Bragging Rights

My daughter has great friends.

We are blessed to live in a great neighborhood with lots of girls Clara's age.  Yesterday, Clara went to a birthday party with some of her favorite girlfriends and I ran into the birthday girl's Mom this morning as I was walking the dog. I was getting the debrief from this Mom and we were talking about how the girls talk to each other.  As an example of a conversation between the girls, the Mom told me that as the girls were heading to the party, Clara was talking about something she had done and another girl said to her, "You are bragging."

Apparently, Clara backpedaled.

She retracted her statement and became apologetic about what she had said about herself.  This made me incredibly sad and then, angry.  I wished I had been in that car for that drive - what a great opportunity to talk to all of those girls about owning their brilliance.

Why do we do this to our girls? 

You know that little girl has heard that from some adult in her life. That somewhere along the line - maybe many times - that girl has come home and said, "I did THIS!" Wanting to share with the adults she loves just how accomplished she is getting - but getting back, "THAT is bragging."

Forget that.

We give boys bragging rights and encourage them to own how awesome they are - as we should.  I am hell-bent on making sure my daughter gets the same. If people don't like her confidence, they aren't worth her time.  I just hope my voice, her Dad's voice, and the voice of my friends who love her dearly, are loud enough to drown out the echo of her peers who don't get the benefit of adults who encourage their girls to own their incredible gifts and talents.

As a culture we start beating the confidence out of our girls early, don't we?  We start asking them to hush up and be modest.  We tell them, albeit subtly, that standing up and owning their brand of awesome will be frowned on, that no-one will like them if they are confident, secure, and sure of themselves.

That is NOT a recipe for success.

Wilferd Peterson has said, "Let your light shine." I have struggled with that, my clients struggle with it - how to stand up and say, "I am valuable and I have something important to say. Who I am and what I do is worth it, I deserve to be paid well to share my greatness with the world. I can make anything happen - Anything. I. Choose."

I've spent thousands of dollars and cried a trail of tears trekking back to the place where I can BRAG about how awesome I am.  And I'm still not always there (by a long shot, yoginis).  Though I am ever-grateful for the journey, my hope is that by doing my own work and helping a generation of women stand up and celebrate their gifts as business owners, that my daughter and her generation can get to a whole new level of leadership to create lasting, global transformation.

That is the legacy I aspire to. 

I am crossing my fingers and toes that I will be in the room the next time a little girl says something like that to another girl.  I can't wait to ask each girl to brag on herself - to celebrate how utterly awesome she is in so many ways.  May that conversation echo through the years of these girls lives and may it also echo in yours - make no mistake, your daughters need you to brag large and loud, as does the world.  Please, please do.

Start today, start now.

Namasté to you, business yoginis!

9 comments

Everyone get's their 'pockets of brilliance' - maybe not every day but when you see someone elses, cheer it on!

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KCLAnderson (Karen) Oct 18, 2011 05:35pm

Ah yes...as much work as I have done around this, I still sometimes find myself shrinking in order that others will...what? Feel better about themselves? What I've come to see, however (and generally), is that when I shrink, others decide to shrink too. It happened just this past weekend. I was at an event with a couple of other authors and the I-hate-my-body talk started...for a while I held my ground but then I caved and joined in thinking, I suppose, that these women didn't want to feel alone AND thinking maybe it's just a case of the emperor's new clothes (meaning maybe I am deluded in thinking that my body is okay the way it is).

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Love this! Such a true and important message and so eloquently put. Hxo

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Judy Murdoch Oct 18, 2011 06:00pm

Not just girls, Nona, although as a woman and someone growing up in a family of girls, I'm very sensitive to how this topic applies to women. Like you, I'm blessed to have a son who has great friends: most of them are smart, cool, and quirky like Matt.

At the same time they can be pretty merciless when they sense another is "getting out of line."

I've told my son that when people put you down like that it's often because they feel threatened or scared.

Ultimately I believe that as long as our kids have moms and dads who keep telling them they ARE great and there's nothing wrong with feeling good about themselves, it makes a big difference for our kids.

So I'm glad you're Clara's mom and you're saying all the right things and believing in her. It makes a huge difference!!

What an awesome mom Clara has!

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rebecca @ altared spaces Oct 19, 2011 07:51am

I found you at Laurie Foley's site. Great find! I was at a conference recently when one of the speakers spoke about Light-shining and how running our businesses is showing our Light in the world. Asking for business or doing well in business is shining Light. I loved this reframe from "bragging". It is helping me see how if I am good at what I do, why should I apologize for shining my Light out into the world?

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LOVE this! What a great and timely reminder for me - I'm bidding on my next job and I can't tell you how often I catch myself downplaying my accomplishments. Not anymore!

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This post brought tears, Nona. What an amazing daughter you must be raising. Thank you for your commitment to this legacy - it's greatly needed!XO

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Martine Brennan Oct 17, 2011 02:14am

I am with you 100% on this one Nona! I never want to see my daughters 'playing small' and becoming small.

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You are all amazing!!@Helen: Thinking of you and Sophie and your brilliance!!

@Judy: SO glad that Matt has a Mom like you! Thank you for sharing.

@Stacie: Woo HOO!! I can't wait to hear about your next assignment. You rock it!

@Martine, Leah, and Karen: thank you ladies...

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