Today I received an email from a dear friend that was uncomfortable to read.
The gist of it was that she suggested my name for a board position, and when she did, she was not met with enthusiasm by some of the other board members.
“There’s a woman who used to be active in the group who does not like me,” I shared with her, “and she likely made some disparaging remarks about me (in the vein of, ‘Alexia is attention-seeking’). That is, likely, what sullied my reputation with the other women – none of whom I’ve met or who have attended one of my presentations or trainings.”
If you’ve been in my world for a while or read as much as one page of Step into Your Moxie, you know that for most of my life I’ve experienced an on-again, off-again relationship to my own voice.
One moment I would feel like I was tap dancing on eggshells as I strived to be liked, give “the right answers,” and not be called out for failing to be enough of whomever I thought other people wanted me to be.
But, at other times, all too often in very close succession to those former times, I did enjoy going after visibility. (As a child, running for class office or starting a club. And as an adult, going after speaking, media and thought leadership opportunities.)
I know that I have good ideas and amazeballs coaching skills that can make people’s lives, businesses and careers better.
And I understand that visibility allows me to make more impact than when I allow myself to stay comfortable and be a best-kept secret.
(And trust me, staying in my glasses, pajamas, and throwing my unwashed hair up into a bun – super comfortable for me!)
So, every day, I get my tush up. I show up.
I go after high profile opportunities – constantly. Keynotes. Media segments. Podcast interviews. And show other coaches, consultants, experts, business leaders, and thought leaders how to do the same.
And, with my visibility, unfortunately, comes heaps of judgment.
Often from women.
Is she motivated by ego or service?
Why does she need to email and be in my newsfeed so bloody much?
Why is it such an investment to work with her?
What I now know is that when I’m judged for unapologetically going after what I want for myself and for my business, and for strategically using visibility opportunities to allow me to speak to and serve a larger audience, when I’m judged, it’s usually from other people (again, unfortunately, usually women) who are comparing themselves to me.
Who are exactly where I was a few years back.
Knowing this makes it easier to unhook from their perceptions of me and stay focused on my own compassionate self-narrative of myself and the work I was put here to do.
My hope for you is that when you step into your moxie – be it on stages (live or virtual) or in important professional or personal conversations, and take up more space with your ideas, you remember that other people’s opinions of you will get louder.
In these moments, please ask yourself: How can I use the feedback I’m receiving to amplify the compassionate and persuasive use of my voice in the world?
And, if and when you find yourself triggered by another, (particularly a woman), please resist the temptation to compare yourself to her – particularly if you are earlier in your career/business.
Let her success embolden you!And, for my ladies who are reading, as I say in Step into Your Moxie, “when we see other women busting big moves in the world, we need to help our sistas out – promote their work, fund their work, celebrate their achievements. We need to tell ourselves, and truly believe, If she can do it, so can I! And if we do find from time to time that all the seats at the table are taken, or that we don’t like the culture of the table we’re sitting at, then we can go sit at a new one – and invite other women (and men) whose values align with ours to join us at it.”