We find it so important in our Western society: make yourself heard. As an introverted woman – born and raised in a conservative, calvinistic environment, and blessed with a voice that hardly produces any decibels, I (used to) find that a struggle. In this blog: how a small-town girl discovers her voice as a Madame, and how it may help you, too.
I grew up in a religious community, with a rigid outlook. One in which you – especially as a young woman – were expected to be ‘humble ’. Don’t stand out. Skirt reaching below the knees. Hats were not fashion items, but ‘a sign of submission to authority’. You could speak, sure. If it was in line with the things you heard through the loudspeakers from the pulpit. “You’re bad. Don’t think you’ll amount to anything,” boomed the canned sound to a little girl on a hard church bench. Blending in with the masses was a virtue. Safely squashed.
From the management books
As a budding twenty-something, I patted the college dust off of my blazer, and heard different voices on the work floor. Some managers in a better suit than me told me to “show more of myself,” “claim my work”, and “don’t let others steal my thunder.” Another favourite (who hasn’t heard this one?): “Position myself strategically within the organisation.”
A bit of going behind other people’s backs here and there, ‘healthy’ competition among ‘colleagues’. Good for ‘business dynamics’. One manager once told me she purposely treated me like dirt, because I was the only one on the team who hadn’t cried yet, and she wanted to see whether she could ‘get to me’. To make me snap out of my shell of self-control, so I would tell what I really thought.
I wouldn’t recommend a management book that builds team spirit like that.
Working on my ‘position within the organisation’ seemed like a complete waste of time to me. Didn’t my work speak for me?
Slowly, I began to notice that 99% of all managers didn’t want me voicing my opinion at all. They mostly wanted to hear me say how much I agreed with them.
Within the past few months, those voices faded to the background. In my home office, I found peace. And a chance to listen to myself. And every day, I discovered more that making yourself heard isn’t so bad. As long as you find the right place to tap into for input, and you’re the one controlling the sound buttons.
That’s why I will be hosting my own Madame MarCom podcast. In which I will be strengthening my own sound, and have those of others ring out. No going behind someone’s back. In my world of entrepreneurship, there’s ample room for voices that amplify each other. Much nicer ‘business dynamics’, if you ask me.