I have a good friend named Dr. Valencia Walker. She has always seemed wise beyond her years, and I am ever so grateful to have her in my circle. Each week she does a wonderful blog called "Think About Thursdays". This week's was too good not to share. I'm still working on this one, too.
If you gon’ ask, ask with confidence. Okay, I normally try to write in a manner that leaves no doubt of my grasp for standard written English. Then, there are those times when I just want to write it the way I thought it. This is one of those times.
I almost feel bad for putting this young lady on blast. Notice I said “almost” so it clearly intends to happen anyway. For whatever reason, this week was not the week to be “wishy-washy” with me. *shrugs* I spend a considerable amount of time mentoring people younger than me. I find joy and purpose in the time I spend encouraging others to discover the wonderful contribution the world is waiting on them to make. More than anything, I firmly believe in “paying it forward” for all the inspiring teachers and role models God placed in my life to help me stay on track.
But, I recently received this message:
“Hi, I wanted to get some information about the … mentoring program. I am a grad student ... Hopefully next year I will enroll ... Anyway, I just wanted to know if there were any requirements to participate in this organization sorry to bother you...”
For the life of me, I could not figure out why she added an apology at the end of her message. I posted a specific request for people to contact me if they were interested in receiving mentoring. She followed directions. Why then did she end by apologizing (for doing the right thing)? *confused face* As women, we are practically pathological in our ability to sabotage ourselves with self-disparaging words. Notice I said, “We.” Oh, I am still a major work in progress in this area too. However, nothing drives home the point on the need to improve like seeing the behavior from the other side of the power dynamic. While I still plan to help her, my first impression was that this was someone who lacked confidence and conviction (which will not take you anywhere in my profession).
Now, think about how you talk about yourself to other people, especially your supervisors. As they say at church, “The tongue has the power of life and death…” So, are you living or dying by your words? Here are a few recommended books if you are interested in learning more about the power to communicate effectively in this area:
1. Code Switching: How to Talk So Men Will Listen (Brown and Nelson)
2. A Woman's Guide to the Language of Success: Communicating With Confidence and Power (Mindell)
3. Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers (Frankey)
---By Valencia Walker, MD
My Side of the Single Life is by book author Jae Henderson. Her books, Someday and Someday, Too are now available on Kindle and Nook. Visit her at, www.jaehendersonauthor.com and www.imagoodwoman.com.www.imagoodwoman.com and check out my books Someday and Someday, Too while you're there.