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But I Don’t Fit

But I Don’t Fit

“There is no way I can put all of me in this box anymore.” Have you ever been there? At that point of frustration and desperation because you feel as if you will suffocate if you don’t express all of you in your work. Why do I have to choose? Why can’t I express all of me? How can I not use my entire range of skills in my work? These are often questions that accompany those feelings of being done with the box. You know, the box that people try to put you in oftentimes so they’ll be more comfortable with you. I remember hearing a former pastor say, “Never let anyone else create your world. They will always create it too small.” That one saying has stuck with me for nearly 20 years and I often think of it when discussing “the box.” In our society we are almost obsessed with a “check the box” mentality. But what happens when you don’t fit in the box? I was chatting with a client recently and she expressed her frustration with not fitting into a box. She’s a gifted stylist, personal shopper, make-up artist, and social media expert. She has a way of looking at you and seeing how your offline and online brand should align. And she can help you dress for your body style in a way that fits your personality. But wait, there’s more. She also takes your offline style and presence and aligns it with your online presence. She has the skills and ability to manage your online presence as well. I am always in...
7 Ways to See if You Are a Good Listener

7 Ways to See if You Are a Good Listener

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway In my workshops and seminars on assertiveness and influence, I often ask the group to raise their hands if they are good listeners and typically about half of the room if not more will raise their hands and say “yes”. However, as we continue through the workshop, we find that oftentimes those who raised their hands aren’t as great at listening as they originally thought. This isn’t uncommon. Many of us would like to believe that we are great listeners (myself included), yet there is generally room for improvement. This is because hearing someone is not the same as listening to someone. In order to truly listen, you must be intentional about doing it, because it is not something that happens automatically. You may be thinking, why the focus on listening in an assertiveness workshop? That’s a great question. The answer is this is a key piece to effective communication. Oftentimes we find ourselves so focused on what we are going to say that we simply fail to listen, which leads to failed conversations and potential conflict. As women leaders, we must understand and master the power of listening. It is key to whether that challenging conversation is going to be successful or having that conflict we resolved. Over the next 24 hours, I challenge you to pay attention to the times you do any of the following: Check your email, text messages or Facebook updates while talking with someone Wait for the other person to pause so that you can share your thoughts or ideas Say to yourself ...
What’s Considered Too Assertive?

What’s Considered Too Assertive?

“There is no either/or between being competitive and collaborative. You have to be both and decide which in each situation.” – Cathie Black Oftentimes when I speak, I am asked the question, “how can I be a strong, confident leader and not be perceived as a b—ch?” While there is a bit of a balancing act between being assertive and being a collaborative team player, you must understand that being overly concerned with people’s perception may ultimately hold you back. There are many misconceptions as it relates to assertiveness and aggression. For me, assertive simply means speaking up and asking for what you want and/or need. It doesn’t have to be an emotional response, but an honest assessment about your thoughts and feelings regarding a particular situation. As a leader, there will be times when your views or opinions are in direct conflict with a direct report, peer or even a superior. What do you do in that situation? How do you share your input without becoming emotional? Or do you play it safe and say nothing at all? Much of the conflict or drama that occurs in the workplace is due to miscommunication. No one is sharing his or her true thoughts and feelings. You may be thinking, “I would get fired, if I dared to share my true thoughts or feelings.” Would you really? What if you shared your views in a way that was direct and to the point, but was also non-offensive and non-abrasive? Would you be fired then? This week, I invite you to challenge your current views on assertiveness and aggression. There is a way...