For years I thought I was a bitch. Then I realized I was just scrappy! When I was younger I wanted people to think I was nice, but then I noticed that it was a lot easier to get my way if I was pushy. Unfortunately, being a bully works. Over the years I’ve made numerous trade offs between my integrity and some business result that I pushed a little too hard to get. But even when I thought I was just being appropriately persistent, determined or intense, I’ve noticed that it’s a fine line between bitch and doormat. Presented with what appeared to be a choice between these two opposites, I gravitated towards bitch every time.
Some people tell me that the world is a spectrum of possibilities, that I needn’t choose between the extremes, that I tend to perceive the polar endpoints rather than more moderate options. It has only been in the last 5 years or so that I’ve begun to realize that there are more moderate approaches, like being firm yet tactful, or gracious, yet determined. But these approaches require a great deal of self-awareness, skill and care, so when I’m tired, or stressed out, well, bitch wins.
That’s not all bad, mind you! Think about what this word means:
. . . and . .. my personal favorite . . .
I’m more inclined to prioritize colleagues and friends over short-term business results these days, so I choose to moderate my intensity, sometimes letting results slip through my fingers in favor of preserving a relationship that I value. But, when there’s something truly worthwhile at stake, I still take on the risk that someone will think me a bit too intense, determined or persistent. Now instead of thinking of myself as a bitch, I say “I’m just scrappy!”
Don’t let other people’s opinion of you stop you from experiencing the full range of your scrappiness!