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During her 27 years on the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was part of its four-member liberal wing. This meant most of her work was done in dissents, opposing the conservative views of the other judges.
In a time when we do not want to risk talking about the unpopular view for fear of criticism, judgement, or being canceled, RBG’s hope in being a dissenter is an inspiration.
“Dissents speak to a future age. It’s not simply to say, ‘My colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way.’ But the greatest dissents do become court opinions and gradually over time their views become the dominant view. So that’s the dissenter’s hope: that they are writing not for today, but for tomorrow.”
As I look at the industry of business coaching, I feel like I’m part of the minority. I see so many coaches selling their work on how much money they’ll make their clients or running their business on the beach.
Profitability and rest is important, but business can be about so much more. The businesses I want to help build are to leverage my client’s gifts so that they can serve a need in the world.
” If you want to be a lawyer and just practice your profession, well you have a skill so you're very much like a plumber. But if you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself, something to repair tears in your community. Something to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you. That's what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for oneself, but for one's community."
Many times our most important work comes with opposition. Our deepest held beliefs are a dissent of what we see torn in our communities. I want to help build a vision, a future hope they can work towards today.
One of Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s greatest achievements was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which was inspired by her dissent:
The law was a reaction to her minority opinion in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, the 2007 ruling that said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 imposed strict time limits for bringing workplace discrimination suits. She called on Congress to overturn the decision, and it did.
The dissenter’s hope: writing not for today, but for tomorrow.
Follow Along Upstream
And feel a little less alone on your quest to your most courageous work.