You walk into work on the day of a huge meeting, you put on your best pumps and that cute ass top you bought that makes you look like you own the place.
Yet you walk into the room, and once you begin to speak you don’t get nearly as many head nods and silent approvals as the “cocky” associate next to you. We all know how this goes, but not a lot of us take the time to understand why.
Let’s get this out of the way- using words like “just” and “sorry” is a huge form of self-doubt when used in any setting, especially for women.
After spending four years in a male-dominated major, I moved on to work in the same type of environment. So what does that actually mean?
I’ve experienced scenarios like the one above and because of that, I spent a significant amount of time double checking my work, e-mails, and thinking twice about what I say- or worse- I’d undermine my original message and qualify my language for those that were going to hear it. If I bumped into someone, I’d say “sorry” instead of “excuse me.”
After reading books like Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (must read for all boss-women), and running through plenty TedTalks, I decided it was time to stop undermining my message.
So I brought these tiny efforts into work, less “I thinks” and more “I knows” in my statements. After a couple of days, I had less second-guessing from others and more so from myself.
I found that I believed more of my own statements rather than thinking of others’ reactions. Softening your language can be useful, but I felt better when my words were definitive.
I even translated it into e-mails with the “Just Not Sorry” plugin on Google Chrome which underlines these negative messages, functioning as a proofreading tool.
There is some skepticism on using this plugin because some say it “keeps us in a man’s world” but I find it can be super helpful when those red underlines show up.
The way you speak of your past, present, and future endeavors are a part of your brand and really show how much you value yourself.
Screw what everyone else thinks, we’re a part of such a strong generation of people and sometimes making others uncomfortable with your confidence and honesty can be constructive for all parties involved.
These mistakes are so subtle that I didn’t even know I was making them because the truth is, I don’t “think” I have a plan, I absolutely do and I’m not “just” saying this, I’m saying it so you can listen. I believe in my own words and their purpose, this is why I’m Just Not Sorry.