Using Your Voice: Tool or Weapon

Women's Day

 

As we spring forward into a new season, March is also the month we take time to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD).

 

“Have you ever wondered which hurts the most, saying something and wishing you had not, or saying nothing and wishing you had.”

The Right

Self-empowerment includes springing forward and taking steps to speak up on your own behalf. It can be uncomfortable and even frightening at times. I know, your heart can start to beat fast before you can get the first word out. You search for the three “rights”, the right Words, the right Time, and the right Place. In the moment, may not always be the right time or place, however, it could be your empowering moment. The point is that you have a right to respond or not.

 

wrecking-ball-

You don’t have to use the wrecking ball approach to break your wall of silence if you decide to respond. The wrecking ball symbolizes a hard approach, where you behave in an abrasive, “tell it like it is, in-your-face”, attacking way. It can do serious damage to your relationships and your professional reputation. Finding your voice and speaking up for yourself in an effective and respectful way is a talent you can develop as you build your self-empowerment muscles.

 

“The greatest talent one can have is learning when to speak and when to not.”
― Bryant A. Loney

 

TPC Dynamics

Management consultant, Noel Tichy’s TPC Conceptual Framework can be a useful tool. The framework suggests there are three major dynamics to consider before you make the move to spring forward and make the decision to speak up.  Each dynamic raises questions about the situation:

Technical Dynamic:  Can I do this? Do I have the skills and ability to speak up for myself in a respectful way?

Power Dynamic:  What is the power structure of the relationship? Who am I dealing with? Whose power is being challenged? What do I have to lose or gain by speaking up at this time and place?

Cultural Dynamic: In this type of situation and at this place, what is seen as acceptable behavior?  What values and traditions are you challenging by speaking up? Is expressing yourself valued? Are you in a “safe to say” working environment? Traditionally, has it been okay for some individuals but not others to confront offensive comments directed at them?

You may be shy, you want to avoid conflict, or may not know the words to say, but sometimes staying silent can be more damaging than speaking up. Whether it’s to stick up for yourself or intervene when you see wrong doing, have the courage to say what needs to be said.   It could be when your coworker, manager, parent, spouse, sibling or a peer has made a demeaning comment to you or about someone else. In the past, you felt you should have said something, but, for various reasons you didn’t.

When you are an authentic, self-empowered woman with integrity, your goal is to keep the relationship on a positive level, while being true to yourself and your feelings. This takes  a gathering your thoughts.

Your opinion has value and you have every right and sometimes an obligation to express it. Whether you are angry or calm, the challenge is responding with respect when you don’t feel respected by the person or environment you find yourself in.

OUCH Technique

Author, Leslie C. Aguilar recommends use of an Ouch technique when responding to demeaning comments. My adaption of the OUCH technique can be beneficial in confronting challenging situations. Ouch indicates to the other person, their words had a negative and sometimes hurtful impact on you. With this technique, you model the respect you would like to receive by speaking up in a positive way. After all, you might unintentionally step on someone’s toes someday and would like the same courteous behavior shown to you.

Here is how it works…..

O – Recognize the OPPORTUNITY you have to speak up. Say “Ouch!”, then explain why you said it and the impact the comment had on you. Acknowledge that the person(s) may not have intended to offend you.

U – Seek to UNDERSTAND the rationale behind the comment while maintaining a positive good faith effort without blaming or attacking the other person(s).

C – CLARIFY by asking open-ended questions.

H – HARNESS the areas where there is agreement, lessons learned from the interaction and how you can address these situations in the future.

This technique is a way to remain self-empowered, express yourself, and maintain the self-esteem of others involved. You can use it with an individual, with-in a group, at work or at home. Use the TPC Framework to determine the dynamics of the situation, the time and place to speak up. If the timing isn’t right, you can find a more appropriate time to address something that was said earlier.

Using your voice can be self-empowering, give it a try.

 

“It’s not about finding your voice, it’s about giving yourself permission to use your voice.”__ Kris Carr 

 

“Stay Tapped In to the wonderful things life has to offer.”

Dr. Myra

 

A Dynamic and engaging speaker, Dr. Myra Hubbard is available for Presentations, Conferences, Retreats, Training, and Consulting engagements. She can be reached at myrahub@aol.com or 707-481-2268.

 

Making Your Birthday a Self-Empowering Experience

Happy Birthday

Each month we’re celebrating someone’s birthday, if it is your birthday this month, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! If it isn’t, your month will be here before you know it.

“Your birthday is the beginning of your own personal new year. Your first birthday was a beginning, and each new birthday is a chance to begin again, to start over, to take a new grip on life.” __ Wilfred Peterson

I believe birthdays are special and are to be acknowledged and celebrated.  They don’t have to be about expensive dinners, exotic trips or elaborate gifts. No matter what birthday you are celebrating, whether you are in your teens, turning 21, hitting 30, approaching 50, getting sassy in your 70’s, reaching 80’s, 90’s and beyond, consider this…….there are people that never made it to your age. You have friends and/or relatives that never celebrated the birthday you get to celebrate.  My good friend, Dessie, never made it. My cousins, Debbie, Diane, Rita, Irene, and Clarence never made it to my age.  Wow, how sobering.  I mention this not to make you sad, but, to encourage you to reflect on your gift of life.

“Don’t just count your years, make your years count.” __ George Meredith

Each birthday is a blessing and awesome gift in itself. The older I get the longer my husband and I celebrate. We use to celebrate the day, then a weekend, advanced to a week, and we have reached the point where we now celebrate an entire birthday month.  I love it! How is that for acknowledging our gift of life?

