How are you doing, in this season of goodwill? Are you looking forward to the big Christmas day/weekend? To spending time with family and friends? Or are missing certain family members and friends and feeling rather lonely and blue? Whatever the case, do speak up for yourself when you need to.
Why? Because when you don’t, not only are you doing yourself a disservice, you are doing a disservice to others.
A lesson from rare lamb I was out the other night. It was a lovely evening. Great company, great keynote speech and great food – well, except for my lamb. You see I like my meat well done. When it came however, it was rare. I could see the blood, which, with a little poking of my fork, began to ooze. Let’s just say I was hungry enough to not be put off my risotto entirely.
So, I pushed the bleeding pieces of lamb to one side and ate the rest of the meal, which was very nice. By the end of it I thought, ‘This is going to go in the bin. Why don’t I ask that it be cooked properly?’ Ideally, I should have been asked how I wanted it, but that didn’t happen. Apparently in that establishment, this was the standard. Well, it didn’t meet my personal standard and I spent a few minutes fiddling with my cutlery while contemplating whether or not I wanted to bother.
I decided to bother. So, I asked. “Of course, ma’am” came the reply. And, off went my plate. A few minutes later, back came my plate with well done lamb, apologies from the chef and an extra helping of risotto.
It got me thinking. I could easily have done without saying anything. And a few years ago, I most probably would have remained silent – not wanting ‘bother’ anyone. I would have said to myself that perhaps the chef was probably too busy with whatever else they were doing and I wouldn’t have wanted to add to their burden and/or come across as being difficult. And I would have been silent while a perfectly good pair of lamb steaks would have ended up in the bin because I didn’t want to rock the boat!
Now, having spoken up, I utilised the meat rather than waste it; I enjoyed it; I received it back with apologies and more risotto (which I could have done without but quite enjoyed!) In addition, you know how chefs love to have their food eaten? They spend all that time, energy and creativity preparing a meal and it brings them immense satisfaction when it is eaten and enjoyed. It dawned on me that I would actually have done the chef a disservice if I hadn’t sent word to them as to how I wanted it.
Yes, it would have been great if I’d been asked how I wanted it. However, I still had the choice to say ‘This is how I prefer it.’ What’s the worst that could have happened? The worst that could have happened would have been for them to have said, ‘No, we can’t do anything about it.’ Then I would have been satisfied that at least I had tried. And I would have known to steer clear of that establishment in the future.
Assertive is not aggressive What is it you’re tolerating in your life? What is it that you need to speak up about? What are you putting up with that is making you unhappy, is making you feel less of the person you are, is making you feel constrained, as if you’re in a tight, in a very tight place? What is it?
What is it that you’re tolerating?
There is room for grace and patience of course. Allowing yourself to be a doormat is not the same as being patient, gracious and kind. Do speak up. Being assertive doesn’t mean you’re being aggressive. You can be assertive without being aggressive. In fact, assertiveness is polite, it’s honest, it’s gracious, and it’s kind.
Do yourself a favour this Christmas and speak up. If you remain silent when you should be speaking up, you are not only being unfair on yourself but you are doing a disservice to others who need to hear your voice.
If this raises any questions or issues for you, do feel free to contact me here. I’m happy to help you reconnect with your voice – at Christmas or whenever you need it most.