I used to be THAT girl… “bossy”, and then I wasn’t, and then I was again. Confusing? YES.
In my earlier years, (not that it was THAT long ago) I was often referred to as bossy according to my “friends”. Most times when I heard these derogatory comments, I never really understood what they meant by it or why they felt that way. I think the problem was because I never followed up with the simple question, “Why do you say that?” or “What is it that I do that’s bossy”. “Please explain”. Looking for answers would have helped me connect the dots. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the confidence to speak up and I was generally told to stop talking, listen, and let someone else lead and make important decisions even if I disagreed with it. I mean, the only thing I remember as a child now that I’m a bit older are the comments shared by peers and how others made me feel. REMEMBER: People will always remember how you made them feel, not necessarily what you did or said. It’s all a distant blur at this point, however, the feelings are still there. Often, when kids on the playground said these types of things, it always made me question it because I thought, “Well NO, that’s how YOU are” or maybe that’s what I wanted to say to them. We are mirrors of ourselves and at times when someone calls you dramatic or bossy as an example, it’s simply because they are themselves. It’s interesting because we tend to project ourselves onto others while thinking we don’t at all have that problem… Just take a moment and think about that…
I could get all into that but THAT is definitely not the purpose of this post. It’s funny to me now to recall how embarrassed and ashamed I used to feel when someone called me bossy. It was seen as a negative thing and not an amazing trait to have when you’re a kid. But then you grow up, figure out the world, and have to make tough decisions in order to survive.
Sheryl Sandberg is an advocate of women as leaders and says that little girls who are told they are “bossy” should be told instead they have “leadership potential.” I recently checked out a YouTube video of her Ban Bossy campaign where someone asked a small group of girls in an elementary school around the age of 10 if it’s more important to be a leader or to be liked. Every single girl said it is better to be liked than to be a leader. In their responses as to why, “because no one will like you if you tell them what to do.” Unfortunately this is the reality for young girls because of all the consequences that come with stepping up as a leader to your peers. It’s not seen as a good thing AT ALL. I can speak from my experience and confidently say leadership qualities were often translated into negative characteristics such as aggressive, dominating, overbearing, abrasive etc. It is true that not a lot of people liked me at that time (limited social circles composed out of convenience and location). I never went to French immersion, preschool or day care centres. I didn’t have the social skills to interact with strangers before I entered kindergarten. Be quiet, don’t make a lot of noise, and let the grown ups talk. THANKS! This is just how it was at THAT time. I was raised by my Italian parents and a lot by my grandparents who lived basically across the street. Boy did they ever make THE BEST home cooked meals.
So what are the results of something like this? It affects levels of confidence, self-esteem, self-love and respect for yourself. Doubting your potential and capabilities and not setting boundaries are the results of feeling this way. These things affect all areas of your life; family, friends, relationships, work, etc. This is not to say that you will not recover, you just have to do the work.
The little girl in me was never bossy in my eyes, yet had natural leadership skills. Since I was conditioned to suppress this side of me for so long after highschool, I often felt misunderstood and unsatisfied in my career choices or circle of friends because I simply wasn’t allowing myself to lead anymore. There was always a sense of shame to be myself. Constant trigger moments later on in life that NEEDED to be removed. When that #BOSSGIRL came out sporadically, I found people didn’t react positively and it was because I had changed the game on them. It’s all a learning process, and you won’t get it right the first time. So I had to tweak my leadership approach in a way that worked for me and this comes with PRACTICE.
So what did I learn?
- I realized I was born to be a leader, entrepreneur, and work for myself which is why I started my own training and coaching business this year and it’s growing!
- I am not afraid to connect and meet new people who also have their own businesses and come with their own set of skills, knowledge and experiences. Partnerships are so fun and a great place to be. No delegation necessary!
- I work SMART not HARD which means stepping up to the plate to set professional boundaries so that I am fulfilled in my work and allows me to work in a way that makes sense.
- I am not afraid to let people know how I am thinking or feeling which creates meaningful relationships and friendships and helps with who I choose to let into my life in the future.
- Be who you are no matter what people think. WHY? Because they don’t matter anyways 🙂
On November 21st I am speaking in front of 200 minority 6th-12th grade girls in Detroit on confidence and leadership along with 5 wonderful entrepreneur women sharing their own stories. I’m so excited I just can’t wait to meet everyone!
Share, like, or comment below 🙂 I’d love to hear from you and discover your turning points or what I can do to help with clarity and confidence in my Clarity Breakthrough program.