Tag Archives: Stereotypes

Woman Up, Man Down?

The world we live in is one of conflicting viewpoints, mixed messages from the media/pop culture and the ability to share your opinion broadly without hesitation in seconds. This creates the perfect storm of disagreement all over, both virtually and in person, which could complicate how we as women choose to use our voices.

Within this world, women are rising, for a multitude of reasons. One reason is the solidarity the #MeToo movement has created. While not part of that community, I can see its power. Women who were abused are standing on each other’s shoulders to hold their male abusers accountable. Their bravery is inspiring, their tenacity empowering.

There is no doubt in my mind that there are bad men out there. Ones who abuse, denounce and berate women at every opportunity. Those men must be held accountable. For certain, that’s not all men. As women, for us to make that generalization, one I hear in lots of places, from song lyrics to conference calls to presidential debates, is ultimately doing us a disservice.

Being pro woman does not mean you have to be anti men.

There are 33 female CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies this year (2019). While that is a record high, it’s certainly not where we want to be. So tell me, what play do you call here? Engage men differently to achieve success or minimize their existence altogether? We’re not going to change the landscape of leadership alone. We will need our brothers as allies to support our journeys.

It’s complicated, creating this dialogue, especially considering we live in such a polarizing environment. I’d offer taking a look internally at your own perspective would be the logical first step. Here’s a few ideas I plan to try as I wrap up my summer and head into my busy fall season.

  1. Review my personal board of directors. How can I engage more male perspectives and in which areas of my career/life would those be helpful? What current relationships could I leverage to build out these new relationships?
  2. Leveling up my personal vibrations by surrounding myself with positive influences, whether that be people, media outlets (there are still a few!), brands, businesses, etc. Negativity and hate perpetuate stereotypes and generalizations I don’t want to waste my energy on.
  3. Challenges assumptions – my own and other people’s. You can sing ‘You Don’t Own Me’ at the top of your lungs and then pull up your dating app to engage in productive (fingers crossed) conversations. It doesn’t have to be one way or another. Developing meaningful relationships with men – in any context – doesn’t mean you’re handing in your ‘Who Run the World? Girls’ card.
  4. In every situation, stay open and base your opinions on facts, not the story you’re telling yourself. This is the hardest one for me. I have to unwind stories I’ve told myself about men, especially when it comes to dating. It’s a dance, one that I’m now more conscious of so I can see when I’m making excuses for my conditioned behavior.

None of this is easy. Give yourself a level of grace as you carefully unwind these twisted stories that potentially aren’t serving you. More on that later this month too!

Please, Call Me Bossy

Powerful. Ambitious. Bossy. Raise your hand if you’ve been called these words. *Raises hand.* Now tell me, were you viewed in a positive or negative light when someone used these words to describe you? Let me guess…

This post is likely going to trigger some strong emotions, dear reader, but stick with me. Of late, I’ve had what feels like hundreds of conversations with talented, experienced lady friends, who are walking around their respective workplaces walking on eggshells. Many are struggling with confidence or are letting past descriptions dictate how they show up in current roles. I’ve heard “I need to take back my power but don’t want to come off as intimidating” or “I feel like my team needs direction but I don’t want to seem bossy” Insert eye roll here.

our deepest fearLadies, I’m here to tell you, you’re likely going to be too much for some and not enough for others. That’s life. My question to you is: “What words would you use to describe yourself when you’re at your best?” If it’s powerful or ambitious or honest, so be it. These are not dirty words that shouldn’t be spoken. Powerful women stand in their own sun, radiating light for all to see. Ambitious women strive for more and are hopefully bringing others along on their journey. Bossy women don’t take no for an answer. To me, these are all beneficial actions. Sure, there are bossy women who are bitches, ambitious women who sell others out. I hope that’s the minority of women AND we have the opportunity to rewrite this story.

Take a few colleagues who you trust and discuss these words. How are they received in your workplace? What can you do to help other women embrace their power, their ambition? Corporate cultures are hard: typically they’re well-defined by only by a subset of leadership. They’re big on collaboration and you’re definitely working in teams. So how do you bring your powerful, ambitious self to work without ruffling all of the feathers?

It’s a balancing act for sure. I’ve been told I’m too much: too extroverted, too talkative, too honest. So I’ve started having conversations about my big, bold, beautiful personality upfront. Let’s make some agreements on how we’re going to work together so we both claim our power, so I’ll know when to ease up so you can step up. It’s not a magic potion that works every time but it’s absolutely helped. I encourage you to give it a try.

The quote above is what sparked the idea for this post. It was read to me during a coaching class and immediately tears filled my eyes. I pride myself on being authentic, yet if I dim my light because I perceive that others can’t handle it, am I really being my true self? It certainly made me reflect and step fully in my power.

Millennial Meltdown

“Millennials have been taught to always be right” 

I heard this phrase last week and jotted it down in my notebook. I find the millennial generation, my generation, particularly interesting. This generation is generally born from the early 1980’s to the early 2000’s. That’s a pretty wide gap where a lot of individuals fall. We have been titled the “Me” generation, focusing on ourselves, our careers and putting our priorities first. Other words like arrogant, stubborn, and entitled are thrown around to describe this generation.

Millennials have been raised by mainly helicopter parents who wanted to give their children everything. Most were raised to believe everyone got a trophy for participating despite their losing record. The mantra “not my child” has been embraced by our parents. My child could not have possibly done this or that wrong. I am not saying this is every parent or every child, but it is the vast majority, as cited in this Time Magazine article. We were taught to be right.

With this concept in mind, millennials come across with an almost cocky attitude, that they are invisible and that the world owes them something. Now bring that into the workforce or into personal relationships. It doesn’t make for a good time. I’ve observed my generation act this way and have seen their lack of motivation and drive. Certainly, I am not perfect and can fall into the negative stereotype of a millennial. My questions for my readers: When do we as a generation become accountable for ourselves and how do we combat the negative stereotype?

Regardless of how you were raised or by whom, by the time we graduate college, we are adults and are responsible for ourselves. No matter what your parents told you, it’s now your turn to be in charge of your destiny. You cannot blame your parents (or anyone else) for your insecurities, regrets or any other challenges you face. All that has come to you is a privilege you work for, not a right.

For those millennials who fall outside of the stereotype, my advise is to prove them wrong. I realize, easier said than done. But go into every conversation, at work or at home, prepared with your points and questions. Be articulate and confident (not cocky) in your abilities. If you have worked hard, you earned that seat at the table.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about the millennial generation and how you personally interact with them. Comment below!

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