In this article, I will guide you through 3 steps I went through during the past weeks following the start of the Ukrainian conflict and explain to you why you should go on making your voice heard, even if it’s scary.
February 24 2022 in the morning, as everybody, I woke up to the news of Russia invading the Donbass region of Ukraine, shaking away my relative stability and peace of mind.
War is never good news, no matter the country or region of the world. However, this conflit leaves a bittersweet aftertaste. Russia and Ukraine are countries close to my heart. I’ve been living in Russia for 7 years. I’ve been travelling quite regularly to Ukraine. I have Russian friends. I have Ukrainian friends. I have Russian friends with Ukrainian origins. I have French friends with Ukrainian origins, French friends married to Russians or married to Ukrainians. You see, such an intricate context. And I felt useless, completely at loss. From a personal point of view, this has been a psychological nightmare. And, from a professional point of view, it wasn’t better either.
This conflict isn’t the first crisis I go through. I was born in the 80s and the first conflict I remember even if I was too young to understand it, was the Gulf War and then the genocide in Rwanda. You all remember 9/11, the war in Iraq and its consequences. While I was in Moscow, there were attacks in the metro. When I moved to Turkey, it was the war in Syria, then the attacks in Istanbul, then the coup d’etat. Afghanistan and the Talibans. Libya. Lebanon. The Arab Spring... Not to forget Covid 19 and all the economic repercussions all these conflicts had and are having.
As you know, this year, I relaunched My Marketing Toolbox with a new services offer. I also restarted my podcast My Fashion Stories Box. I have been working on my communication plan for my blog and social media. Everything was in full swing and I was hoping for the best.
On Thursdays, new episodes for My Fashion Stories Box Podcast are airing. On Thursday, February 24, considering the news of a new war, I wasn’t sure if I should publish it. I waited until the evening to finally press the “publish” button and I was feeling illegitimate to communicate on it. So I didn’t. As you can imagine, this episode is not the best performing one.
So, what to do when the world around us is disintegrating? Shall we go on communicating or not?
Step 1: Take time to process the information and the new situation at hands
It’s completely fine to feel lost in such situations. The future is darker. Images from previous conflicts come to mind. The media are saturated with information and images from Ukraine. Everybody is talking about it. You feel bad being in your secure life while others lost it. You don’t know what to do, what to say, how to react. There is so much information coming from so many sources you don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. You feel disorientated.
The first days following the invasion, I was spending all my time reading French newspapers, Russian newspapers, international outlets, political and geopolitical analysis, and comments from the candidates to the French elections (because, yes, we are electing the new president of the French Republic this Spring). I watched the news. I contacted friends.
I felt guilty, disorientated. I didn’t know how I could help. I felt illegitimate to communicate about my podcast dedicated to fashion history and about my services offer when people were struggling with war.
After one week of that regime, I decided to cut myself from the news. I limited my time on social media to detox myself from all the messages I could read and which disturbed me, as russophobia and the escalation of hate. I couldn’t stand that. I always thought that differences and misunderstanding between people could be overcome through discussions, education, culture and arts. And in front of my eyes, I had the demonstration of the opposite. It was a complete failure.
Step 2: Do an introspection of your values and missions as an entrepreneur. Look at the core of your business.
I decided to go back to the roots of My Marketing Toolbox, to the missions and values I linked with my business and my personal life.
Parts of my values are: Respect, Sharing, Transmission.
And my missions are:
Offering services in marketing and communication adaptable to the entrepreneurs’ needs.
Assisting entrepreneurs in the cultural and social spheres in their missions to create a better world.
Helping the players in the artistic, cultural and fashion worlds to make their voices heard.
Using marketing to create a better world with an accent on culture, sharing and exchanges.
I also re read My Marketing Brand Manifesto “We Believe”
We believe that marketing can change the world and create a better, more equalitarian society based on respect: respect to the people and respect to Mother Nature.
We believe that a better understanding between the different peoples on Planet Earth can be achieved through arts and culture.
We believe that sharing, teaching and explaining are the future and that future generations are our priority, while always remembering about the past and History.
We believe that collaborations, brotherhood and sisterhood are stronger than fear and hate.
And we believe that, by helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to make their voices heard, we will be able to build a better tomorrow.
Step 3: Look at how you can make a difference at your level as an entrepreneur.
By coming back to the missions I assigned myself, I felt stronger and more empowered. I was convinced I had my part to play and that I shouldn’t stop communicating.
Even if I am a small business owner with a limited reach, at my level, I can help change perceptions. My voice counts. Your voice counts too.
I will go on making my voice heard and tell my stories and I will go on helping people make their voice heard and tell their stories. Words can change the world. Stories can change the world.
Yes, times are difficult. The future is dark. Everything you will say can be distorted or used against you. You might hurt the feelings of some people. Some people will hate you. Everything is intensified in conflict situations. Nobody reacts rationaly.
But, as an entrepreneur, you have a mission, no matter which one, and you have to go on with your mission.
Don’t shup up. Don’t be silent. Go on communicating, sharing, exchanging, discussing.
Your posts, your podcast episodes, your social media activities, your newsletters might be the ray of sun, the bubble of fresh air for these people.
Your communication will be an act of resistance, the same resistance people have been demonstrated to push back invaders since forever. And don’t underestimate small acts of resistance.
I hope this article helped you to feel better about communicating during dark times.
And, if you have any question or doubt, why not booking a discovery call with me to discuss your challenges and expectations?
In the meanwhile, have a look at my podcast management offers to help you make your voice heard and tell your story.
See you soon!