Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Posts tagged ‘Self-limiting beliefs’

Embracing Our Inner Bitch

You Can’t Make Everyone Happy

Sometimes, there’s no other choice but to stand our ground and not worry about what others think. After all, if we’re so busy pleasing everyone else, we’re neglecting the most important person in our own lives.

Recently, I had a conversation with a young woman about being called “bitch” both to my face and behind my back. She said for her, it was usually behind her back (which smacks of cowardice on the part of the name flingers, if you ask me). I said a had a few decades on her and a lot more practice at being firm, and even unpleasant if need be, so there were plenty who’d used the term to my face over the years, with less than the desired results.

Doing What’s Right

The funny thing is, most who use it intend it as an insult, but to me, it usually means I haven’t given them what they wanted, and above all, I have not been someone’s doormat. To me, being called a bitch affirms I’m not afraid to stand up for myself, my family, and my friends regardless of what others think.

Are there times I regret being forceful and immovable? Sure. Every once in awhile I discover I was in the wrong, and, if possible, do my best to apologize and own up to my mistake. Still, sometimes the best fix is to simply walk away. Engaging further when someone is already angry is guaranteed to escalate the situation rather than soothe it, mainly because everything you say from that point on is going to be wrong. As humans, once we’re angry, we tend to close down the listening side of our brain, replacing it with the reactive part.

Bitch is Often Another Word for Strong

There are many misconceptions about women who aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves, or just say no. We are not militant or frigid (as has often been appended to the “b” word for me). We simply believe in our own right to choose, and to defend those close to us from bullies and those who believe they have the right to shove their opinions down the throats of others.

We don’t hate men. Often, quite the contrary. We have many in our close social circle and, in many cases, a warm loving relationship too. (OK, so I’ve yet to figure that one out, but as I’m not dead yet, there’s still hope. And even some of my non-Jewish friends seem to have inherited the yenta gene of late!) I personally have a great deal of respect for the men I’ve come to know and love. But that love and respect goes both ways too.

All through history, strong, forceful women have gotten a bad rap. In the Corporate world what would be called “assertive” in a man would be “aggressive” in a woman. A man with strong leadership skills is respected and revered. A woman is “pushy”, or a “control freak”, or even a “ball buster”. The sad part is, some of the loudest complainers aren’t men, but other women. I think most of it is their own insecurities and even jealousy speaking. When they can’t be strong and assertive themselves, they’ve learned playing the weakling and tearing other women down can work to their advantage with the big, strong, menfolk.

Increasing Strength in Our Younger Generation

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bagogames/17513112228/in/photolist-WfcVG3-sFzh7Q-7N47KL-bdHWBt-bdHsh8-bdJqxB-bdJqor-bdJq9F-bdGXdv-bdJ4UB-bdHajc-bdGXmk-bdJjLV-bdJjkB-6dHmj5-hXiifV-hXigTC-6dHn9w-6MEEFYI found myself at odds with women of my generation and even many younger than myself all too often while working for corporations both large and small. I haven’t worked as much with Millennials, but what I’ve seen socially is both inspiring and comforting. More and more of the young women I meet are strong, independent types who don’t allow people to push them around.

Many are entrepreneurs who are doing far better than I am at the moment, and from whom I’m learning a few new tricks. Their confidence and lack of concern over looking or acting perfect warms my heart, especially in light of all the reports of body shaming and other heinous acts meant to objectify and embarrass young women. The ones I know and see are happier in their skin than most of my generation learned to be. And they own it! Boy, do they own it!

What Others Think of Me Is None of My Business

The one thing we share is our amusement when someone sees fit to label us a bitch for being strong and self-assured. Many have already learned what took me decades:

What other people think of me is none of my business.

I actually had a former employee challenge me on this one time. In her opinion, I should care what others think of me. My question to her was Why? She didn’t have an answer which satisfied me, and frankly, I didn’t care. It was still someone else’s opinion, and was outside my own desire to understand.

