Hello, hello! Yes, I am still alive, and no, I haven’t dropped off the face of the planet – although there have been some moments during the heated political campaigns over the summer in both the US and the UK when life on another planet seemed quite appealing.
And I’m back with a new podcast. We’re doing a mini-season at this point, with just four episodes to take us through the last month of 2016. We kick off with the inspiring Dilys Sillah.
To subscribe to the new podcast, creatively entitled The Roz Savage Project, follow this iTunes link. That version is audio only. And by way of a change, thanks to the wonderful technological know-how of Producer Vic, we now also have an all-singing, all-dancing, amazing technicolour VIDEO VERSION ON YOUTUBE!
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Okay – over to a few words about Dilys, followed by a quick update on my news.
DILYS SILLAH – “I Don’t Do Victim”
“I can’t think of anything I’m actually afraid of. I think the reason is that, as a Christian, I draw a lot of strength and confidence from my faith, and when I feel fear or uncertainty I pray. And that’s what gives me the courage to be bold, to broaden my shoulders and say I can do this.”
Dilys Sillah, a British-born Ghanaian, calls her faith her “secret weapon”, because it is what enables her to keep on going with her work raising awareness around child abuse, rape, domestic violence and sexual exploitation through her charity, Who Will Hear My Cry.
Her work started when there was a rape in Ghana that hit the news because the alleged perpetrator was a celebrity. A lot of people were blaming the victim, and Dilys felt that was wrong.
Says Dilys: “I’ve always had a problem with people being bullied. I will always be the one who will stand up and say that’s not right. When I was in school, I was bullied. I was a bit of a weird child. There was always something within my gut that made me believe that I am somebody. But at the same time things happen to you in life that dilute that self-message. So at school I was never the child who was invited to anyone’s house for play date, or to anyone’s birthday party. But there was still that voice in me that said that you are somebody, that you are special. It is such a life-changing way of thinking.”
When the rape happened in Ghana, Dilys found her moment to step into being the self she was born to be. “If I don’t stand up for these people, who will? It’s not about the next person. It’s about you. What are you doing? It shifts from being about you to being about them. And that has helped to toughen me up.”
I know you will enjoy listening to my conversation with Dilys. You can hear the strength and her courage in her voice when she talks about, not just her faith and her work, but other times in her life, too, when she has refused to “do victim”, but has broadened her shoulders and stood up for what is right.
Top tip: if you need a quick courage boost, do as Dilys does and broaden your shoulders – literally. Stand up a bit straighter and puff out your chest while you put your shoulders back. It will make you feel instantly more confident!
Great Dilys Sillah quotes:
“Just the fact that that seed is within you, your actions are what are growing to grow that seed for it to bear fruit.”
“It’s nobody else’s job to see how wonderful you are. That’s your job. That’s your responsibility. The reason that you’re feeling so despondent is that you’ve made it somebody else’s responsibility.”
“I will not give you permission to undermine me or disrespect me.”
“There is no such thing as small courage. What may be tiny to me may be a huge thing to you. We should celebrate all our successes.”
I had a fabulous summer in Ireland working on my next book. When I say “fabulous”, I don’t mean the weather, which was typically Irish. As the saying goes, you know it’s summer in Ireland because the rain gets warmer. But I didn’t go there for the weather, I went there for solitude and lack of distractions, which was exactly what I got. And thoroughly enjoyed the writing. More news about that next week. Huge thanks to Georgia and Stan Miller for lending me their lovely – and very remote – cottage.
As you’ll know if you get my newsletter, in September I was on the East Coast of the US for a couple of corporate speaking engagements and also the great honour of speaking at Secretary of State John Kerry’s Our Oceans conference. I was the first speaker after John Kerry, and the warmup act for Barack Obama – video online here. Such a privilege to share the stage with people who have done so much for the world’s oceans.
The other big news is that I am off to Yale to teach a course on COURAGE at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. I will be there from January to May 2017. I am very much looking forward to the experience, and to reconnecting with my friends at the wonderful School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Thanks to all at Yale who have invited, guided and supported me thus far – I look forward to working with you.
Stand by for more news next week!