Mainstreet Women: Great at Speaking for Others, Now How About Us?

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Janine in CT said it so well, as girls we aren’t taught to speak for ourselves. This can hurt us. It definitely has negative consequences for our pocketbooks and by extension, our families, our communities, and our country’s economy.

Billionaire Warren Buffett, the “Sage of Omaha,” has predicted that women will save the American economy. In an interview with philanthropist Melinda Gates, who was guest editor on BBC Radio 4’s Today in December, Buffett said affording women the same prospects to succeed as men was key to a bright economic future. “[It is] one of the things that make me so optimistic about the future,” he said.

I speak up when others can notWHAT WE ALREADY KNOW HOW TO DO:  SPEAK FOR OTHERS

Everyday Mainstreet Women, we phenomenally diverse non-Kardasians, are often terrifically adept at speaking out and standing up for others:

I’m pretty outspoken, from the time I was a kid I stepped in and protected others or stopped bullying. (Beth, MS)

I’ve always been for the underdogs but at the same time have the ‘please disease.’ I’m able to stand up for others but not always for myself. (Mary, MD)

My name Brenda means challenger. I always stand for the little guy, the underdog. I don’t like bullies, which is why I’m always in trouble! (Brenda, IL)

Nine times out of ten I get in trouble for speaking up. I’ve learned that speaking out comes with a cost. You lose a lot of battles. But I’m not afraid, despite the outcomes. (Alyson, WI)

And, many Mainstreet Women told me that as they matured, speaking out gets easier:

I feel now that if you honestly believe in something, you deserve to be heard. (Cindy, NJ)

I’m better now, I don’t let the moment pass. It is easier now that I’m grown up, mature, it is easier for me to speak out in the moment. (Lisa, PA)

I should have spoken up at work. I think now, you dummy…I was raised to do your job, you show up, and sometimes you have to stuff it. I’ve learned to be better in relationships and in speaking up, I’m not perfect but I’m better. (Karri, WA)   

The older I get, the less crap I put up with. (Marybeth, MI)

To fully lean into Buffett’s optimism, we need more than the same prospects, we need to speak out and stand up for ourselves. Without intentionally learning how to do this we’re in danger of (or already are) unleashing our brilliance, our hard work toward fueling the economy but not our own fiscal well-being. We also need to learn how to speak for ourselves so that we can role-model this for girls and other women.

I’M WITH YOU, MAINSTREET WOMENSpeak Up

All your voices about speaking for others ring like I’m standing in the church steeple, pulling on the bell rope and deafening myself. Raised in Nebraska, I’ve got a bit of Mary’s Midwestern “please disease.” And, I’m a middle child – double whammy! I’ve almost always found it easier to speak out and stand up for others. That’s the reason I went to law school, to learn how to get really skilled at advocating for others. In fact, I now coach and advise others on how to speak out while not-so-secretly realizing I still have plenty of work to do on me.

In the past, there have been many times that I didn’t negotiate aggressively on my own behalf, later learning that less qualified men with less responsibility were making more money. Ouch. Even now, I sometimes have to breathe deeply and jump over my ‘natural’ instincts to ask for my full consulting fees that I fully deserve and am worth.

PLUGGEDY PLUG PLUG:  MAINSTREET WOMAN DANA’S FREE WEBINAR

On January 25th, one of our Mainstreet Sisters Dana Theus is hosting a free webinar focused on teaching women how to ask for what we really want. Dana invited a former Fortune 500 executive and leadership coach, Henna Inam, to share strategies for asking or what you want.

Henna Inam CEO Transformational Leadership Inc.Henna Inam, CEO – Transformational Leadership, Inc. will share a 5-step model for asking for what you really want — in any situation. Click here for more information and to register: https://eh109.infusionsoft.com/app/page/ask-powerfully

I don’t usually plug anything or anyone in my blog so let me be clear – I’m sharing this because many of us need it, it might just trigger new thinking and new ways of speaking for ourselves — it is FREE. Also, in our busy, busy Main Street lives, Dana’s approach is fantastic because you can participate at 12 noon EST on the 25th or, register and listen to the recording later.

REFLECTIONS

Since we’re not taught as girls how to speak out and stand up for ourselves, how would your life be different if you spoke out and stood up more for YOU?

I’d never, ever advocate for us to stop speaking out for others – this is a beautiful gift and in the deepest part of my gut and heart, I know that by speaking for others, we make the world a better place. But as Jada, a Mainstreet Woman in Oregon recently reminded me:  lifelong learning is really what makes life worth living.

Like Jada, all of you Mainstreet Women have taught me so much and are continuing to teach me. I realize this every time I sit down to make progress on the book that shares your stories, and as I write this blog that lets you know what the other women across America told me.

I’ve registered for Dana’s webinar to learn more, grow more. If speaking out and standing up for yourself is something you’d like to learn and practice more, join me!

My very best, Jone

Speak Your Mind

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