My family loves movies! We are nerdy to the point of putting notes on our calendars when a beloved film, seen on the big screen, is coming out on DVD/Blu-ray. The date it arrives in stores, we make a special trip to Target and then watch it soon after from home. We like to own our favorite flicks. We also do not just watch them over and over - we turn on all needed sound systems, and the movie is amplified all over the house.
Amplification is the process of increasing the volume. When something cannot be heard, we plug it into a system that amplifies the sound. We can also amplify the voices of our colleagues.
One of my friends and colleagues Dr. Kerry Mitchell, sent me an article written by Claire Landsbaum about the shine theory – ‘if you don’t shine, I don’t shine.’ It was an article about the female staffers in the Obama administration and what they did to ensure female voices were heard.
Female staffers adopted a meeting strategy they called “amplification”: When a woman made a key point, other women would repeat it, giving credit to its author. This forced the men in the room to recognize the contribution — and denied them the chance to claim the idea as their own.
Two simple things resonate from this article!
Who will you amplify in your next meeting?
This question was posed to me at a recent conference I was attending. As you can surmise, the presenter was discussing self-limiting behaviors and how they not only limit, but they can be poisonous to the body, mind, and soul. As I reflected on her question, I could not help but think of adolescent behavior. In many ways, the SELF that limits the self is much like a mean girl.
Consider what mean girls might do to others:
Here is how it might look to limit the self and what the SELF may say to you.
“You are not as talented as those in your peer group; you do not have as much to offer, and your qualifications are not as strong. Everyone else is better than you.”
“You are not as slim, attractive, or fit as others in your department, organization, or field. Because of your lack of physical discipline, you will not be chosen.”
“Be careful how you speak up – if you say that, you will jeopardize your status in this organization. Do not rock the boat. Play it safe, so you do not lose points with your boss or peers.”
“This is your problem, and no else seems to struggle as much. Just find a way to deal with that person. Everyone else has been able to figure it out – why can’t you?”
“You are not good enough if you do not get that next promotion. Success is never achieved if you stay in middle management.”
“There is something wrong with you, or you would be invited to participate in those project teams and brainstorming sessions. You are not strategic enough to join those important meetings.”
“You are an idiot. You are weak. You are a failure. You are too much. You are not good enough.”
I am sure none of you reading this post could imagine saying any of the quoted sentences to another person in a professional setting. So why (why? Why? WHY?) do we say it to ourselves? Notice the mean girl behavior and manage the SELF that limits the self. You deserve better - and you know it!
What type of self-limiting behavior do you engage?
Carrie Arnold, PhD, MCC, BCC
In no particular order: Author | Dog mom to Moose | Speaker | Reader Mom to human offspring Wife | Lover of Learning Leadership coach & consultant, The Willow Group | Fellow, Institute for Social Innovation | Program Director for Evidence-Based Coaching at Fielding Graduate University