A creative, intelligent woman is ready to step up to the next level, but no-one knows it.
I worked with a young woman recently who was persistently, smilingly apologetic in her language and style, habitually eager to please, vocally high pitched, and ‘girly’. Uncomfortable with silences, she saw it as her role to fill any gaps with banter.
On the threshold of stepping up into a role she was eminently qualified for, these habits were getting in the way of colleagues seeing her as a natural ‘fit’ at a higher level.
She was seen as being both young and junior. The message she was transmitting was: ‘Sorry for speaking…sorry for being here!’.
After being coached to, very simply:
1. Stop saying sorry;
2. Stop saying maybe;
3. Stop smiling; and
4. Sit back and listen,
She found enormous shifts beginning to occur in the way her colleagues perceived her.
She found she was more able to stand her ground, take up space, and was felt to be a significant presence in the room.
Is this because it’s bad to apologise, test ideas, or smile? Obviously not. For another client, (both the habits and) the adjustments would have been completely different.
However for this client, these behaviours which must have once served her, no longer did. Simple adjustments allowed her to actively transform her habits, in order to make room for a change that was happening in her already.
The gravitas, experience and thought leadership she had to offer became visible to others. When she did speak, colleagues said she ‘made the most sense’ of all the contributors in the room. She stepped up into her new, senior role with confidence and dignity.
You have the right to speak. Stand your ground. Don’t apologise .