I overheard my husband and son talking about Sunday’s upcoming Super Bowl game and their friendly banter about who was going to win and which team was better, etc. I started thinking about competition and sportsmanship and the difference between the way men and women compete. I specifically remember playing tennis with USTA years ago. I played singles and doubles and couldn’t help noticing that when women played, they apologized every time they knocked the ball out of bounds.
Men did not.
Eighteen years ago, I landed my first “real job” at an advertising agency. The company relocated me from Los Angeles to Bethesda, MD and I was over the moon. As I was settling into my new position as a Creative Assistant and working hard to leave a great impression, I received an unexpected call one day from one of the department heads.
“Jennifer, I called you earlier today and noticed that you said: I’m sorry, I’m not here right now…”
“Don’t apologize," she said. "There is no need. Women have a bad habit of over apologizing. Simply say, I’m unavailable right now, please leave a message.”
I had forgotten that conversation until just now.
Leadership is a funny thing because by nature, we all want to be liked. We want to make it easy for people to approach us. We want to make them feel comfortable.
That's all well and good but when you are building a leadership brand it isn’t about winning a popularity contest. It’s about being taken seriously. You will not if you lead with…I’m sorry.
Ever hear of Steven Pressfield? If you haven’t, I want you to promise to Google him the moment you finish reading this blog. He is an incredible writer that has written a few life changing books, including Do the Work, which is a manifesto that shows you how to fight resistance.
It’s a must read if you are looking to get to the next level because it focuses on our day-to-day impediments, which is something that we all experience routinely.
Take me for instance:
This morning, I wanted to get up at 5am so I could start training for an upcoming 10K I’ve committed to doing a few months from now. I did not because I stayed up too late watching television. So, I laid in bed another hour and a half.
This month, I wanted to finish a chapter in my book, but I did not. I put it on the back burner because I felt as though my plate was too full with other things.
This year, I wanted to start a weekly yoga class, but so far, I have not…honestly, not too sure why?
Get the picture? There are things that we continuously want to do but find we talk ourselves out of them. We resist them!
Steven believes resistance is what separates the pros from the amateurs. Pros do what they have to do regardless of how they feel, external conditions, or anything else that could possibly derail them. They simply, do the work.
As you can see, there are several areas of my life where I am clearly an amateur…but I’m working on it....what about you?