Action for this week: To always say what I am thinking and not downplay my point of view or what I have to say so that I can help other people feel superior.
It has taken me a lot of time to be able to use my authentic voice. Since I will be 30 years old in three months I have become more comfortable saying what I genuinely mean. It does take conscious effort to do so. But I believe that is what leaders do. I have to be actively thinking about speaking authentically and be in the mental state that I own my own power.
All the power comes from within.
There doesn’t need to be any right external environment. If I was strong enough inside to show up 100% as myself in a conversation or to shine brightly, I could and would and do (getting better with practice)
Although it is still hard.
To put imagery with it: It feels like I am unwinding a cassette tape backwards and the shiny coated tape is stuffed fully muffling my mouth. Going against the grain when it comes to how I was brought up to behave.
During my week of practice where I was fully strong and letting my leadership qualities emit from deep down inside of me I observed a couple things.
- I felt guilt, like I was doing something wrong and I was going to be punished for it
- I felt paranoia, like the people I work with were going to talk about how I am “hard to handle” now and ultimately gang up on me
- With certain people as I was talking I felt a nagging sense in my head that said “You’re annyoing. you’re annoying. talk faster to get it out before they cut you off.”
There are moments that I would, feel uncomfortable using a strong voice (tightening my solar plexus to ensure sound was emiting from there) or asking people to do something. There would always be an underlying knowingness that I was asking them to do something. And it would read through in my speech.
And I think because other people could sense that it made it a lot harder for me to keep asking.
Today I made a pact with myself that I am going to be true to my voice, What this means is that I am going to use my real voice and say my real thoughts and needs. Without censoring it or making it seem polite.
In the past that this has cost me to lose jobs, be sent home. I think about what a costly move it is to simply be true to yourself and say what you are really thinking. It offends people. Throws them off balance. And it some cases it makes them so hungry to have me begging for mercy.
But I don’t care what they think, any more.
Today as I held myself to this pact, I got frustrated with myself because as I walked into an apartment complex very strong, I thought in my head am I coming across unfriendly? Then the person behind the desk, who seemed very smart and snarky, was able to sense my weakness and I caved and got scared. Losing my strong persona. Unable to hold it. I heard a voice come out of my mouth that had an underlying scared tone. Like someone trying to climb up a long deep well using a rope ladder, but is still too far down the hole.
He had the upper hand.
That’s the thing. Sometimes I get nervous and it causes me to rethink my behaviors. For example am i being too mean? Am i being cold and unfriendly or not flexible? Am i being too selfish? Shouldn’t I be thinking about them? This is a relationship after all. No wonder I got fired from my pet sitting job. (These are some of the thoughts I have)
Another time today, I exercised my commitment to using my voice and it caused a tense situation. I had some schedule overlaps at the dog walking company I work for (as a side job). I texted the manager and asked her some flexibility.
He texts back, “We need to talk. Call me.” I feel like I am his daughter. And that’s not who I am. It annoys me.
He says he is frustrated that I need the flexibility. But instead of saying sorry, or I know. I don’t give it to the frustration. I hold my ground. I am allowed to need things. Especially for as much as I give.
I wait for the axe to drop. I expect that holding so much ground will get me fired. It has before.
But he gives me a little more respect. Ok…
Throughout the day there is still tension in our interactions. Because I will not cave. I won’t bow down. I feel powerful.
Until finally the tension becomes unmovable and I can see if I don’t address the issue I might actually lose this job. So I say, “Are you sure we are addressing the real issue?” Immediately the anger releases. And I am treated with more respect, and consideration. The conversation between us softens.
And I realize that Instead of getting angry when these situations happen, I need to learn how to manage the tension. Get use to the tension. Become best friends with it and move through it, instead of running scared.
Today I started to act a little more coy and not so much upfront. I wondered if expressing my needs was being too selfish or asking for too much in my work relationships and I decided it might take less work to be the nicer version of myself – it’s effortless. It takes energy and focused effort, and a willingness to look consequences (even scary ones!) head on to be the more assertive version. But the impact is better.
I watched A Simple Favor this afternoon and saw what it looks like when a woman is really confident and get’s her way in Blake Lively’s character. It makes her extremely attractive but it gives other women the confidence to be themselves as well.
I noticed when I am assertive and tell people what I am doing rather than asking they respond back to me with a stronger tone as well. At first I was taken back by it thinking it was some kind of personal attack on me. But now I think I might be inspiring them to be more of their authentic selves.
Also today in the grocery store someone asked if i was waiting in line while i was texting on my phone. I said in my normal tone, “no, you can go in front of me.” but he didn’t hear me! (that is nothing new for me though, happens all the time where people can’t “hear” me.) He asked again and I felt like I yelled at him but I just said really assertively and kind of loud. “No I’m not, you can go.” After a few minutes he asked me what he think he should do to get the clerks attention.
Now, if I kept a quieter tone I wonder if he would’ve asked my opinion.
Action: Keep saying my truth even if I feel like I sound unreasonable or kind of rude… Force myself to keep showing leadership whether walking in front of someone down a hall way. As long as it is in a stronger voice (by using the solar plexus) and I am in the state of mind (thinking” That i have all the power. I am a powerful being)