First it was the conference where all the females prefaced their questions with “I’m sorry but” or “just a quick question”.
Then it was the LEADERSHIP COACH at a training that raised her hand to ask a question or contribute to the discussion. This lady had valuable points to add but was acting like she was in primary school.
C’mon ladies, we need to take up space.
Step into our power.
Stop using words like just, only and sorry. They undermine our authority and our power.
We want a seat at the table, but are we being our own worse enemy?
I’m not promoting becoming more hard and ‘male’ (although we should embrace our masculinity like males should embrace their feminine side). I mean have a voice, use it, be assertive. Being assertive, standing behind what we have to say is being our most authentic.
It’s been a long journey for me to step into my power. It own my space. And I still make missteps. I started in two places:
- I proof read all emails and edit out the ‘onlys’ and ‘justs’ It felt unnatural for a long time. But it gave my emails more weight and spilled over into my verbal communication. Result!
- I observed myself taking up space (or not). I noticed what behaviours made others seem larger or smaller. Taking notice changed my behaviour. Which I backed up with mental positive reinforcement. A mental pat on the back when I was assertive.
These two actions turned into some big shifts for me. Trivial looking from the outside but I knew were massive because of the change in outlook and attitude they represented. I’m talking about ringing for the flight attendant when my drink bottle exploded over me mid flight instead of just managing the best I could with whatever absorbent material I had to hand. See, trivial. I have a long standing hang up about being an imposition, even when it’s their job! Illogical, I know. Choosing to take up space has gone a long way to changing that mindset.
So observe and practise.
Chase your order at the restaurant. Give the clothes back to shop assistant to hand up. Pick up the phone when it’s going to resolve things more effectively than an email.
This is not an invitation to be a dick. It’s low risk practice by asking what is reasonable. Asking people to do their job is a great baby step. The more you practise, the more confident you grow. It will spill over into your entire life.
It’s time to take up space.