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Knowing My Value

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It’s 2008, the phone is ringing, and I am standing on the street corner, praying to every God available that it goes to voicemail. I am running the carefully worded message through my head when I hear, “hello?”

The night before I was at a dinner discussing a possible assistant job. I was pet-sitting in his building and this financial journalist asked me to watch his cat while on a business trip. After he came back, he wanted to hire me on as his admin/personal assistant.

The restaurant had been very dark, and he was a bit of a close talker. I was feeling excited about the opportunity when I had the thought, “wait, was this one of THOSE interviews?” Had I naively walked into a situation that would put me in an awkward situation?

Me: “uhh…..yeah, hi,it’s mefromlastnightandIwantedtothankyouanduhhh…..listen I know this is really silly, but I just wanted to make sure that this is just a professional arrangement. There is nothing more to this, right?”

Him:….

Me: (slowly dying)

Him: “You think I want to date you? I need someone to help me with my files.”

Me: “oh. yeahno! Tooootally. That’swhatIthoughttoobutyouknowIjustwantedtomakesure,forsure,you know? I am glad we’re on the same page. Uhhh…. Talk to you later!”

(end of call)

Instantly I could see the comedy gold of what just happened. It was so cringe, and so hilarious at the same time. I told my roommate later that night and she almost went pale. “Omigod! I cannot believe you did that. I would never have the guts.” I was surprised because I did not have the guts either, but I just assumed that this was what I was supposed to do.

My best friend said the same thing, that she would just pray that he would not make advances and ignore them if he did. I was stunned to see that I had it so wrong. I was trying to emulate them, but I took for granted that their appearance of having confidence did not mean they actually were, as the cool kids say, a girl boss.

At that time, I was but a Family of Women babe. A newbie to adulting and the many tools I would learn in the organization. Over the years, in leadership and from workshops, I blossomed without really noticing. That fake-it-till-you-make-it principle morphed into actual trust in myself and my value. I heard a woman once describe it as a well-fitting jacket and I really love that. I may take it off sometimes, but it fits like a glove when I am wearing it.

So much so, that fast forward to when I was dating my then-boyfriend, he did something that upset me and embarrassed me. He did not intend to, and I knew it at the time, but he had crossed a line.

A wave of calm knowing came over me. Incredibly – I kid you not – I put my hand on my heart and I looked him straight in the eye and said, “the man that I am going to marry will love me, cherish me, and respect me. I know you love me, and I feel cherished by you, but I do NOT feel respected right now.”

He got quiet and I let him digest it. About an hour later we talked about it and why it happened. A year later we married, and he has cherished and respected me ever since. By valuing myself, I showed him how to do the same.

That young woman on the sidewalk praying for voicemail sure has come a long way.

Learn more about knowing your value at our free event on March 9th 2024. To learn more and to register click here.

To join the Family of Women, click here.

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