Podcast

Ep. 42 Women, Stop Diminishing Yourselves

My mission with Savvy Shopkeeper is to teach retail store owners to work less and profit more. What’s unspoken in that tagline is how strongly I feel about empowering micro-retail business owners. 

Why? Well, sometimes our businesses are so small that it’s easy for us to minimize what we have accomplished. Not only is it easy for us to minimize, but we also deal with comments where OTHERS diminish our businesses.  

You’ve probably heard these comments before, like when someone refers to your store as a “hobby,” or family members with “real jobs” make it seem like our businesses aren’t a priority or as important. You can feel your face is red and steam is coming out of your ears and you think “I should have said….!”  

How We Take On Diminishing Comments

I often hear shopkeepers who get upset when someone diminishes them or their business (And trust me, that’s the topic of an upcoming episode too). Sadly, I also hear shopkeepers making these comments about themselves.  

In early July of 2020, I co-hosted an online workshop with Sarah Nemecek of WE Profit Foundry. We taught Financial Foundations for Brick and Mortar Store Owners.  

Sarah is a former shopkeeper turned Financial Coach, and as most of you know I’m still a shopkeeper. So between the two of us, this collaboration seemed ideal for a financial workshop.

Sarah and I have both worked with MANY shopkeepers over the past few years so we learned that there’s a need for teaching retail store owners how to read, analyze, and USE their financial data.  So we offered these lessons in a 3-hour workshop.

We spent 2 hours teaching the workshop and 1 hour on an open Q&A.  Throughout the three hours I noticed a disturbing trend in questions from some of the attendees and I wasn’t the only one.  After the workshop, Miriam, owner of Coco Jolie and workshop attendee, sent me an email: 

“I noticed something that I thought may be worth mentioning.  Several times when people asked questions during the call, they prefaced their question with something like “sorry I’m dumb” or “sorry for the stupid question.” It struck me that we women have a tendency to say things like this. It’s this self-talk we do in our heads that then comes out.  It’s like we need to apologize for “taking up space” with our thoughts and questions.

Men don’t do this. At least the vast majority don’t, compared to the large percentage of women who do this.

We need to get better at thinking of ourselves in a positive light, with every right to speak up and ask questions. We don’t need to diminish ourselves to have a voice.

I’m guilty of it too, and as the mom of a teen daughter and two teen boys, I see how early we start sabotaging ourselves like this. It’s such a shame, we deserve better, to be better to ourselves.”

At times in my life, I’ve done this too. I tend to cringe when I think about those times, especially as I get older.  I worked in a male-dominated industry for nearly 20 years and often think about the number of times I apologized or diminished myself with words—or maybe even didn’t speak up at all. 

You’re Probably Thinking One of Three Things

If you’re reading this, you probably fall into one of these categories:

1. This is NOT me. I refuse to diminish myself. I make conscious decisions when speaking to do so confidently, even when I have questions or don’t know something.

2. Hmmm, this might be me. I either know I do it and I don’t like it, OR, I’ll have to pay more attention to what I say and how I say it.  

3. This is ME! I do this all the time! Ugh.

What You Can Do to Stop Minimizing Yourself

No matter where you fall, we can all improve OR we can help each other DIMINISH the diminishing talk (See what I did there? 👀).

Practice Self-Awareness 

Pay attention to what you say and how you say it. 

You’ll notice when you stop apologizing and diminishing yourself: your body posture changes and you’ll feel better—both physically and emotionally.

Change Your Vocabulary

Turnaround some of the standard diminishing responses you say. 

For instance, instead of saying “This is a stupid question”, say “I have a question.”  

Instead of saying, “I know I’m dumb…” cut out that prefacing statement and go directly into saying “I have a question.”  

Or simply cut out all of the “I’m so stupid” or “I’m sorry” statements from your vocabulary.  

Be Confident and Intentional 

Being more intentional in how you express yourself will help you in so many ways—in daily conversations, in professional settings, as a leader in your business, and as an authority in your business district.

Call Yourself and Other Women Out

Now don’t do this to diminish the woman. That would contradict what I’m asking you to do here! But if you notice another woman doing this, remind the woman how much of a badass she is. Then mention this podcast episode, or make a couple of suggestions to help her stop this habit.

Find an Accountability Partner

Aks you biz bestie to hold you accountable—Sarah is someone who does this for me! She’ll point out when I diminish myself by saying “I babble” because I think I’m not providing value when I speak on a FB Live video or teach a class.  

She often corrects me and tells me I am NOT babbling and everything I say is important! You have no idea how much I appreciate this. She’s never made me feel small. She simply reminds me to be stronger, bolder, more confident in what I’m doing and I can’t be mad at that!

Practice, Practice, Practice

Last but not least, I KNOW firsthand this takes practice. If this is a bad habit for you, it will take time. 

That’s why you should start implementing the steps above NOW, so you can change this diminishing behavior. You WILL notice the positive effects of the change in more ways than one!

Resources

Timestamps

  • [02:14] Diminishing comments that get under our skin
  • [03:27] How we take on diminishing comments
  • [08:13] The three categories of shopkeepers listening in
  • [09:11] What you can do to stop minimizing yourself
  • [09:17] Practice self-awareness
  • [09:36] Change your vocabulary
  • [10:06] Be confident and intentional
  • [10:24] Call yourself and other women out
  • [10:55] Find an accountability partner
  • [12:24] Practice, practice, practice

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