2018 is the Year of the Woman and too many of us women are sitting on the sidelines. Our personal narratives of procrastination and perfection hold some of us back and now is the time to rewrite our narratives and to go beyond and take our place in the Year of the Women.
My grandmother affectionately called me “Ms. Prissy” for as long as I can remember, but what she intended for good left me with an omnipresence inner-critic who demanded perfection. Her government name is “Ms. Prissy Perfection”, and sometimes I affectionally call her “Ms. P.”
Anyway, Ms. Prissy knows all of my weaknesses and embarrassments in minute detail like when I walked out the bathroom at work and my backside of my skirt was stuck in my pantyhose and a male colleague pointed out the wardrobe malfunction. There was also that time last year when I fell flat on my face crossing the street and cracked my I-Phone. She records every inappropriate remarks, emotional outbursts, and the less than perfect mother-wife-daughter-leader things that I do and have done for the past 5 decades. Her trump card is reminding that when I fail I impact how all women of color are perceived. She has me convinced that I alone am responsible for the fate of an entire race of women. This is Scary “Shuggetts” and outright crummy! So, I hold back to save face. I hold back because the fear is real! It is paralyzing. I would think about writing, but I did not write. I would think about painting, but I did not paint. I procrastinated and waited for the perfect moment, and it did not come.
At some point, I put Ms. Prissy on pause. There was no presto magic but I began to peel back the layers and do a little bit of this and a little bit of that and found a tribe of women who were doing the same thing: testing the waters just beyond our existing comfort zones. And with each test, the unknown became a little less scary and even when it was scary there were encouraging voices saying just try it for a moment and if it was too frightening we could swim to shore. I knew they would not let me drown. We replaced our promises of “some day, maybe” with small, consistent actions, going beyond procrastination and perfection. I started to create a life I love and I found some Power Principles that keep me creating that life.
So today, when Ms. Prissy comes over for tea, I pull my Brag Book from the shelf. (Brag Books are not just for grandparents!) My Brag Book reminds me that I have a freaking Juris Doctor, the skills to advocate, and load of opposing compelling evidence to present and principles of my own to quiet her criticism. I blog, train, facilitate, lead. Unapologetically!
For the women who have sat on the sidelines for the past 238 days this year, note to self: women control over $7 trillion in household buying power. We don’t need to wait to get another degree, we don’t need anyone’s approval, and we don’t have to raise our hands. We can maximize Power Principles to challenge our inner-critics and go beyond procrastination and perfection.
Let’s try these Power Principles:
Paradox of Failure: We fail sometime. Failing is okay. Failures are great teachers and sometimes the lessons are just as valuable as our successes.
Partnership: Women can support women. Women recognize their greatness in other women because it is the greatness they carry within themselves. My list of partners is too long and keeps growing—they sow into and I sow into them and we blossom!
Persistence: Let’s replace procrastination with persistence. We don’t give up. We got the vote in 1920 and we continue to press forward.
Pledge: Commit to supporting yourself and other women and girls in their worthy causes, and celebrate the accomplishments of our Sisters and Daughters.
Power: Google and enter in the search bar “Women who are kicking butt in 2018!” These are our role models, living proof of what is possible. Let’s get our Propers and R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Practice: Instead of perfection or expertise, we will do what we can. Learn more and then do better. We will continue to be in action and take action. Hurray to Khyra Bolden and her primary victory for the state legislature in Michigan!
Presence: Just show up! We don’t know the outcomes but we know if we are not in the place we are need to be. We are forfeiting victories. We show up and we find our teachers and mentors waiting on us. We find out whatever we were afraid of is new but not as difficult or challenging as we imagined. Our brains are capable of creating new synapses.
Progeny: Our accomplishments affirm for our daughters that they too are capable of making a difference and they too contribute to making the world great.
Promotion: These are the clubs and connections that put women front and center stage. My go to’s: Women’s Life Chapters and the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs are doing it on a national level. The SheHive has earned a reputation with local Detroiters. Groups like Women With Wisdom and Courage are on FaceBook. We all need a group to call our own.
Pride: We are proud of who we are and what we accomplished. We should have a Brag Book show we can remind ourselves at pivotal time that we are outstanding. Visit: https://www.napsronline.org/pdfs/brag%20book.pdf to learn how to create a Brag Boom.
This is the year of the Woman and we refuse to be paralyzed procrastination and perfection. This year has been a long time in the making. We feel the fear and take one step forward, we feel the fear and then take another; and slowly the fear dissipates and it is replaced by excitement and cheers. Let’s go!
Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith’s “How Women Rise”
Jaclyn Mellone’s blog “The 5 Women All Female Entrepreneurs Need in Their Corner”
Aretha Franklin’s single “RESPECT”