×

Stay up to Date

Thoughts and leadership game changers from Merge Lane
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Mergelane Blog

Broadening the On-ramp for Women-run Companies

Testing My Commitment to Candor: Wearing My Mask Inside AND Out

I thought I had overcome my fear of peer pressure when I was 16, but this coronavirus experience has proved me wrong. I started wearing a mask outdoors in April mostly because nearly everyone where I live in Boulder, Colorado was doing so. I'm a serious germaphobe, but even I thought this was overkill on our easy-to-social distance neighborhood streets. However, we’re still learning about this virus, wearing my mask seemed to make my neighbors feel more comfortable being outdoors, and to be honest, my fear of being judged by my neighbors made me feel more uncomfortable than the mask itself. I followed the crowd. 

I’ve spent the last week in Vail, Colorado, where wearing masks outdoors is not the norm. I wore a mask for my first hike of the week on a much-more-crowded-than-anticipated trail. I was the only person wearing a mask. I felt a prick of peer pressure and fear of being judged, but after seeing the parking lot full of license plates from our nation’s hotspots, I was thankful to be wearing my mask. A week later, I met a friend for a three-hour hike on a much less crowded trail. He was not wearing a mask. About halfway through the hike, I remembered a story I had heard about a man who contracted the virus after a two-hour socially distanced outdoor conversation with his neighbor. I started getting nervous about the idea of hiking for three hours in the wake of my friend’s unmasked breath, but I didn’t want to be perceived as an uptight worrywart, so I made up a bogus excuse to walk in front of him. I felt much more comfortable for the rest of the hike, but I was disappointed in myself.

I broke my commitment to tell the truth at a time when candor could have been of service. From my experience, there are many people putting their own health at risk because they are afraid to admit that they feel uncomfortable. 

I’m grateful for the courage recent events have inspired in me and in others. This moment made me realize that sometimes the most courageous thing you can do is to admit that you are afraid. It helps the people around you understand different perspectives, it helps others realize they are not alone, and it often inspires behavior change. 

In honor of candor, and my aunt who passed away this week (you can read more about that here), I am going to wear my mask inside AND outside from now on. When I hike with others who don’t want to wear a mask, I’m going to ask them to walk behind me. 

Because I’m aware of the HEALTH RISKS OF WEARING MASKS WHILE EXERCISING, I’m not going to press my hiking buddies to wear them. By wearing my mask, I’m hoping to simply spark more dialogue among my friends. 

If you’re debating whether to wear a mask outdoors, you can read more about the health risks and see tips for wearing a mask while exercising here.  

If there's a one in 10 million chance that wearing a mask outdoors will save a life, make someone more comfortable being outdoors, or help others get into the habit of wearing masks indoors, I’m happy to do it. In addition to my commitment to candor, I’m also committed to a respectful dialogue on this issue. I welcome your thoughts. 








Related Posts

Striving for Success Unapologetically

It is amazing what you can achieve if you get out of your own way.

Read more ➞

When the “Safe” Route Is Actually Less Safe

I have learned the important lesson that being mediocre at anything is not a “safe” path to success. I now realize that the “safe” path for others may not be the best route for me.

Read more ➞

What If Everything Goes Right Rather Than Wrong?

In investing, and in life in general, an ability to foresee potential pitfalls has served me well. However, being able to see what can go wrong can prevent me from seizing an opportunity. I sometimes forget that most of my successes have been the result of seemingly impossible feats.

Read more ➞

Holidays: Why Stressing Might Be More Relaxing Than Destressing

While holidays are designed to help people rest, I almost always feel exhausted after them. I’ve started to take a completely different approach. Especially if you are a type A entrepreneur, this approach may work for you, too.

Read more ➞

Stay up to date!

Sign up to receive updates on everything we are up to, including future events and the latest news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form