Back in 2003, the award-winning singer & actor Barbara Streisand was annoyed when a blurry photo of her Malibu home was published as part of the California Coastal Records Project.
Her annoyance manifested in her trying to suppress the photo. However, it had the opposite effect. It created a furore above and beyond what the original article had done. Meaning something that was obscure gained substantial attention.
When censorship backfires.
It has since been labelled as a social phenomenon by The Economist that occurs when we attempt to hide, remove or censor information. Sometimes it has the unintended consequence of amplifying it.
Let me share with you a story from one of my clients about how the Streisand Effect showed up in her life.
My client was residing in the UK, having been born in Europe, raised in her home country and coming to the UK when she was a teenager.
She had educated herself, put herself through law school and had become a successful solicitor in her local area.
She was married with 2 kids and already knew that law wasn’t where her passion was, she wanted to use her creativity to create a business.
And this was what she wanted to work on during our work together. Creating her future legacy around a creative business.
However, she had a secret dream legacy.
She wanted to emigrate and live in a different country with her husband and kids.
Her heart craved to be back in the countryside, outside of a city and live a quieter life, amongst nature, a different culture and a different upbringing for her kids than the path they were currently on.
This dream future legacy was a whisper, in the quiet of the night.
Something that she quietened down or just completely blocked.
And it manifested in anxiety, physical symptoms and the results that she was seeing in the creative business she was setting up in the UK.
This is the beauty about the work that I do, as a powerful coach, to coach in the negative space so powerfully that I’m not here to please you but to serve you.
You see it wasn’t that my client was unaware of this dream future legacy, she wasn’t ready to let it in yet.
And going even further she was trying to suppress it.
She would unfollow any social media or accounts that mentioned emigrating or the country that she knew she wanted to go to.
However, this had the Streisand effect: the more she tried to shut it down, the more she would see examples, and evidence and ways to make that dream legacy a reality.
She was spending so much time trying to NOT do something, remembering that our minds don’t understand STOP or DON’T, so all that her mind was focusing on was the dream legacy.
So let me ask you, just between you and I... what is a dream future legacy that you have that you’ve heard in the whispers of your mind?
The dream future legacy that scares you.
That you can’t even imagine creating?
That you aren’t even sure that you want?
That you are scared to acknowledge because if you say you want to create this, then what do you do next...
And you see it is this safety that can stop you, dear friend, from giving a voice to that dream legacy that you are thinking about.
Your subconscious mind is trying to keep you safe.
It can deem it safe to keep this dream future legacy suppressed. To not let it breathe or to give it life.
So as a powerful coach, and in this safe space, let me ask you again friend, what is your dream future legacy that could even be a seed of an idea that you want to create?
You don’t have to do anything or take action.
I’m going to ask you to take a break and read with your unconscious mind this poem, as you process that question.
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still, I'll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past, that’s rooted in pain
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
Maya Angelou, "Still I Rise”
Wherever you are after being with that question and reading the poem, beautiful. For there is no right or no wrong, there only is.
And sometimes you have to take a risk and allow those terrifying legacies to breathe. To bring them from the negative space in your mind and into the light.
Which is exactly what my client did during our time together. I acted as the fulcrum for her cracking open the door just a minuscule amount at first, to conceive of what her soul was longing to create as her future dream legacy.
If I was to bring her onto Wielding Legacy right now, I’d be delighted for her to say it would be with dodgy wifi from her house in mainland Europe, where her kids are going to the local school and are quickly becoming bilingual, her husband has started his own business and she now has multiple businesses, with one in a creative area.
It wasn’t a quick transition and being completely transparent of the journey, from shedding the initial shaft of light onto her dream legacy to all the family being settled and the new legacy blossoming, it took 2.5 years.
Yet so it is.
She went inwards and achieved mental mastery to create her external legacy.
And so can you.
Because I believe in you.
Even if right now, you can’t believe you can do it.
If you know of someone who would benefit from listening to Wielding Legacy, send them to laurapaynestanley.com to sign up.
When you’re ready to explore your legacy, success and impact on the world, here are ways to start the journey: