I love being in a room that’s primarily women! And I do want to acknowledge that we have some very handsome men who have joined us here as well!
Today is about this: How can you show up with more poise, more power, more passion – and this is for the men as well as for the women.
How can you really speak up and stand up and be heard?
I first started to understand this idea of the importance of speaking up and being heard when I was in the third grade.
It’s 90 degrees in June, the sweat is pouring down the back of my neck. I’m sitting in the front row of Mrs. Lainer’s classroom. She’s got chalk all over her fingers and she’s counting all these ballots. It’s the last week of school and it’s my last chance to be elected as class president.
“Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, I’m so excited to announce to you that the final class president for Francis Scott Key Elementary school is…Eileen Pfeiffer.”
All the kids clap, and Eileen walks up to the front of the room, and I just try to pull it together and not burst into tears.
I do manage to hold it together and not burst into tears all the way until my Dad comes home form work and he says: “How was your day at school today?”
Then I burst into tears.
Who has kids about that age?
So you know that kind of crying where the snot is running down their faces, they’re crying so hard they can barely get a word out, (Mimics shaking and blubbering.)
So, I burst into tears and said to my Dad: “I want to be class president and Eileen Pfeiffer has been class president twice before and I’m never going to be class president and it’s not fair!!!”
He scoops me up in his arms, and the wet spot on his shirt gets bigger and bigger and bigger.
When I finally calm down he puts me on a chair and says: “So – you wanted to be the president? Good. What would you have done if you were president?”
So I tell him. I have this great idea. I’m going to go out as a community service project, because we have to do community service. We’re going to pick up all the garbage in the parking lo. We’re going to sort out all the town cola bottles in the parking lot. If you grew up in the 70’s in Michigan you’d get a 10 cent deposit on those bottles—take those bottles back to the store and use that money for a pizza party!
My dad says: good, good. Did you campaign?
And I was like… did I what?
Dad says: did you go and tell the kids, who I know you are shy to talk to, your big idea?
And I shook my head, no.
Wellllll, next time you want something, you have to SPEAK UP. And this idea blows my mind.
(cut to later in the speech)
When you share your accomplishments, the thing I want you to add is: how is this thing that I’m good at helpful to my client, helpful to my boss, helpful to my team, helpful to my organization? How is it of service to others?
(cut to later in the speech)
You’re a powerful woman. You’ve got that going on for you. Know that. Own that. Don’t make that light.
If I don’t use my gift to help other people accomplish what they’re trying to accomplish, I am not doing my job as a human being.
For me this is not about how I’m showing up at work, this is how I’m showing up in the world, on the planet.
In order for people to be able to leverage my talent, they need to know what it is. And unless they happen to read a review in the New York Times, how are they going to know unless I’m the one that tells them? Here’s what I’m good at. Here’s what I love to do. AND, here’s how it can help you.
It’s not about bragging about myself. It’s about: here’s this thing I have that can be of service to you.
For me as a human being on the planet it’s about being of service to other people, to helping them get what they want.