Meraki Truism #4 – Intimidation – learn to own it

Meraki Truism #4 – Intimidation

You intimidate people.

You’re intimidating.

People are scared to talk to you.

I’ve heard this my whole life. This puts us in a situation where we think we have to take something off of who we are in order to make other people feel comfortable. Let me say that again – There are people in this world, in your world – right this moment – who want you to take something off of who you are, to lessen yourself, in order for them to feel more comfortable about who they are.

Is it your responsibility to make someone else comfortable? Is it your job to lessen who you are in order to make someone else feel more important? This isn’t a license to be rude. That’s not what this is about. This is about the girls who grind and hustle and are told that their motivation and independence is intimidating.

Say no to that.

This is about girls who are taught at an early age that you want to be good at something, but not too good.

Say no to that. This is about young women who stop raising their hands in class because they don’t get called on, or women who don’t go after the promotion because they don’t possess every skill that might possibly be needed in that position.

Say no to that.

Step 1 – Know yourself. Do an inventory, a serious, thoughtful inventory of the skills and talents you possess.

Step 2 – Identify the gaps.

Step 3 – Fill the gaps.

Step 4 – Stop taking anything off of who you are.

There are always going to be people who try to put their insecurities off on you – don’t pick those up, don’t wear someone else’s insecurities.

You bring certain skills, a unique personality and world view to the table. Don’t let someone else’s insecurities keep you from doing you.


Drop us a line, especially if you have a story to share about intimidation.


Meraki Truism #3 – Yes, and …

Meraki Truism #3 – Yes, and …

In my previous post, Big Revolution when being played small, I mentioned that it is mandatory to avoid someone putting you in an either/or dichotomy.

In her interview with David Letterman on “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction,” Tina Fey talked about the skills needed to be great at improv. This boils down to “yes, and.” We need to acquire this skill in life. When someone comes at you with an either/or situation, we need to think of what benefits us and frame it as “yes, and.” Here’s what that looks like:

Either you are going to work overtime without pay (illegal, but still happens), or we will find someone who will. Yes, I will get the work done that needs to be completed, and I will find a way to do it during my regularly scheduled hours. How are some ways I could do that? I can delegate any “busy work” that currently falls to me by saying “I have to work on these goals that were set by XYZ, so is it possible that someone else, such as whoever you think is best suited for the task, take on those responsibilities at this time?” Then, when you are at work at someone tries to pawn off additional tasks on you, point them to the work you have to get done so that you do not have to work overtime. “Yes, that is important, and I know someone will do a good job with that while I am working on these other tasks.”

Either you are going to be accommodating, or we will find someone who makes us feel how we want to feel. “Yes, I see that this is a culture where that is considered to be appropriate, but I was hired because I have these skills, and the culture that would most benefit my performance is this…”

If you were not hired for your skills, time to start looking for a place that will value what you bring to the table, not just your looks and how you make other people feel.

When you identify an either/or proposition coming your way, find some way to get a bit of alone time (the bathroom works if you don’t have a private office!) and think through your “yes, and” approach. Get your head on straight, take a deep breath, and deliver your “yes, and” alternative.

Of course, if you are in a threatening situation, there is no “yes, and.” If you find yourself in that sort of situation, get out and get safe. No job is worth you sacrificing your safety.

Resources for workplace harassment:

Department of Labor Safety Issues – (202) 693-1999

Know your rights and know the policies:

Violence in the workplace – Women’s Bureau (202) 219-6665

If you find yourself in one of this situations, let me know. I am glad to act as a sounding board – Contact Me.

Meraki Truism #2 – Who benefits from Meraki?

Meraki Truism #2

You are strong. You are independent. You hustle and grind.

If you are in high school, you are handling your courses, your extracurriculars, and learning to navigate the world around you. You’ve got your head on a swivel, taking it all in and looking ahead. You’ve got some difficult decisions ahead – college, which kind; trade school, which one; internships, apprenticeships, so many decisions are coming your way. Do you have a strong support system in place? Are you focused on your goals? Are you holding yourself and the people in your life to a high standard?

If you are in college, you’re doing the work now. You’re learning how to focus on the priorities, and letting things go that don’t serve you well. People are coming and going in your life. Are you making the right connections to benefit you? Are you surrounding yourself by people who are going to encourage you? We are the result of the people we are around and the books that we read. The habits you are forming right now are going to be the habits you have in your life for many years. Are these benefitting you?

If you are on the other side of college, or if you’ve completed an apprenticeship, you are Ms. Independent. Have you laid the groundwork you need? Have you visualized your future and reversed engineered the process to get you where you want to be when you want to be there? Nothing is impossible if you have the right plan and work ethic.

I’d love to hear your story! Drop me a line here.

Meraki Truisms

Meraki Truism #1

Wage a Big Revolution When Someone Tries to Play You Small

What does it mean to be “played small”? I think you know, but to give you a good picture, it means having someone treat you as less than, or having someone discount you, having someone insinuate that you do not deserve a seat at the table.

Being played small:

If every conversation a man has with you who is in a position of authority in your place of work focuses on your appearance, you are being played small. I once was the first female manager of a restaurant that was owned by a group of brothers (so many red flags and warning signs that I ignored, but we’ll go in-depth on warning signs later). One of the brothers never spoke to me unless it was to either make fun of women in general (stereotyping) or to comment on my appearance in a sexual manner. We didn’t have #metoo and the Human Resource department consisted of one woman who had been best friends with the brothers’ sister before she died. He played me small at every opportunity. He discounted my ideas, reframed every conversation to be about sexual innuendos and physical appearance. I tried speaking with the other, more reasonable brothers, but no changes were made. I left. 

Another time when I was played small involved me taking a job where I could teach from home part-time and on campus part-time and the administrator over the college decided that he wanted everyone on campus 40+ hours a week, even if they had hired on for a flex work arrangement. He played everyone small. His way or the highway. I took care of what I needed to take care of and hit the highway.

Sometimes you can change the system from within – this is great. Sometimes you can change the system from without – also great.

Sometimes you have to have the wisdom to know you are not changing the current system. Do not let anyone put you in an “either/or” dichotomy. There’s always another option. There’s always a way to avoid being played small.

I believe that by partnering with young women and teaching them how to take charge and have power over their finances, professions, education, and relationships, together we can stop being played small and start a Big Revolution.

I inspire young women to master crucial areas of their lives. When you conquer your finances, your education, your business, your relationships, including the most important relationship, which is the relationship with yourself, you find success on your own terms.

Young women who master these areas of their lives can and will change the world for the better. Now that is a Big Revolution.

Young women who master self-control are the most powerful forces on Earth.

There is strength in community, and Meraki is helping to create a community of like-minded women who are capable of changing their worlds and are motivated to do so. This community is vibrant, creative, and encouraging.

I hope you will join us as we wage a Big Revolution against being played small.

If you’ve had experiences with someone trying to play you small, let me know. I’d love to hear your story and offer some insight on steps you can take.