being a professional troublemaker. If troublemakers had more allies we wouldn’t be dismissed, labeled as uninformed, or singled out. We need more people in the room willing to validate our observations boldly without fear of retaliation.
Don’t just come to fight, come to win. Knowledge is the key ingredient to winning.
In your pursuit to create change, it’s important you do your homework and come to the table prepared for what change is needed and how to create that change.
Never Give Up
There will be wins and losses along the way, but never, ever give up. In order to create a society where all things are truly created equal, we need troublemakers. We need bold, courageous, leaders who are willing to get into a little trouble.
While the journey of a troublemaker can be challenging, the role is so necessary. So let’s do it! Let’s create a community full of proud professional troublemakers.
Let’s do more good. To get more results. To have more impact.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to have OCG+ make a real impact in your DEI or Communications efforts.