Are you tough enough? Am I?


I attended an excellent conference last week from the Professional BusinessWomen of California.  As with all good conferences, I found myself both challenged and inspired across personal and professional dimensions. 

My moment of introspection, was around the concept that it is often the simple things that hold us back

I found myself wondering if I am really as tough as I think I am.   Tough enough to succeed? 

Not just tough enough to hold up under a lot of stress, or tough enough to meet the demands of the role, against the odds.  Sure, against that yardstick, sometimes I win and sometimes I lose but, in general, I pick myself up and try again when that becomes necessary.   

At this conference, I was presented with two questions that I had to stop and think before I answered (never a good sign frankly).

  1. Am I tough enough to ask for what I want?  Am I brave enough to put what I need out there clearly and directly?  Of course, in asking, I have to be willing to be told no.  But without ever asking isn’t the answer also no?  Seems that we are often bad at math when it comes to this idea doesn’t it?
  2. Am I tough enough to receive a compliment?  Oh my, this one is even more complex.  Why is it we think it more polite to brush off a compliment than to acknowledge it?  “It was nothing” seems to come out before we even hear the compliment, or worse we attempt to change the subject.   Why do we miss the opportunity to say “Thank you, we worked very hard on that” when someone recognizes a job well done. 

I honestly am not sure I am tough enough for this.  Getting the courage to ask for what I want for myself and my team is tough.  Especially if it is something that challenges the way things are currently done.  But I do think, that the act of not asking and the act of not acknowledging compliments, get in the way of progress (both personally and professionally) so I realize I must learn.

Which leads me to my next big topic, and that is authenticity.  I’m still working out my thoughts on that one but I do believe that there is a correlation between authenticity and effectiveness that should not be underestimated. 

I am very interested in your thoughts on these topics.  Hit me in the comments and share your tricks to being more authentic and effective.  How have you learned to ask for what you want and what has been the result?

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