Thursday, May 22, 2014

Being Well-Behaved is Overrated

I know many women who love and identify with Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's notorious quote: "Well-behaved women seldom make history."  I find behaving well to be entirely overrated. It's always a challenge as a professional woman to walk the right line. You don't want to be too much of a bulldog because then you're seen as a bitch. But you can't be too nice or you'll be a pushover. I've decided that my style in lobbying and in life is to just be myself. Fortunately my natural personality is brash, candid and somewhat (mostly?) poorly behaved. Somehow I think it works.

My frankness is either how I've been successful, or it's going to get me in trouble one of these days. It's probably some sort of combination of the two. Life is too short not to say what you think. Sometimes candor needs to be tempered, but I'd like to think that people appreciate knowing where someone is coming from even if they don't like the direction.

I'm never going to tell you what you want to hear. It may be something as simple as complimenting someone's hair or as complicated as telling a legislator I don't like their bill. Either way I'm going to call it like I see it. If it comes out of my mouth, you can be assured that I mean it. 

Sometimes calling it like you see if means getting called out, and there's that awkward moment where I feel like Kathy Griffin facing off with Elisabeth Hasselbeck on the view. But I'd rather be known for being sincere and brash (both in lobbying and life) than as someone you can't trust (there are all too many of those people).

I recently read a novel where this line popped up: "Nice is just powerlessness with a smile." I loved it so much I had to write it down. It's not that I'm opposed to nice as long as nice still equals honest. Being powerless is not my jam. Nor is being well-behaved. Life is short ladies (and gents). Say it like you mean it. Even better yet - say it if you mean it.    

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