You are probably asking, “What do you do to celebrate for an entire month?” It takes imagination and frequently telling the person, Happy Birthday during the month. This year, we enjoyed a great birthday month for my husband.  The month started with a surprise jazz weekend get-a-way, our friends met us at the event and shocked him with his favorite cake topped off with glowing candles for him to blow out. We had multiple dinner dates with friends at surprise locations. Each time we went out to eat during his birthday month, the restaurant staff sang Happy Birthday. The Italian restaurant sang in Italian and the Mexican restaurant sang in Spanish. The bonus was a yummy dessert with a candle.

Birthdays can be an empowering experience. By taking the path of self-empowered birthdays, we can push back against the loss of purpose that too often comes as our years advance.

What Are Self-Empowered Birthdays?

A Self-empowered birthday means taking control of one’s life, learning, updating and improving skills, taking risks, building confidence, assuming power over personal circumstances, and developing the resilience to overcome inevitable challenges to come. Self-empowered birthdays improve your odds to accomplish life goals that others may discount, and to enjoy self-esteem and satisfaction that others may lack.

“It is only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it were the only one we had.” __Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

The positive self-perception of birthdays that can flow from self-empowerment may actually save lives. An article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reported that individuals with more positive self-perceptions of aging outlived those with less positive self-perceptions of aging by seven and a half years.

There are many roads to self-empowerment, depending upon an individual’s personal goals, beliefs, and values. Here are just a few……LIVE

Live a Life of Learning

Lifelong learning should be a personal commitment for us all. Whether learning takes place in a classroom or online, it stimulates, engages, and empowers. It increases knowledge and refreshes skills. Education enhances confidence. It presents new challenges and goals. It provides an information base and a new relationship network from which to advance a current career, pursue a new career, or begin an entrepreneurial venture.

Live Your Dream, Take More Risks

Make your dreams a reality. Start your own business, go back to school or seek a new career, etc. Entrepreneurship may not be for everyone, but increased experience, perspective, and problem-solving skills that comes with each birthday enhances your chances of success.

Live a Life with Flexibility

The person with the most flexibility will have more choices in life. Having a choice is better than no choice and more choices are certainly better than less choices. Similarly, if what you are doing is not working, you need to do something else. This highlights the need to change your behavior and do something else, again and again if need be, until your desired outcome is achieved.

Live a Life with Humor

With the confidence that comes from self-empowerment and the experience to know that all paths in life have twists and turns, we all need to take the opportunities presented by birthdays seriously. At the same time, we must try to maintain perspective and a sense of humor, even in the face of frustration and fear.

Appreciate that longer lives are a great gift. Past generations would be awestruck by the extent of our longevity and the possibilities. Embrace with gratitude the experience each birthday brings and the challenge of taking on each through self-empowerment.

“Life isn’t about your age. Life is about living. So when your birthday comes be thankful for the year that has just past and anticipate with a happy heart what the coming year will bring.” __Catherine Pulsifer

A Dynamic and engaging speaker, Dr. Myra Hubbard is available for Presentations, Conferences, Retreats, Training, and Consulting engagements. She can be reached at myrahub@aol.com or 707-481-2268.

 

 

Tenacity: Hang in There, Never Give Up!

Keep-Going

Have you been told, “hang in there”, “never give up”, “stick to it”, or “keep on going”?  When you are struggling, people may say these well-meaning words of encouragement.  Most people will tell you that tenacity is a great quality to have, especially if you’re trying something new and challenging that takes a while to complete.

Odds are, the people you admire have shown real tenacity in achieving their goals. Anything really worth doing takes persistence, perseverance, and stubborn determination. Being an accomplished writer requires real gifts, no doubt, but even the most gifted writer won’t make it to the best seller list without the tenacity required to make the long, hard journey from struggling to write the first few sentences, paragraphs, pages, chapters and progressing to writing entire books.

Tenacity is the quality displayed by someone who just won’t quit — who keeps trying until they reach their goal. Tenacity is more important than the degree of talent you have. You can learn anything, accomplish anything, if you’re tenacious enough, if you’re willing to hang in there long enough, willing to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes.

Are you? If not, let me tell you about a woman by the name of Ida Keeling, perhaps she will inspire you as she has me. Ida Keeling was having a difficult time dealing with major losses in her life. Her husband passed away some years ago and both of her sons died tragically. She felt the pain of losing her sons was just too much to bear. Her daughter, Cheryl was worried about her, the smile had left Ida’s face and the light inside of her seemed to have gone off.

Cheryl owned a fitness business and often ran in races. She decided to ask her mother to attend a cross-country race with her held in Brooklyn, New York, not as a spectator but to actually run 3.1 miles.  Reluctantly, Ida, finally agreed.  I need to tell you that at this time Ida was 67 years old running in her very first race. Does this sound impressive?  It gets better.

Ida is 103 years old, born May 15, 1915! Yes, and she now holds Masters records in 60 meter and 100 meter distances for women in the 95-99 and 100-plus age groups.   Ida set the fastest known time by a 99-year-old woman for the 100 -meter dash at 59.80.

On April 30, 2016, Ida became the first woman in history to complete a 100-meter run at the age of 100. Her time of 1:17.33, was the best ever recorded in the 100-meter dash for any female age 100 or older.

On July 17, 2018, Ida appeared on TV and received an honorary Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award. The ESPY honors the top athletes every year, and now 103-year-old Ida Keeling is one of them.

Tenacity is about a mindset and approach to maintaining the momentum needed to accomplish what you want in life and then the cycle continues, completing one race at a time and continuing to practice skill building on a continuous basis, like Ida.

“Stay Tapped In to the wonderful things life has to offer.”

Dr. Myra