To Offend or Not Offend, That is the Question

The past few days I have been caught up in an ongoing mental swirl around whether or not I should tone down my message and the way I deliver it.

Why was I considering this?

In order to appeal to a broader audience.

In order to be more accessible.

In order not to offend people.

I was offered the opportunity to host Defy the Box Radio to a much larger audience than I am now. A well established website for women contacted me and said they were interested in my edgy perspective and the Defy the Box message was appealing to them. When I checked out the site and the other shows they offered I liked what I saw, but thought that they might be a bit too ‘vanillia’ for me. I suggested that they check out the past episodes of my show to see if they thought I would be a good fit. When we spoke again I was told that they liked my message and would love to have me, but I would need to tone things down a bit so that I do not offend anyone on the site.

MMMMM…….tone down my message, huh?

My first reaction was NO WAY, but then I started questioning myself.

I do want to expand my audience, and I am doing my best to expand my business.

Am I missing out on an opportunity by saying no?? Am I being a responsible business owner ?

Just thinking about toning myself down makes me feel restricted and unsettled. It makes me doubt myself.

This is not the way I want to feel.

When it comes right down to it, I do not like the idea of restricting myself in any way. The idea of toning down my message and my delivery of it is not appealing at all.
What I am really being asked to do is to adjust my behavior so that I ‘fit in’ to a particular box.

And I have to acknowledge that I was almost buying into the story that says you need to tone yourself down in order to appeal to a large audience, and offending people is bad. I was starting to flip – flop and was beginning to think that maybe it was a good idea to tone things down a bit so that I would be more accessible to the mainstream.

Then I called my friend Kelle and had a great conversation about speaking in your authentic voice, and who I really wanted to reach out to, and was I actually going to miss out on an opportunity here?  Kelle is really good at helping me stay on track, and she reminded me that if you are not offending someone…you are not doing your job right. Thanks Kelle!

I mean, look at Howard Stern. Many people find him obnoxious and offensive but they still listen. He has a strong voice and perspective and is not afraid to stand out. His audience loves him.

When it comes right down to it, my ‘toning it down’ would not be in alignment with the message of Defy the Box.

What kind of example would I be if I was not letting my freak flag fly high and proud?

The reality is that I am a rabble rouser.

I am intentionally trying to stir things up, and make people question the ideas and beliefs that they have been living by.

That can be very offensive to many people.

It makes them uncomfortable. In response to the discomfort, they make me, or my message, wrong rather than looking inside themselves to discover the real reason they are feeling uncomfortable. ( It’s not really about me at all.)
It’s OK…I do my best not to take this personally. 😉

So…do I tone things down???

NO WAY!

Wheww….that feels so much better.

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