Are You a People Pleaser and What’s it Costing You?

Does it ever take you the better part of an hour to send off an email that should have taken you five minutes, as you agonize over every layer of meaning?

Do you ever find yourself dwelling on a conversation you had with someone earlier in the day, going over every nuance of the interaction?

Do you ever defend a boundary of yours at work and then immediately feel bad about it–and worry that your boss is disappointed in you and doesn’t see you as a team player?

This week in Build Yourself+ Live Online we looked what I like to call ‘saying no to say yes’ learning to implement boundaries to all the unfiltered priorities of others (because all the priorities means no priorities) in order to direct our careers in the way we want them to go. We, as women, struggle to say no because we’ve been trained to be accommodating and put others needs ahead of our own. We also get more pushback when we say it–I get women really comfortable learning to say ‘not yet’ as a starter step which is both easier and sometimes can deflect negative perceptions of us. It’s hard to say no but it’s one of the key skills that will move you into the next leadership level.

Saying no is about time management, yes, but it’s also about unearthing a deeper skill–that of checking in with our inner wisdom.

When we practice saying no, we also remember to ask ourselves, what do I really want to be saying yes to?

When we spend our time and energy engaged in people pleasing, we fall out of touch with actively curating what we want, what we really, really want. When I first started this workshop, I thought each participant would, with the help of my strategies, hit the ground running on pursuing what she wanted for her professional life. I’ve learned, over time, that part of my job is to unlock the ballsy (and yes I used that word) girl within you and let her out again.

So when’s the last time you did something, or overdid something just to please someone? Was it today? Was it this morning? Was it five minutes ago?

Do me a favor, say no once today. It’s one of the best ways I know to tap into your “yes”.

Three Men, No Eye Contact

Last weekend I went to a conference and found myself in small conversation–just me and three other men. I very quickly noticed that they were only making eye contact with each other–and even more frustratingly–one of them even had his body turned away from mine–effectively closing me out of the conversation.

I was so frustrated and angry. I wanted to rant and rave. I wanted to jump up and down like a child screaming, “But I’m an empowerment coach! I teach women how to hold power.”

“I have alpha-body language! I’m doing everything right!
You can’t do this to me!”

But there’s the rub. Women’s power is not just dependent on us doing our part to move past the internalized barriers that hold us back–it’s also dependent on the world we operate in and the unconscious bias that everyone carries.

These guys were not trying to be sexist–conversely, they are part of a community that was founded in part on gender parity. But they also live in a world in which a man’s opinion is worth more than a woman’s. We all unconscionably perform these assumptions–like the time I automatically complimented a female friend on a dish, and didn’t even think to compliment her male partner. (He had, in fact, actually been the chef.)

I was so pissed off last weekend that I walked off in a huff–something I’m not proud of. But in a situation like that, what do you do? Do you explicitly call someone out and say, “Can you please change your body language, it expresses your unconscious belief that I’m less worthwhile because I’m a chick?” Do you avoid these groupings all together (“If they don’t need us, we don’t need them!”) or is there another answer?

In truth, it’s complicated, and there are different answers for different situations.

It’s hard to rise at a company that structurally and intractably doesn’t value women, but most of the time, there are ways through.

And I’m on a mission to find those ways out.

The next day I ran into a wise-woman at the same conference. This sixty plus-year old woman fits the classic typology of sassy lady. She’s been leaning in her entire life–running a business and making big decisions for her family. She regularly gets mistaken for a secretary or aide at the industry conferences she goes to, even though she’s the big boss.

“I would have just said, ‘Excuse me, can you turn a little bit? I’m having a hard time seeing the other guy,'” she said when I told her about my experience. Brilliance!

Sometimes the simplest approach is the best, and sometimes we let ourselves get distracted, and a small moment can blow up into the overwhelming feeling that we’ll always have to work twice as hard as the guys to get anywhere, and the futility of it all can be demoralizing. But don’t let that happen. Stay the course because you will get there, and there are always chinks and cracks in the walls ahead of us.

Ambition and Goal Setting

Welcome to my first quarterly book report!
This month we’re talking about going deeper on ambition and goal setting.

Whenever I get a bit of free time to myself, I absolutely love sinking my teeth into a good book. I have to admit; I’m a little bit of a reading and data nerd. As a result, I wanted to find some way to keep myself accountable on my reading, so I decided to organize these quarterly ‘book reports’ for you, and pull out highly useful information that you can apply to your life.

Read More…

Holding the Door Open Behind You

For the past few weeks we’ve been talking about how to build yourself+ through building others.

I’ve been pushing against the conventional wisdom that for us women, moving forward in your professional path means pushing past others to get there.

Read More…

Pay It Forward and Build The Culture

I got an email the other day from a coaching student that showed me I was making an impact. She forwarded an email that she had sent that week to a consultant she was working with.

I think it’s a model for all of us.

supporting other women

Read More…

Get your Wingwoman (or Man!)

Have you ever been at a party with that guy that can’t stop talking about himself?

We’ve all been there, our smiles plastered to our faces, while inside, we’re tracking, like predators that break in the conversation that means we can get out, get out!

Read More…

Make Like the Merrill Lynch Ladies and Build Your Circle

Raise your hand if you like self-important people? The “humble” brag? Now raise your hand if you like talking about or claiming your accomplishments? Are you more likely to deflect your kudos with an ‘Aww, it wasn’t me,’ or a redirecting shrug?

Read More…

Bring Your Intuition to Work Day

There’s a thing I do that I call gut listening.

I do it in client meetings when I’m trying to understand what the client really wants and how that might be different from what they are saying. I do it with my Build Yourself+ coaching clients as I seek to understand the challenges they face and to compose personal challenge tasks that will move their goals forward.

Read More…

The Work-Life Collapse Attack Meltdown! & How to Handle It

There’s a thinking pattern that I’ve been seeing in the women I work with.

We all know about the comparison gremlins (she bought a house, I’m still renting, wow that woman owns her own company and she’s only 22? and ohmigosh what about all those babies–or grandbabies–on facebook?) Sometimes, when I see women struggle with the gulf between where they are and where they want to be, they do what I’ve come to call the work-life collapse attack meltdown.

Read More…