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Why An Independent Woman Is the Role Model For Everyone

Why An Independent Woman Is the Role Model For Everyone

Have you ever read any comments in posts about independent women? If so, you will see a lot of poisonous comments from men who imitate the media in portraying these women as anti-men, resentful, and out to get revenge! There are comments from women’s advocates who say that many women receive rape and death threats on a daily basis. In the past, Hollywood has portrayed women in their films as stereotypes who need men to rescue them from many difficult situations. In spite of all the hype, myths, and futile sexist attitudes that are abound, an independent woman is a role model for everyone. Here are 10 reasons why this is true.

“My greatest ambition is to have a career without becoming a career woman.” – Audrey Hepburn

1. Because she sees the value in education

Many women go over and beyond the lure of looking good and seek out real development as a fully rounded individual. They are curious and want to learn. An excellent example is Emma Watson, who had it all made as an actress and a model. However, she did not stop there. She completed a degree course at Brown University, taking a year off her acting career to do so. This is an inspiring example of a superb work ethic.

“I want to find something that will let me use my brain in another way. I like connecting people who aren’t part of that world, too.” – Emma Watson

2. Because she is determined

Many women face the glass ceiling in their careers and are not put off by this at all. They show persistence and true grit in getting what they want. One example is Hope Powell, who became the first woman to be granted the UEFA Pro License, which is the highest coaching award available in a field which is normally reserved for men. She is one of the 8 women coaches (out of 24) in women’s football and has played a leading role in getting the game recognized and followed by both men and women. She was instrumental in getting the Football Association to take women’s football seriously and has helped to reduce the stigma attached to women footballers.

“Work hard to get what you want. If it’s your ambition, go for it. You don’t have to be the best in the world to make it as an elite athlete. You need to be a grafter and be prepared to sacrifice.” – Hope Powell

3. Because she can communicate clearly

A superb example of somebody who can communicate complex subjects in a simple and easy to understand manner is Stephanie Flanders. She spent two years at Harvard and has worked for the United Nations, the New York Times, and was the Economics Editor at the BBC for a number of years.

Explaining global finance in everyday terms and how it impacts our daily lives was not easy, but Stephanie communicated her deep understanding of finance in a most effective way. Her TV program, Masters of Moneywas an inspirational example. “Stephanomics” has even been coined to express her unique way of communicating complex subjects to the masses. She now works for JP Morgan.

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“Do not be alarmed by simplification; complexity is often a device for claiming sophistication, or for evading simple truths.” – John Kenneth Galbraith, American economist.

4. Because she cares about humanity

It takes courage to act when the migrant humanitarian crisis which is now sweeping the world leaves nations perplexed and passive. We need inspiring humans to show they care and take action. Whether it is taking part in a volunteer group or financing a project for talented girls in disadvantaged areas of the world, the message is the same. Oprah Winfrey has set an excellent example by establishing the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, which helps talented girls in need of a free education. This is just one of the many charities she actively supports

“What material success does is provide you with the ability to concentrate on other things that really matter. And that is being able to make a difference, not only in your own life, but in other people’s lives.” – Oprah Winfrey

5. Because she refuses to be judged by her appearance

Independent women will never fall into the trap of thinking that presenting themselves in a sexualized way is appropriate. She knows that she will be judged on her performance, her abilities, her communication skills, and ways she connects with others. These are the important things she is aiming to achieve. The independent woman will never put her appearance as the number one priority. She will not be brainwashed into behaving the ways that society expects her to. She will never fall victim to emotional and verbal abuse. Sandra Brown’s fascinating book, Women Who Love Psychopathspraises independent women who can do this. These women are inspiring role models to follow.

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6. Because she knows the true value of a relationship

No independent woman needs a loving relationship. She wants one, just like everyone else, and will not compromise on that. She is not prepared to get involved just to help with her rent or because her new partner has a car. Above all, she can balance the need to be alone with her own space so that she can maintain her life without sacrificing personal freedom for the sake of a relationship. She can balance the two successfully. This is a model for everyone to follow.

7. Because she has overcome prejudice and discrimination

According to Pew Research, about 40% of Americans believe that women are expected to reach higher standards when they are promoted to top positions. About the same percentage are not yet ready to elect women to prestigious political posts. Approximately half of the women say that they have to go the extra mile to prove themselves when they get promoted to top business positions. Gender equality in the workplace is still a long way off. Independent women are a great role model to follow as they have often had to fight against discrimination and overcome it.

8. Because she knows that she does not have to copy male standards of leadership

The temptation for many women when they get to the top is to copy the male pattern of leadership. They tend to take aggression, toughness, and competitiveness to exaggerated levels. Hilary Genga, who founded Trunkettes swimwear, says that this is unnecessary and a mistake. Relying on gender role models is foolish.

“Be yourself, and have confidence in who you are. Don’t try to be a man. You made it to where you are through hard work and perseverance, but most importantly, you’re there. Don’t conform yourself to a man’s idea of what a leader should look like.” – Hilary Genga

9. Because she is confident

An independent woman has great confidence. It is a fantastic asset. Many successful women have achieved this by using their common sense, intuition, and people skills to great effect. Preparation is key as Sandra Rowlands, CEO of ReachLocal, has remarked.

“I had confidence in my abilities to run the business. I just made sure that any initiative I was trying to move forward was backed up by a solid business case. I was never unprepared for the questions that I knew would come.” – Sandra Rowlands

10. Because she has achieved a healthy work / life balance

Any working person strives to achieve the elusive work/life balance. When an independent woman achieves this, it is usually because they have successfully juggled the dual relationship of running a home and a business at the same time. It is often difficult to achieve; however, 78% of American mothers who use the Internet are convinced that it is possible to be successful in their career and in parenting. One of the secrets of their success is that they concentrate on running an efficient home, rather than a perfect one.

“I have set clear boundaries around family and work, and I get home for dinner with my kids. Most important, I am present when I am home with my kids. It’s the quality of time, not just the quantity that matters. I know there is always more I can get done at work, but I will never be able to redo these years with my kids!” – Jessica Herrin, CEO and founder of Stella & Dot.

Let us know in the comments how independent women have inspired you to be successful.

Featured photo credit: She’s in Fashion/Lauren Hammond via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

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Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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