So today I offer the paddle of Empowerment.
Because in a sink-or-swim society, we need to stop undermining our success, self-sabotaging, and apologizing when we prevail.
As such, here are 5 things we should all stop doing:
- Stop being threatened by other women
What in the Tonya Harding is happening, ladies? Can we stop the competition and pettiness? Let Lauren live. Clap for Candace. Because don’t you want them to clap for you? Staying in our own lane means giving our colleagues, friends, and strangers on the internet the room to rise to the occasion – in their own way. Life is hard enough. We don’t need unsolicited opinions and criticism from people not walking in our shoes. Just keep it pushing and compliment a girl’s eyebrows every chance you get.
- Stop forgetting “NO” is a complete sentence
A “no” doesn’t require further explanation, yet we constantly feel compelled to overshare or explain our reasoning behind the declination. If someone is pushing us to continually reinforce a No, we need to recognize that as a lack of respect for our boundaries, or an attempt to manipulate us into a yes we never wanted in the first place (and we’ll tackle that in number 3). For all you People Pleasers, this one might make you cringe. So let me lend a few alternatives for turning someone down.
“I’m not interested at this time, but I appreciate you extending me the opportunity.”
“It doesn’t fit into my schedule right now, but thank you for the invite.”
“This doesn’t feel right for me, so I’ll have to pass.”
“I’m not comfortable with that.”
“I’m open to trying it this way instead.”
“Not at this time, thank you.”
- Stop saying “YES” out of obligation
I didn’t come here to quote the Bible, but I appreciate the verse, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” Why? Because we’re out here killing ourselves by agreeing to things we have no business undertaking. When we die, we don’t get an award for doing the absolute most and, frankly, it wouldn’t hurt to trim the fat in our schedules. It’s nice to be needed, but do you really have time to be a homeroom mom, volunteer to host the gathering, or join another organization just because you were asked? While a busy schedule is often unavoidable, a closer evaluation of how we extend ourselves might yield some “trimmable” tasks.
- Stop feeling guilty for doing nothing
In light of the busyness discussed in number 3, why are we so hard on ourselves for actually sitting down? I could be wrong, but I don’t believe there’s been a time when women have had more on our plate than now. I would camp there with a myriad of examples, but I’ll assume you agree. By God, if after a long day of being “on” we choose to spend an hour of mindless scrolling or watching Netflix, then that’s okay. It’s the magical part of the day when, for just once, no one needs something from us. So let me argue that nothing is the new something. That this small window of downtime is actually a way to decompress. I mean *checks notes* didn’t Instagram tell us in, like, 2016 that you can’t pour from an empty cup?
- Stop over-apologizing
I’m sorry, but we need to address “I’m sorry.” (See what I did there?) I’m not Lester Holt, but here’s a newsflash: We have to cut this out. There’s a difference between being genuinely apologetic and throwing out “I’m sorry” to inflate someone else’s ego. Get out of the habit of leading with those words. For example, change “I’m sorry I’m just now responding” to “Please excuse the delay.” Another example? “I’m sorry I can’t make it” doesn’t need the apology. Just say, “I wish my schedule was open, but I can’t make it.” We throw out “I’m sorry” with the same frequency as blessing people when they sneeze, and it’s simply not necessary.
Now, this is the part where we do trust falls.
Just kidding, I would probably drop someone and I don’t need that kind of pressure in my life.
So, let’s just nod and make a concerted effort to put a more self-assured foot forward.
I know I can use these reminders as a compass in my journey towards the shores of success…
And when I get there, I’ll be sure to set up a hammock for others, too.
There’s room for everyone.