Doing branding work I have met some really incredible women. I love getting to know my clients and hearing about their dreams and goals. I am always impressed and delighted to hear about their past accomplishments, their unique experiences, and their visions for their businesses and their communities. These are strong, smart, energized women. However, I've also heard some of these same amazing women say things like "I know I should be charging more, but… I'm just really picky…I don't want to seem braggy…I know my standards are too high…" We're all in trouble if having high standards is something you should apologize about!
Why is it that even savvy, educated women still struggle with stepping into their own power? I think one reason is from the time we are little we are encouraged to be nice, to share, to be helpful and not to raise our voices. One of my least favorite phrases taught in preschool is "You get what you get and you don't get upset." What if what you are given is garbage? In preschool that is not usually the case, but sometimes in life it is, especially if you are shy about making your preferences known.
Another big reason women apologize for what they want is they want to be liked. Of course, we all want to be liked, but when our desire to be liked causes us to act in ways that erode our authenticity, we damage our brands. It can be very scary to think people won't like us, however, here's a news flash. Not everyone likes you anyway! So why not ask for what you really want so at least someone is happy.
Here are some things to think about the next time you catch yourself saying "I know I should but…" or "I'm too…"
1. You are a role model. Instead of worrying someone else will think you are too full of yourself the next time your ask for what you are worth, remember you are showing them how to honor themselves the next time they ask for something they need. This is ESPECIALLY important if you have kids.
2. You are always telling others how you want to be treated by the messages you send out. If your message is "I'm worried my standards are too high" people will treat you as if your standards are too high. If, on the other hand, you are secure with your standards, you will start to attract people into your life who also have high standards. Again, if you have kids, don't you want them to have high standards when they are say, oh I don't know, choosing friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, what food they put into their bodies!
3. If you do not pick the best you can, it is a reflection of your personal judgement to others. People judge each other constantly. It is not mean, it is human nature. It is a way for people to determine who you are and what you are all about. If you are not picky, you are saying to the world that either you do not care or don't feel you deserve the best. Just to be clear, I'm not advising you go out and spend a lot of money. I am suggesting though, that you choose the best options available to you. It doesn't cost you any more money to hire a great employee than it does to hire a less desirable one just because "they'll do."
You are not in preschool anymore. You do not have to accept what people give you if it does not meet your needs or desires. However, in order for people to know what you want, you need to have a clear, strong voice. By the way, I know this was a long post, but do you think I am going to apologize for it? No way.