I was passionately explaining to my boss the virtue of my grand idea and my frustration with the executive team for not “getting it.” He took my hand, patted it and said, “Dear, you can quit fighting now. You’ve made it.”
I pulled my hand away from him and gasped. His truth had taken my breath away.
He added, “I know fighting helped you get where you are today. And now it’s time you learn how to truly connect with and persuade the top guys to understand your passion and to see your point of view.”
The “pit bull” approach (credited to Governor Palin) mirrors the behaviors many high-achieving women take to get noticed, to right the wrongs they see, and to earn their chance to gain higher titles and promotions.
Yet, as Lynne Healy said in her comment to my last post, “women of strength” do it differently.
This is one of the greatest challenges for high-achieving women—to know when to stop fighting. This doesn’t mean they should back down. It means they know when to present what they believe as an intelligent and authentic speaker in a way that others will hear, understand and hopefully, align with their thinking.
Women are drawing their lines in the sand. This is all the more reason that those who stand out should be seen as models of reason, compassion and of course, good humor. It is not time to be dubbed cock fighters (yes, I meant the double entendre).
The opposite of weak is not brutish. The opposite of having no balls is visible integrity in action and deeds and a vision of the future that is so clear and inviting that all people will be eager to follow.
Did my boss have to pat my hand and call me “dear”? He got my attention and angered me enough to change my ways. I thank him for that.