Let me tell you a story. It was my first year at secondary school, and after the first set of exams, my parents went off to parents’ evening to meet my teachers. Now I’d done very well in these exams and it was the first time the school had seen what I could do.
What was the verdict my parents received from my teachers do you think? Well it was this:
“We are surprised that Anne’s done so well in the exams, because she’s so quiet in class.”
Talk about making a ridiculous and illogical judgement about someone! I still remember how frustrated and annoyed I felt when I heard this. Why did the fact that I wasn’t pushy in class mean I didn’t understand? Why did the fact that I was shy about speaking up have anything whatsoever to do with my intelligence? Logically, since I understood everything, I had no need to ask loads of questions, yet their assumption had been the opposite; in their minds, the quiet girl was the dull girl!
This is something I’ve met again and again over the years. So many times I’ve sat in the background, with so much I wanted to share, but somehow I just couldn’t get the words out of my mouth. Not just during my childhood, but indeed for decades afterwards too.
If you’re a sensitive, deep-thinking, shy type of woman like me, then very likely you are not loud, and often you don’t speak up — even when you really want to. But I’ll bet good money that you have many brilliant ideas in your head, and you are capable of creating amazing things in the world.
But alas, the world judges us on how much we push ourselves forwards, and on how loud we are. It’s a fact. Until we shift that balance of power, we will remain in the background, no matter how brilliant we are.
If you want to get your ideas noticed in meetings, get that promotion, or grow your business you need to speak up, and do so confidently and assuredly. If you don’t, someone else will. We’ll never get ourselves a level playing field in life while we allow others hog the limelight, just because they are more extrovert than us.
So, what can you do about it? Well, the key is go persuade your subconscious mind that you aren’t in danger. Here are some action steps you can take straight away to make it easier to speak up. They work by making your subconscious mind feel safer, which reduces stress and anxiety.
1) Breathe deeply into your stomach area for a few breaths and as you do so focus your concentration on that area of your body. This magnifies your personal power and reduces fear.
2) Next move your attention up to your throat, and as you breathe imagine a ball of light there getting brighter with each breath. Your body will now be feeling ready to speak.
3) Finally, remind yourself that you have the right to speak, to express your opinion, and put forwards your ideas. Your worth has nothing to do with how loud you are, and your existence does not depend on what other people think.
4) Now speak and allow that energy carry your words for you.
The more you go through this procedure, the more your mind will get into the habit of pulling in your power before you speak up. Don’t give up if you don’t get success first time, we are re-training your mind’s default response, and this does take repetition. The more you work at it, the more you will be setting yourself up for success.
Not every gifted woman is an extrovert or a ‘badass’. Much as I applaud any woman who pushes forwards to succeed in the world, we don’t have to do it that way — for many of us, me included, extrovert and badass will never sit right with our character. For every woman confidently taking the lead out there, I know there are many more intelligent, gifted women with so much to give to the world, but they are just are not getting noticed as much as they deserve. The world needs us and what we have to offer, now more than ever. So, let’s do something about it.
If you’re a woman who’s felt frustrated in this way, and you want to find your power when it comes to speaking up, and letting yourself be noticed, then I invite you to join my Facebook community, “Pull Back Your Power Women’s Community”. It’s time that all women had the tools to feel safe, succeeding.