When I was a child, my two best friends lived 4 houses away. One summer when we were teenagers, we took a package of 3×5 index cards and a box of skinny markers to the kitchen table. My friend had an idea.
We began to write positive, uplifting quotes and messages – one on each card – along with some subtle artistic designs. We taped them at the top of our bedroom walls a few inches below the ceiling, making a border all the way around. We loved the creative outlet, and over time, I came to realize they had an impact on my attitude.
Fast forward 25 years.
A few months ago, my husband came home from running Saturday errands with an 8×10 frame and a large photo envelope from Walgreens. He was definitely up to something. I went about my morning, and later found this hanging in my 13 year old daughter’s room:
I looked at it quietly for a minute, nodding my head slowly in agreement.
We’ve always tried to give our kids the message that they can do whatever they put their minds to … that there are countless possibilities for them if they work hard and apply themselves. This photo of “Fearless Girl” facing off against the infamous Wall Street bull, well – we hope it will remind her of that message on a daily basis.
Just last week, this article appeared in the Wall Street Journal. It got my attention for obvious reasons. I promptly cut it out and tacked it under the framed photo.
My daughter now had another view of the girl’s determined face, presence and stance. The article is well written and speaks to…well, how statues and art, speak to us. Though formed by bronze or concrete, they say something.
How do statues speak? How do they, as the article suggests, “steal the conversation”? One only need to read the article to see the myriad ways the statue has sparked a lively discussion about gender equality, women in the workplace, the history of Wall Street employees, even the opinions of the sculptors themselves about the Fearless Girl statue. The timing of the installation of Fearless Girl on International Women’s Day was, of course, an orchestrated decision as well. There are multiple factors here intended to persuade. We all know this as we walk past the art sculptures we see, but I thoroughly enjoy reading articles that dissect “statement messages” like these into smaller ones.
It begs the question though. What kind of messages surround you in your work and in your personal life? Maybe it’s an heirloom statue, a photo of Martin Luther King Jr., a bible verse, a photo of a championship game. Have you thought about this recently? Take a look around your home, your office, your kitchen, your phone and laptop background even. What kinds of messages do you see? Which of them have you placed there intentionally?
Summer is often a time for relaxation and unplugging. Tomorrow is Friday June 30; we’re halfway through 2017. Maybe it’s time to grab your index cards, a pack of markers (and your kids?) and update the messages that surround you.
Cindy Skalicky holds a master’s degree in Rhetorical Criticism and is the owner of On Point Communications, LLC. She coaches speakers – in person or virtually – on storytelling techniques, presentation presence and brand messaging. Master the Message with On Point. Contact Cindy today at: firstname.lastname@example.org