“Take Up The Damn Space”: A Changemaker Chat with Sophie Godley
“Keep every door open”

Sophie has always had a passion for helping others, and each step she’s has taken exposed her to diverse groups of people and issues in the world. Throughout every career move, Sophie realized the importance of leaving different paths open. You’ll “make a series of decisions at a time when you don’t realize the future implications.” As you adapt your salary or lifestyle, it’s important to consider how any career decision you make may affect that. While at times Sophie feels like a “sellout” for shifting to a private university, she realizes she can have an impact on the world by encouraging students to recognize how they fit into a particular space and effectively work in their communities.

“There’s no box you can check to be fully woke”

From personal own experience, Sophie has realized that there are times when you aren’t the right person for a particular job, and while that can be humiliating, it is also humbling and necessary to make space for others. Don’t force yourself into a space you have no business being in. This awareness and constant self reflection of one’s race and privilege is a practice, a daily intention that is developed over time.

“Pursue something you love”

In her mid thirties, Sophie had an epiphany. She realized that one of the perks of being an adult is that we no longer need to persist in the things we aren’t good at. While that clarity is helpful in utilizing our strengths, she urges us to not give up so easily on our passions. Just because you aren’t good at something, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep trying or that it isn’t fun. She encouraged us to “intentionally do things that are fun even if you aren’t great at them.”

“Have the confidence of a mediocre white man”

Women tend to have a lot of self doubt and self censoring. We are so conditioned to doubt and apologize that we often settle or don’t take risks. When looking to find your strengths, don’t be afraid to get help from others. You need to have a balance between good external validation and your own strength. No one is going to just hand you things, so Sophie says we need to, “be as much as we can. Be loud. Take up space. Ask for stuff… you need to take it.” Even if you can’t get more monetary compensation, you can always ask for alternative benefits like vacation time or flexible hours. Remember to ask for things that can improve your quality of life. Phrase it in a way that is mutually agreeable for both parties. Try saying something along the lines of “I want to stay here. I’m invested…I need an indication that you’re invested in me.”

“I couldn’t be who I wanted to be”

Sophie is incredibly energetic; she thrives on interacting with people. Her audience is captivated by her ability to be constantly present and engaged. Despite her endless fuel of energy, she says “It’s inevitable there will be times when you work too much and times to focus on family…it’s never really a balance. It’s more of a shift.” The loss of her mother made her realize that she had been taking her endless capacity of energy for granted. The lack of energy through her grief was preventing her from being who she wanted to be.