18 October, 2011

DAY 18 - Speaking Up

The 24 Things Clearing Challenge 
encourages you to make room in your home, heart, and mind to create an inspired future

If there's one thing that really gets under my skin it's when someone talks down to people. I mean, there's just no need. And lately, I've found myself less and less tolerant of it - meaning more and more often, I've been speaking up.

I suppose there are a couple of places where I think it's not such a great idea to stick your nose into someone else's business: for example, the parent who says something to their child on the subway that makes my skin crawl. If you say something there, it will likely end up in a fight bigger than you'd intended. Telling other people how to parent is a very touchy subject.

But there are places when I feel it's very appropriate to speak up. And times when it's even my responsibility. Two recent examples come to mind from my work environment. I supervise "Matt" and he supervises "Susan"... who recently asked me to meet up with her after work one day so she could tell me all the reasons she doesn't enjoy working under "Matt". And her reasons were valid - one being that he told her (and I'm sure I'm paraphrasing here): "Your job is not to think, just do as you're told." I mean, WHAT?! Who says things like that? It even irks me when Don Draper says things like that. Needless to say, I've had a discussion with "Matt" about this matter and, sadly, I believe I'll have to have many more.

The second face-off was in a recent meeting, called by "Lee", where she proceeded to steamroll everyone else sitting around the table and top it all off with a great display of superior non-listening skills. Although it wasn't really my meeting - I was there merely to facilitate the space for the project that was being discussed - there came a moment when I just couldn't take it anymore. The entire meeting, "Lee" was talking down to "Jane" - easily 20 years her junior. So I spoke up. And I told "Lee" how I felt. And I chose my words carefully. And she was upset by them. And although we ended our meeting with a truce, and I have been able to move on and will still be able to comfortably work with her again in the future... "Lee" has chosen to ignore me since then. And that's fine.

In my current job, I am often one of the younger (if not youngest) people among the group/project that I'm managing. And when I first started in my position, it was a bit bothersome to me that I supervised people who were older and more experienced than I was. I had to keep coming back to this one thing: I was hired for a reason. Someone believed in me, in my skill sets, in my leadership, and trusted me to be placed in this role. Four years later, I still have occasional doubts. And though I believe it's been happening slowly on its own, perhaps today I will put a name to it: I'm letting go of worrying whether everyone likes me or not. There will be people who don't like me. And there will be things I say - be they from love or constructive criticism or simply because of something I won't tolerate - that will make some people not like me. And so long as I choose my words carefully and let my Better Self be my guide, I will have to be okay with that.

The results of today's letting go: more freedom from that inner doubting voice; hopefully more confidence in the knowledge of my role at work - and as a member of society.

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