Happy holidays, fellow women and womxn! We’re finally greeting Thanksgiving, for those who celebrate it; and for many, this is a time for reflection, gratitude, and acknowledgment. While acknowledgment may not feel always easy, it can be a powerful exercise of humility and foundational prep work for change. So, now that the segue is here, I’ll share with transparency some much-needed feedback I received. I hope that you’ll find today’s memo useful with it, too.
During a recent 1:1 work call, just days ago, we were sharing our experiences and motivations back-and-forth. I’m sure during the conversation, I said the following (because of what came in time):
- “This may sound weird, but…”
- “I’m not sure how to explain it right…”
- “I don’t get why I did…”
- “This might sound stupid…” (a personal favorite)
As time passed, she eventually stopped me and then told me, with love and assertiveness, to quit minimizing myself.
And guess what happened? I actually shut up and listened, and didn’t offer a response or shrug off the truthful observation of my behavior and expressions.
Why Getting Feedback “This Time” Clicked
Now, I’ve had loved ones and friends say the same thing for years; it’s not a new comment or observation. But, it’s a Hell of a lot different when it comes from a practical stranger. We had only met for the first time on another call. Though, as I think back to how many times I’ve received, in some form, this memo from others or the Universe, it probably numbers in the hundreds or more. No joke.
Let’s dive in further: How do you recognize patterns of constructive feedback in your life? Are you more of a listener, observer, or reflector, perhaps? Maybe more relatable, do you see where you count yourself short, or talk to yourself (or about yourself) as “less than?”
Now, What Do We Do? Why Change?
After marinating on what she said, and even how she said it, I was reminded of when I’ve received this message at other times. Like I said before, it’s been on repeat, but here are the cases:
- Family chats
- Friendly dialogue
- Meditation and activation
- Fellow business friends
- Lessons of history
- In data and articles… and more.
The largest lesson yet: How can I help women and womxn tap into their strengths and not minimize themselves if I can’t do the same? How can young people have a role model in an “older” person like myself, if this is what comes out of my mouth or is in my own head?
The human and informational resources, listed above, already presented what needs changing. And, yes, my Wise Self within already knows what to do… It does take practice, habit, self-love, and more. Also, it takes a community of women/womxn who are also trying to do their best in these areas; and it makes our bond and our changes stronger.
So, what have I been up to since this revelation? I’m literally holding my tongue when minimizing talk comes to my lips; well, I’m holding it back and shutting my mouth.
The Takeaway: Accept the Habit and Let it Go for the Right Reasons
We don’t always need to have an opinion of ourselves and even though this might come across as a mental or mindset shift (which it is), there’s also an aspect of experiential learning and living. Being Pollyanna positive, or spiritually bypassing “negative” thoughts and feelings, isn’t always the ticket either. Every day we have an opportunity to not minimize ourselves, to be a valuable role model in that, and to let go of old habits that don’t serve us any longer.
If we know why we do the habit, which in my case is some significant minimizing of self, we can honor that past and be present with who we really are. Right now. And in doing so, we can let go of the not-great actions or expressions, and make room for what we’re really here for. As professional women/womxn, we’re doing our work for a plethora of reasons. You may resonate with some of these, as I do: independence, service to others, expansion and growth, personal freedom, etc.
But if these reasons are already stifled by self-doubts and minimization, they may never be found. If we don’t witness and hear the (loving) “hard stuff” and tweak what we do, our future actions could be different. And if we really want to change our paths and make a different world for ourselves, we need to learn from this and course correct.
So, what am I thankful for this year? That my loved ones, friends, and a kind stranger, had the nerve to tell me the truth. And I’m also thankful for the time, today, to make changes as I type.
Alright, Folks ~ What are you grateful for? I know that sometimes it seems cliché or part of the tradition of the season, but I’m serious. Better yet: what hard thing have you realized or been a part of, but are honestly grateful for its upbringing? From this, what plans do you have for change?
If you’d like a little help on plans for change and reconnecting with yourself, here’s the FSW Quiz to start with. Or, if you’d rather dive in so you can get new content updates, the FSW Circle is your space. If you’d rather connect 1:1, here’s how you do that. Feel like browsing for other topics? The Blog has many talking points to choose from. Have a happy holiday week, if you’re celebrating, and I’m sending all sorts of good vibes as we finish out 2021.