Life is About Kindness and Compassion, Not Popularity

What truly matters isn’t what people think of us. It’s that we are kind and compassionate while https://www.flickr.com/photos/jkfjellestad/17408694382/in/photolist-swm7k9-5RUVz2-mJjTbx-5RZcQG-LaVetu-ehWSkL-mJjNaa-mJncXh-UQc1nx-mJkdTR-mJnhJS-UNopBe-TLtd22-UnTzSt-UKUNfQ-TvXc6r-UWzrjN-g9uykn-H7hkTY-27dmuiJ-dPKPg5-StARkr-H28Np7-TLyHW2-SasSyJ-ovj4Jg-TDQz2w-g9v3mc-H7rXSy-UWEf8E-qxwgcP-X7uFem-TyrPG7-g9uRij-g9vmqr-TLF3sZ-683YTJ-4DjRMh-5R69WX-eiwKNy-873BnY-787D4h-g9vKLK-UWGbnj-TytBPA-p92cJn-Ufcsfy-URnUfu-TrXPo4-UMmQvhstill upholding our values and beliefs. Because someone doesn’t agree with my values and beliefs doesn’t make them wrong. It simply makes my standards wrong for them, and that’s OK. I never asked anyone to live by mine, nor am I willing to turn myself inside out to fit theirs just so they’ll like me.

Life ain’t a popularity contest. I couldn’t care less if I’m part of the “in” crowd. To be honest, it’s a lot more fun being a rebel. What matters is I’ve found the people who love and respect me for who I am without pretenses. They know what to expect, not because I’m conforming, but because I’m honest, transparent, and vulnerable. The people I’m drawn to these days value those qualities far more than a bunch of cookie cutter friends who try to look, act, and think alike.

Making Myself a Priority

I stifled my own entrepreneurial spirit for decades, and only made myself miserable in the process. I was stressed out, angry, irritable, and cranky most of the time—except when I was on a dance floor.

It’s no coincidence I learned to drop the pretenses when my life included regular dancing and a lot of internal work to heal the old wounds and self-limiting beliefs. It’s also when I learned to live a full, complete life, and to embrace my inner bitch.

A Daily Practice of Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the example so many young women are setting today.
  2. I am grateful I learned to stop caring what others think of me.
  3. I am grateful to friends who’ve helped me own my honest, transparent, vulnerable self.
  4. I am grateful for my circle of friends which includes strong, straightforward women and men who appreciate us as we are.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; opportunities, inspiration, vulnerability, transparency, strength, self-confidence, love, joy, friendship, community, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Upgrading My Marketing Mindset

Marketing Makes Me Ill

I admit it. I’m a hater, at least when it comes to marketing for myself. The idea of trying to sell my own services is the stuff of nightmares. But as a solopreneur, I’m learning you simply have to suck it up and find a way to do it.

That’s not to say we have to sound like those annoying car salesmen who used to frequent the limited TV channels when I was a kid. We just have to learn to put ourselves out there and give people an opportunity to ask us about the services or products we offer.

As a writer, the most common of these is pitching. Unfortunately, my brain has twisted that word into a rather unappetizing pretzel as palatable as the afore-mentioned care salesman. Though I can’t get completely away from pitching, I have been able to soften the word so it doesn’t stick in my craw.

Proposing vs. Pitching

Lately, I’ve had the opportunity to write proposals and that’s where I start to hit my stride. I spent far too many hours working with a proposal team in my last job, and have taken much of what I learned in those hours to heart. There are plenty of do’s and even more don’ts about proposal writing. My favorite of all of them is the “so what?” approach to evaluating a proposal.

The “so what?” approach essentially looks at all you’re offering the client or customer from their standpoint. If you can’t show the benefits of something you’re offering, or demonstrate how it will make their life easier, they’ll likely read it and wonder why you even included it. Many things fall into this category including lengthy descriptions of your assets and attributes. Believe me, a potential client doesn’t give a horse’s patoot how many years you’ve been in business or how many awards you’ve won. They want to know what you can do for them. They want to feel comfortable handing over not only their hard-earned cash, but tasks they want done on time, within budget, and above all, done right.

Testimonials from previous customers are great, but in this day and age, they’ve probably already looked at your website and seen the testimonials.

The Key is in the Customization

Remember all those resumes and cover letters you’ve sent out over the years? And remember when you finally learned that sending generic ones would most likely get you passed over no matter how good your qualifications were? A decent proposal (or pitch or query or whatever word you choose to use) is much the same. Sure, I use a template. I suspect most freelancers do. We don’t have time to reinvent the wheel every time we propose a job. But you have to take the time to learn something about the client and their company.

