This week has a bit of a theme, and that’s about Raising Hell. What I mean by that, is that culturally, we, as women, have been taught to act and behave a certain way, a way that is acceptable and a way that will have us be more well-liked. And not necessarily outwardly taught to be a certain way by our parents and mentors, but taught by what we see on a daily basis. This is messaging we’ve received our whole lives. And one of those things is apologizing.
For instance, a few months ago I had to email someone who's wasn’t following through on their commitments and making my job harder. This person would fall off in the middle of an email conversation, and not answer questions I had. But, then start a new email telling me something or asking me questions. I even asked this person if there is another way we can do things to make our communication work better. They said no and things continued to fall through the cracks.
I knew this was going to be an uncomfortable conversation, but I called on my courage and started an email where I was going to tell this person how I felt and be clear that I needed a solution. In drafting the email I found myself typing, “I'm not trying to be a diva about this…” and I stopped myself. I’m sure we’ve all either said this or emailed this. It might also look like, “I'm sorry to seem like a pain-in-the-ass…” or “Forgive me if this sounds overbearing…”
This is what I call “roundabout apologizing”.
Raise your hand if you have done this? I've less and less said “Sorry”, when I don’t need to be, but still the “I'm not trying to be blah blah…” In other words: PLEASE DON'T THINK I'M AGGRESSIVE, A BITCH, HARD TO WORK WITH, DEMANDING, ETC. The risk is more than just someone having this opinion– the risk is that I could get a reputation for being this way.
I edited my email to be kind, but still clear that I feel this person is not doing their job. Some people might think I'm a diva, or demanding, or whatever. But, I'm at the point where it hurts worse to apologize for something I don't need to apologize for than to risk being seen as whatever they make up I am.
My challenge for you is to think about where you do this too. Just get curious and watch for it. I understand that in some situations, your job depends on you keeping the peace. And, maybe just having what I’ve talked about in this post run through your head will help you think about speaking up more in meetings, in your partnerships, and friendships. Whether you have an idea about something, you need something to change, or anything at all where the words need to move out of your mouth, or even in an email. I hope you consider having a throwdown with the old messaging we’ve come so used to having. Or even if you just get curious about it. Either way, it’s an act of raising hell.
Raise Hell, the 4-month online program is open for registration. Join me and a group of amazing women as we break down barriers. What that looks like is values-based hell raising– you getting clear on what’s important about the way you live your life and taking action on it. It’s about you learning how to set boundaries and have hard conversations. It’s about you letting go of the messaging and old patterns of thought about who you think you need to be and making room for who you want to be. Guided by me, we have weekly video calls, and built-in accountability. We start next week. Click here to join us.