Don’t be afraid to say what you are thinking
I posted earlier about reading Real Simple magazine and getting some great ideas and inspiration. One particular expert was especially meaningful for me–so much so that I wanted to give it a post of its own! This is a section from their new book The Real Simple Guide to Real Life: Adulthood made easy. This is a quote from Madeleine Albright–the first female Secretary of State in the U.S.
Early in my career, I went to numerous meetings where I was the only woman present. I would want to contribute to the conversation but would think, If I say that, everybody will think it’s really stupid. And then a man would say exactly what I had in mind, and the other participants would find it brilliant. I learned that you shouldn’t wait to speak. I started listening actively, knowing that I was going to comment on something and having it in my mind that I would interrupt at the right moment.
Oh how I can relate! I’ve mentioned before that I am painfully shy and introverted, and I freeze up in groups even though I can speak just fine in one-on-one conversations. I have had what Albright mentions happen to me hundreds of times! For me, it’s not necessarily about men and women, but about me being afraid to give my ideas in general. It was worst when I was in college and I knew that many professors included class participation as part of my grade. I knew I wanted a good grade, so I had to fight my inner fear and try to speak up more. A lot of times, I would think of something, but decide it was too simple or obvious, so I’d skip over it. Then someone else would say it and the class would think they were really smart. Uggh! Other times, I’d be so afraid to jump in, that I’d miss my chance.
While most people were just having a conversation, for me it was a nerve-wracking nightmare! It makes me feel better to know that a powerful politician has had the same feelings, and it inspires me to take her advice and speak up more.