As hundreds of people were arrested protesting the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, a man who has been accused of sexual assault, it got me thinking about rights, equality and braveness. With sexism, trust and the disparage of women firmly under the spotlight this year, it's certainly changed my mood. Despite whether you agree or disagree, I'm sure you'll have some thoughts on it.
Within the message what stood out for me most was female authority. Not just in this context though, I'm talking authority in life as a woman and our authority generally. From the work place to the street and everywhere in between.
Right now people are no longer afraid of speaking up and for my friends and I, female empowerment is definitely more of a 'thing'. Most girls I know are challenging the norm and now that I have a daughter of my own, being authoritative and assertive as a woman has never been more important. Here's what I bear in mind when reminding myself that being a strong, confident and authoritative woman doesn't take much.
Stop worrying about being liked
When I was in my young twenties, I didn't care about what people thought of me. I moved to London at 22 and was truly at my most confident. Yes I knew it was a busy city, I knew there were millions of people here and I knew that everyone was different. I loved to date every Friday and Saturday night and I was never nervous. I just enjoyed meeting new people. In life we each have different likes and dislikes. As individuals, we care for some things more than others. In a world where humans co-exist, it's impossible to please everyone.
As I got older, people's perceptions of me started to affect me. In some environments (flat shares, relationships, work places) I began to over think things. But all it did was chip away at my self confidence, offering no positives whatsoever. It took a big knock for me to pause and reassess what was going on and now I care less about what people think of me and more about my actions and choices instead. I'll never be everyone's cup of tea but I will be someone's best friend.
Get off the defensive
If I make a statement and apologise immediately or get on the defensive the second I'm challenged, it makes me less of a confident person. The other person will totally lose respect for me and it's obvious. I kick myself whenever I do it.
Stopping with the defensive attitude was one of the best things I learned at 25. By choosing to be more open minded and admit that perhaps there could be a better solution has allowed me to be stronger and more self assured. Although my role these days is more creative and flexible, there were times before at work where I'd need to be sure of a decision or an idea that would work. If I were given negative feedback, it was crucial to take it as constructive criticism. It allowed me to better myself in my career.
Control your internal narrative
Being authoritative comes from within. So when I'm thinking about something, it's important that I'm decisive, clear and precise in coming to my end result. When we're thinking, if it's messy, unsure and confusing then ultimately our communication will be so. The more assertive I am in something I'm thinking about, the more sure and confident I am in my expression. Recently I learned that the more negative thoughts I have, the harder I am on myself. In turn, that comes out as unconfident and unsure. Not attributes of someone with authority. So when I think clearly with no noise, positively and with assurance, I'm more authoritative and clear in what I want to achieve.
Control your external narrative
Which leads me on nicely to that that we say out loud. As you guys know I recently set up my YouTube channel. When it came to editing, watching back what I filmed was really cringeworthy. Ok, not just because I hate myself on camera (who doesn't) but more because I realised how much I say 'urm' and 'like'. Watching recordings of myself has really helped me to improve my tone of voice and be more aware of my conversation. Thankfully I get to cut out those 'umms' but in real time it's made me more conscious of speaking clearly and with authority.