The Flamingo Project

My relationship with words is my voice. The safe place where no one judges me. Where I don't judge me. I know I smiled too much to keep it down. I know my smile kept me silent because I was afraid and when I could no longer smile, I cried and cried and cried for months. I retreated. I am still retreating. I find ways to hide. To stay inside. Where I don't have to smile to make others comfortable.

My first book about "How to be a Pink Flamingo in a Brown Duck Pond" is near completion. The writing process is now concluded with some details yet to be finalized. The book is about leadership, and how to stand up and stand out when it matters most. It is a comeback story about how to live in one's true colors in a world that would rather we just blend in, fade to white and disappear.

This is the book that I hope CEOs read and take to heart. I hope it is the book that all employers read, including government, and make employee experience a priority.  I hope it is the book that everyone reads because it is likely that we each will be confronted with a hurtful situation at work.

The flamingo project is about how I lost my voice as a the result of a bad experience, and how I got it back.

During the course of living through the experience that is described in my book and learning about it, I have become aware of the magnitude of this issue of bullying and how it affects people in every part of their lives.  Not only have I lived it, and continue to, but I have seen it and heard it from others who have told me their stories. It is absolutely heartbreaking to see someone who was once a vibrant human being reduced to a fearful, angry bird.

October is dedicated to raising awareness about bullying and its impact. Generally speaking, we associate bullying with school.  But bullying happens off the playground as well. In fact, statistics say many us will be or have been bullied at work.

I learned that it is not the act of bullying itself that is painful. It is the silence that follows - the fear, the shame, the lack of accountability for bullies, and the social retribution that one experiences should he or she speak out.  The lack of acknowledgement of the issue is what hurts the most.

So how to deal with the issue is the question.  Can we really expect to end this problem of bullying?  I think we need to define the problem first.

I would suggest that a bully is a socially terrified individual who lacks human interaction skills, likely has low emotional intelligence and possibly has been bullied and who acts out against others in retaliation against those who threaten him or her.

Until these people have some power, they are a danger only to themselves. When a person of this type gains power and influence over other people's lives, they can become dangerous can hurt people.

The Flamingo Project is about encouraging people to stand up and stand out and tell their stories so that we can bring this issue out into the open and look at it from a point of understanding.

Will it make a difference? I don't know. It's like trying to cure cancer. But we have to keep trying to understand the issue and what is happening so that we can move closer to solutions. At the very least, we can stop the silence and make it safe for people at work.


  1. I am so looking forward to reading your book. There is so much talk about bullying - mostly in the context of schools, such as teen suicides that make headlines, and pink shirt day where for one day at least, big and small acts of bullying are not tolerated or overlooked.

    But not so much about work place bullying, too many voices silenced out there. I look very forward to your brave and deep analysis of the subject, and yes I agree that this would be a good read for CEO's and employers,govenment included - but extending beyond the above, and specifically relating to the following quote

    " I would suggest that a bully is a socially terrified individual who lacks human interaction skills, likely has low emotional intelligence and possibly has been bullied and who acts out against others in retaliation against those who threaten him or her. "

    Maybe if parents read your book, and educators, and early child care workers, etc the (children in their care) the next generation of corporate leaders and people in positions of authority could be reared with some simple virtue teaching - Low emotional intelligence - I think a person devoid of empathy (virtue- teachable) would fall into that category.

    The title of the book sums it up too. And language of course is everything. But with the lifelong challenge we all face of whether to stand out or fit in, when a sense belonging is so important at many stages of development from school age to the senior home. The message Its OK to be a pink flamingo in a brown duck pond I gleam is that its important to Appreciate Diversity ! And this is where language comes in. Tolerance implies judgment. To tolerate someone who is a different, is opposite language to appreciating diversity.

    But in the short term, "stopping the silence and saftey at work is a great goal" And hopefully this book goes BIG


  2. Thank you D. Small steps are the only steps we can take. Unless everybody - or a lot of people - actually demand accountability from people at work - then it could happen. That's what the project is all about. To push the conversation forward.


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Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I would love to hear your comments. Thanks and have an awesome day. - Lynn