You're in business or you are an entrepreneur. You are an Administrative Assistant, a Vice President, or a game-changing public speaker. Any way you look at it, there is something we women have been missing, and I've been noticing it for years of my work with women in business.
You would think that being "nice" was a good thing!
When a "Good Girl" - a woman who follows the rules even when the rules are wrong and stop her from succeeding - takes being nice as her standard as she goes onto the Sales Field to play the Sales Game, she is bound to fail.
She might think it "rude" or "pushy" to ask for the sale. She is bound to lack the creative ways she could use to unlock the doors that the prospective customer could walk through, wallet open. She thinks that being assertive in sales might just be about manipulation, and that leaves her feeling conflicted because she knows that "manipulation" and "nice" just don't go together. So she goes into charm and niceness as deeply as she can.
And it just doesn't get the job done.
The Fundraiser misses her sales opportunity. The Saleswoman uses niceness to excess and misses, sometimes entirely, the benefits of service through assertiveness and strength.
It's clearly well beyond time to jailbreak through that "niceness" moniker and taste the free air of successful sales by seeing everything about it through a service and caring lens uninhibited by personal disempowerment.
So, what can the Good Girl do? What should she know that she doesn't know? How can she get the sale without jettisoning her inherent sense of service, and care for others?
I had to make a decision recently: to take a regular 40 hours a week job that would be a nice job and provide a lot more stability than I have had in recent years but not a ton of money...OR...stick with my two part-time jobs and keep working on my business.
But one of my part-time jobs - a seasonal sales gig that draws on my interpersonal communication skills - did not deliver the follow-up gig that they and I had hoped. So I went looking for another part-time job...and stumbled across an offer for a FULL-time job. Uh-oh. Decision time!
Taking the job meant I would not be able to continue teaching kids at The School of Rock. This meant I would not be able to give extraordinary amounts of time to building my business during daytime hours! How, I asked myself, could I "back off" of my total commitment to building my business??? I was smart enough to put this conundrum in front of a team of fellow entrepreneurs. (I jettisoned my pride in favor of support and input years ago, and it has been a most rewarding thing to have done! And this was no exception: I got a lot of answers.)
I was a young and naive 16 years old when my mother's friend, Dilly (short for Millard), gave me one day of work at his film company.
It was 1973 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and life was far simpler. But for me, I was primed to approach this mission of living up to parental and parental friend's expectations like a soldier going to war. I had to prove that I was good, and good enough, and that I would be approved of and that I could do what was essentially my very first day of my very first job, short-lived though it would be.
I knew how to type faster than the wind, but I didn't know how to send an overnight package. I had never had to do so. But this shocked Dilly. I don't know if he thought I was supposed to come in genetically predisposed to know how to be a secretary, but his shock felt frightening to me. I couldn't just look at him and say, "No, I don't. Why don't you show me?" I felt like a failure. Hard on myself? You bet! WAY too hard on myself. Insanely so.
After I had finished the day - literally sweating while sitting at the typewriter (yes, children, there WERE no personal computers) - Dilly called my mother and, understandably perplexed, asked her why I was so nervous!
This was courage. Unadulterated courage.
And it was so. very. much. MORE.
Her emotional vulnerability plus strength.
Her downloading to us of core emotional information, through her high simplicity.
Her refusal to be goaded into reactivity or defensiveness.
Her graciousness under the most extreme pressure.
To say I am a fan is to put it moronically mildly. But there was so much meta information happening here that all I can say is: Listen up! We have been given some p o w e r f u l lessons and information here. So, yeah, that's what I'm gonna say: LISTEN UP!
Every time you step on stage, do you judge yourself? Do you fear that you won't be good enough for the audience? That your answers won't be pithy or perfect enough?
You're shoulding on yourself. And when you stop that, you are going to see miraculous transformations in both your style and your impact. So...how do you stop that?
Let's just get this out here, right out front: We women are not allowed to be angry.
It scares the men.
And when they're scared, we get frightened too! Frightened that the we will be seen as unlikeable, unattractive, unlovable. Frightened that now we are "too masculine." Frightened that the reaction could be physically more intimidating. Frightened because we don't know how to handle it ourselves, so we
Why can't you just "kick the good girl to the curb" easily?
You have worked diligently to become stronger, more self-confident, less self-doubting, more self-accepting and authentic.
Have you ever found yourself tongue-tied in front of a colleague or in a meeting, even though you knew exactly how you felt and what you wanted to say?
That is a common experience. The question is why is it happening? The question after that one is: what do you do about it? Because no one wants to leave a situation feeling incomplete.
If you know my work, you know that I am a proponent of the benefits and the necessity of bringing emotion into play in our communications. I even created a system called Emotional Linguistics™, because we all share one common language no matter our background, color, creed, sexual orientation, and so forth. We all share the common language of emotion. Learning to speak the other's emotional language is life-changing. Learning what our own communication styles are, and how to have our best shot at being actually heard: Priceless.
I had been an actor for a while so I knew what it was like to actually choose an emotion and really feel it. It stood to reason that if I were feeling really bad, I could "choose" to feel really good instead (or at least "as well"). But one day I came up against my own limitations and I had to reach for another sphere of influence. It has stood me in good stead ever since.
I was at a spiritual gathering, and everyone in this exceptionally large hotel meeting space was moving around, talking and purchasing jewelry and books at the back of the room. I was a melting pot of emotions, wandering around trying to get up the courage to initiate closure with an ex-boyfriend even though I felt righteously that he should be the one to initiate. Someone stopped me and said she wanted to introduce me to some friends. I had to put on my mask of capability.I had been an actor for a while so I knew what it was like to actually choose an emotion and really feel it. It stood to reason that if I were feeling really bad, I could "choose" to feel really good instead (or at least "as well"). But one day I came up against my own limitations and I had to reach for another sphere of influence. It has stood me in good stead ever since.
I was at a spiritual gathering, and everyone in this exceptionally large hotel meeting space was moving around, talking and purchasing jewelry and books at the back of the room. I was a melting pot of emotions, wandering around trying to get up the courage to initiate closure with an ex-boyfriend even though I felt righteously that he should be the one to initiate. Someone stopped me and said she wanted to introduce me to some friends. I had to put on my mask of capability.
Do you like the idea of making empowered changes to your modes of communication, your business goals, your self-image, and to your quality of life?
Lori Kirstein, CEO
The Goodbye Good Girl™ Project LLC
Kicking the Good Girl Rules to the Curb!
Cincinnati, OH 45205