How were you like when you first joined the workforce, many moons ago?
16 years ago when I joined the workforce, I was shy and timid. I was always the quiet one at the meeting table. I didn’t know when to speak. Neither did I want to be seen as rude to interrupt others.
Unconsciously and unfortunately, my colleagues thought of me not speaking in meetings as my default presence.
One time, there was an important cross-department meeting. Before people from the other department came into the meeting, a male colleague from my department turned to me, “Cynthia, can you let us talk later in the meeting?”
“What?! Who the f*** do you think you are?!”
I wish I had said that to his face. I didn’t. I hadn’t even learned the “f” word in English yet at that time. I was young and innocent. LOL.
I was furious but all I said was “fine”, a different “f” word.
At that moment, I told myself, “I will NEVER let anyone tell me to keep my mouth shut.”
I dedicated my time, energy and money to learn from different teachers, mentors and coaches to speak up to be heard, to be assertive, to stand up for myself, to … almost all self-development programs that you can think of.
2 years after that incident, I was co-chairing a wedding with another friend. I was surprised to notice my friend was seeking out suggestions from me on the event flow, the word choice, and the arrangement. I was surprised to realize that others in the organizing committee started to take what I said seriously and started to listen to me. I was heard, loud and clear.
It was just a wedding. Not mine, unfortunately. But that’s not the point.
What struck me was the subtle changes in me and the way others saw me, even in a social setting.
Since then, I was able to speak up in any settings to be heard and be taken seriously. I started to enjoy speaking up and started to take the lead.
Have you had anyone in your life who shuts you up? Have you been struggling with speaking up to be heard? Have you been defaulted to be the quiet one?
I invite you to join me in a FREE Webinar: Develop Your Powerful Voice to Be Heard 2.0, where you’ll learn some of the golden nuggets from my years of learning and teaching that have transformed not only myself but also many clients from a silent participant to a sprightly contributor.
The webinar is on 25th Aug (or 24th Aug in your time zone).