Sometimes, they’re not very forthcoming about their business, so you have to read between the lines. Sometimes, you’ll get a little bit of information from your direct questions, but the real gold comes from doing a little research, and from conversations and emails. In short, from less formal communications.

Lately, I’ve found that asking an innocent question in the context of the conversation will yield gems you weren’t expecting, but which will give you insight into what the client is really trying to accomplish with the service or product you offer. (From here on out, I’m just going to talk about services since that’s what I do. Product marketing is an entirely different ballgame anyway).

Understanding the Do’s and Don’ts

In the last couple of months I’ve learned a few useful things about potential clients and proposals which are making me look at the whole process from a much less revolted point of view.

  • Rarely is the service you’re proposing your contact’s priority. They’ve been given the task of coordinating with potential candidates, but they have a lot of other responsibilities which are more important than what you’re proposing.
  • Patience is rewarded. Because of the first point, you may experience long lags between your responses and theirs. Get used to it. Check in once a week or so, but don’t be a pest. You’ll often learn where things stand priority-wise if you ask for a little time to respond to their latest request.
  • Always believe that no news is good news once you’re communicating with the potential client. I’ve sent out my share of queries which never even get opened, so I know what it feels like to send my best efforts into a black hole—every freelancer and solopreneur I know has files full of rejections by silence. So when you do get someone to respond, take it as a yes until such time as, god forbid, they tell you no.
  • (This one should probably have gone first, but this list is not in order of importance) Spend time on the company website getting to know who you want to be working with. This is where strong investigative skills come in handy. But you can certainly take note of the obvious things like pages on their site (for me, one of the first things I look for is evidence of a blog. If it exists, I look at how active it is, and when they last posted). From there, look for the services or products they offer, the people they serve, and the problems they solve.
  • Leave room in your proposal for services above and beyond what you’re proposing. Make sure you have a clause which covers you for “scope creep”. I see many freelance service providers complaining about clients who take advantage of them.  Putting the “scope creep” clause in the proposal and contract tells the client exactly what they’re signing up for and when additional work will require a new or modified contract.
  • Whether you’re dealing with the company President or someone 20 steps down the ladder, respect and consideration go a long way. Those gate keepers have the power to lock you out. Never lose sight of that. I’m reminded of the years I worked in Corporate America. Until computers rendered a lot of secretarial tasks obsolete, every director and upper-level manager had a secretary or admin and woe be to the person who got on that admin’s bad side. When all else fails, put yourself in their shoes. How would you want to be treated by someone whether you’re just recommending them or you’re the decision-maker?
Learning to Wait, Revise, and Rethink

Patience has never been my strong suit. I’ll be the first to admit it. But I’m gaining a newfound level of respect for a friend who is a commercial realtor. Many times, I’ve seen her comment on the latest iteration of a contract, often in double digits. As I propose and re-propose myself, I’m learning it’s just part of the process. People re-evaluate. When they see something in black and white, it makes them think about what they truly want. They’re not trying to be difficult. They simply want to be clear on how the problem they’re facing should be solved.

I’m also gaining an appreciation for marketing, and despite the many voices telling me it’s just a numbers game and I have to send out a million pitches, I believe we have to find what works for us. When I hear someone say they get sick to their stomach whenever they pitch, yet they spend a significant part of their day doing it, I have to ask Why would you want to do something that feels like a bad case of morning sickness? Be creative. Find something that works without the physical discomfort.

I’m one who gets physically ill just thinking about selling myself. But I’m also not willing to give up on myself, so I’m taking my own advice and looking for a better way. Part of that is talking to people who more about putting yourself out there to gain recognition and trust rather than playing the numbers game. I spent enough of my life playing with numbers. I’m learning I prefer words, hands down.

Gratitude Always Works

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I’m grateful there is more than one way to reach my goals.
  2. I’m grateful for the examples I see before me. Some, I’ll incorporate into my strategy, others I won’t. It doesn’t mean any of them are bad. Some are just a better fit for me.
  3. I’m grateful for dance nights, even when the DJ plays the same old boring dances instead of the many new ones we’ve learned. I get my exercise, my social engagement, and my hugs.
  4. I’m grateful for the upgrades I’ve made in my house in the last week or two. They’re neither expensive nor earth shaking. But they make me feel better, clearer, and more confident of my ability to attract the things I dream of.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, manifestations, inspiration, motivation, companionship, friendship, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

The Facebook Live associated with this post can be found here.

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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