I Spoke Strong. I said what I meant. Well, to the best of my ability in that moment. I knew what I didn’t want, I knew what I did want, and I knew why. I just didn’t understand why I felt so strongly about “Amy’s” behavior. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the luxury of waiting until I knew.
It was a rough couple of days for the whole team as the chips fell and were sorted. I knew my words stung, and I don’t like hurting people.
In addition to the team, I reached out to friends for support. The first person I spoke with is overcoming a victim habit. She has become incredibly articulate. She is woman, hear her roar! She made statements like, “Amy betrayed me, she wasn’t at my level, I pushed her shame button because she knew I was on target. She stuck it to me in the way she apologized.” When I got off the phone with my friend, my husband asked me what she had said. I told him, “She said I’m great and everyone else sucks.”
Of course my friend didn’t actually say that at all. Still, her words built me up at Amy’s expense. I indulged, just for a while, in the power of that. In fact, that kind of power can be very seductive. I allowed myself to experience it just long enough to anchor my confidence in my own perceptions.
But the truth is, I value my relationship with Amy. I respect her. And in light of our years of working together, this transgression is a small thing. I had to address it BECAUSE I value the relationship. I couldn’t rest in a perception that excluded that. Plus, any time I feel puffed up and better than others, I know a fall is around the corner.
I found balance, and then visited another friend who both clearly understood why I needed to speak, and also affirmed Amy’s likely innocent intention.That set the groundwork for the next step.
I figured out why it mattered so much. I reconnected with the vision that had inspired me to hire Amy in the first place. I was able to articulate the vision and the role I hired her for in a way that the whole team could understand and commit to.
What it came down to was, I had felt betrayed because Amy had undermined a vision she had never agreed to uphold. Now, she and the rest of the team share my vision with me.
The remarkable thing is, while we fumbled to understand what happened, we never lost our sense of valuing each other or our confidence that we would get to the higher side of things. It was that bond that allowed us the freedom to not paper over it before we had learned its lessons and uncovered its gifts.
If Speaking Strong were easy, everyone would do it. It can be very challenging – and equally rewarding.