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.