They think WHAT about me?!
Today marks the beginning of a 4-part blog series I'm doing about power.
The kind of power that makes you feel like this:
And then this:
In January, we’re all about forward thinking. How we’re gonna change ourselves (or our country) to get us where we wanna go.
Before we can go anywhere, though, it’s important to lay a strong foundation. Plant roots so that when we grow, we don’t get knocked down by the shit storm that's occasionally called, life.
No matter who you are or what you want, the Universe will inevitably throw you challenges that make you question how much you can withstand.
With this series of lessons on power, my intention is to show you that not only are you WAY more powerful than you think, you also get to choose — in any given moment — how to wield your power in a way that serves you well.
So that when you do meet challenges, you can look them straight in the eye and know just how to respond.
Now let’s get started, cause this first lesson is important.
NO ONE GETS TO TELL YOU WHO YOU ARE.
There’s a lot of shitty feelings in this world, but none more infuriating than when someone tries to label you as something.
"I can't believe she insinuated that I was selfish."
"Who are they to judge how I spend my money?"
"Did you hear him on that conference call? He made it look like I was so incompetent!"
Whether on Facebook, around town or at work, life will present situations in which you want to scream and shout,
"No! How dare you say that! You're wrong!!"
Your blood will boil, and you'll spend hours mulling over the incident in your head, mentally defending yourself.
It sucks, and it's not fair. And whether you blame yourself for not having thicker skin or a more "zen" attitude, it doesn't matter.
Since that's easier said than done, of course, today we're gonna talk about how to respond to untruths and accusations in a practical fashion.
Once you've successfully done this a few times (with both yourself and others), it gets a lot easier to be, and remain, empowered.
The power of "No" statements
One of the greatest feelings you can ever experience is the power of the word "no" to negate an untrue statement.
"No, that's not who I am."
"No, that is not what this is."
"No, you don't know anything about me."
"No, that may be your truth, but it's not mine."
It's just a single word ("no), but like the scrape of a lit match, it cuts right through the smell of any bullshit.
Start using it when you feel positioned or labeled, and you'll notice a shift in your energy.
It'll help you get over it faster.
You don't actually need to defend. Validate and affirm instead.
Once you've acknowledged something as untrue within yourself, you don't actually need to defend it. You can simply state your truth instead.
Let me give you an example.
A person goes on Yelp and writes a scathing, 1-star review, attempting to slaughter a business' reputation.
Now, regardless of whether the review was even warranted, notice how the business responds in the comment thread:
"Hi (name of Yelper),
We're so sorry to hear about your experience! That sounds terrible and should never have happened. At (name of business) we love our customers and take pride in delivering outstanding quality service. We appreciate you bringing this to our attention. Please feel free to continue the conversation with us directly by emailing us at..."
Do you see what they're doing?
Rather than sink into shame that they're the worst business in the world and ought to close shop, what they're doing is bouncing right back. Flexing their strength by responding with a statement that affirms their truth.
The customer was trying to paint them as a business that didn't care about their customers, but that's precisely what the business validated in its response. ("We love our customers.")
Our actions may not even warrant it, but the person really wants it to look that way.
The good news is, you don't have to let them!
Take a situation at work, for example.
(Nowhere else but the workplace does this happen more frequently. When people feel their livelihoods threatened, it's a breeding ground for power struggles.)
Let's say you have a passive aggressive coworker trying to throw you under the bus by hogging all the air time during a presentation and making it look like you did nothing.
Though you might feel as if your character is under attack ("you're lazy, irresponsible or incompetent"), remember: you have nothing to prove.
Instead, during that classic moment when your boss looks at you with, "So what do you have to add?" you can respond by validating exactly what happened:
"Wow, John just made my job so easy! I’m looking at our report here and he covered everything we prepared. Thanks John! It was great working on this together!"
By openly validating that "he made your job easy," you make it okay that your job was just made easy.
A caring, hardworking team player whose coworker really likes doing other people's jobs.
Over time, the more you deflect back to him his own need to shine, the more people will take note of his insecurity.
ON SOCIAL MEDIA
While we're at work, how many times do we find ourselves on social media?
With the inauguration of a new president today, character assassinations are ripe on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
You might post a photo or share an article, only to have someone slam you for who knows whatever reason.
Rather than sit there hurt or pissed off by what they're accusing you of, remember:
You get to choose who you are.
You can ignore or delete, and it doesn't make you petty.
You can tell someone to piss off, and it doesn't make you a bitch.
You can apologize or send love, and it doesn't make you weak.
... Unless, of course, you decide that's who you are. Because YOU get to assess your own character.
My point is that in life, it's not about whether you are or aren't what someone says you are.
That job will always remain yours, and you have the power to decide on your character — each and every day.
To the next 4 years of extremely powerful women,
Thumbnail image via Instagram (artwork unknown)
Gif's via: Giphy