For the New Year, Don’t Listen to Those Girly Thoughts . . . Speak UP at Work!


Patricia O’Gorman, Ph.D.



I can and I will…

Yes, we’re almost a month the New Year, and you are probably finding, as most of us are, that those New Year’s Resolutions are difficult to follow.

To gain some perspective, let’s back up for a moment and consider what the new year is all about. That’s easy: It is a time to start over, to do things differently.

Sound good? But where to begin? How about the way you act at work?

Make a New Year’s Work Resolution 

I know, you’ve already made some resolutions for improving your work situation this year: get a raise, go for that promotion, seek out a new job.

Have you made any progress so far? If not, what’s getting in the way?

Consider making a New Year’s Resolution to address a major obstacle most women must confront to meet their goals—figure out how to challenge your girly thoughts, that internalized, negative self-talk that sabotages your best efforts by telling you (among other things) that you’re not good enough in some way.

Make a Concrete Resolution 

And let’s up the ante and make your New Year’s Work Resolution something concrete, something that will improve your work life—not just today, not just for the rest of 2015, but for your entire career:

Resolve to Speak Up at Work

Why Speak Up?

Why start here? Let’s face it: you face a great deal of pressure in the workplace. Not only was it a struggle to get your job, but you also feel the pressure to keep it and do it well. Some of the pressure you feel is performance based—whether you are a teacher, a computer analyst, an executive, or in sales, you want to be good in your job.

After all, this is where you spend the majority of your awake time; this is the field you have in some way trained for, and you need to stay current with your skill set, all while you navigate those tricky office politics.

How would this look? When you give yourself a voice, you:

  • speak your truth
  • offer your opinion, your wisdom
  • remember that you were hired because you are the best person for your job

So instead of just listening to those girly thoughts, that toxic inner dialogue that tells you to be a good girl and keep quiet, remind yourself of your value and resolve to  let your value show.

Will There Be a Price to Pay for Speaking Up At Work? 

According to Facebook chief operating office Sheryl Sandberg and Wharton Business School professor Adam Grant, the answer is yes, you will pay a price for speaking up. But then you already know that, and have probably experienced it.

In their opinion piece for the New York Times titled “Speaking While Female,” Sandburg and Grant write:

Male executives who spoke more often than their peers were rewarded with 10 percent higher ratings of competence. When female executives spoke more than their peers, both men and women punished them with 14 percent lower ratings. As this and other research shows, women who worry that talking “too much” will cause them to be disliked are not paranoid; they are often right.

Should the Price Stop You?

You’re already paying the price. You’re stuck. But this is a New Year, so let there be a New You! Challenge those girly thoughts that say  be nice, and instead speak up! And if your girly thoughts warn you how much you will be disliked if you speak up, tell them to take a hike!

How to Speak Up

  • Take a deep breath
  • Speak on the exhale
  • Make eye contact
  • Speak in your natural, strong voice, not that so-cute little girl voice

And after you speak, give yourself a private pat on the back—you did it!

You’ll find more ideas for getting rid of that negative self-talk in my book The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power.

How have you overcome your fear of speaking up at work?  Let’s start talking …. 

In my next blog, we’ll take a break from work and deal with your heart…. Watch for Enjoy Valentine’s Day – Don’t Indulge Your Girly Thoughts

The “Rule of Thumb” and Your Girly Thoughts

By Patricia O’Gorman, PhD

Author of The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power (publication date 10.28.14) — a fun book about a serious topic

The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power (2013)

Healing Trauma Through Self-Parenting—The Codependency Connection (2012)

The recent public awareness of NFL player Adrian Peterson hitting his four-year son with a “switch” has begun a public dialogue of how appropriate it is to hit your child. But this conversation hasn’t reached everyone. Recently a parent told me he asked the local police if it was okay to hit his fifteen- year-old. The police allegedly told him it was okay if it was with an open hand.

Is Striking Your Child Ever Okay?
The next day I heard a caller on a radio show say that a switch is better than a hand because it is less likely to cause physical harm. Hmmm . . . this sounds to me like an issue of asserting power, maybe even venting some frustration, rather than actually teaching your child a lesson, all while you can be legitimately excused from taking responsibility if you go too far. As Adrian Peterson eloquently said, he should be not be seen as a “child abuser” because he didn’t mean to hurt his son.

This discussion of child abuse—for that is what the striking of a child is, whether with an open hand or a switch—made me think about the rule of thumb.

“Legal” Spousal Abuse
Rule of thumb is a term widely used today to refer to the standard way of doing something, but the origin of this term has a dark side. Rule of thumb once referred to the width of a stick you could use to hit your wife; it was recommended that it not be thicker than a man’s thumb. Yes, before we had the concept of domestic violence, it was a common practice to keep women in line by beating them. But not too hard. After all, they still had work to do.

Yes, it is shocking how common wife beating used to be. But has this changed? We recently saw Ray Rice caught on camera beating his wife and then proclaiming he is not a wife abuser because he loves his wife—implying that the two can’t go together.

What Does Have Love Have to Do with It?
“What’s Love Got to Do with It?” is a question singer/songwriter Tina Turner asked and answered. She is a woman who also knew about being beaten by a man she loved.

Tina Turner got out of her abusive relationship. But why do other women stay? Their girly thoughts tell them physical and emotional abuse are okay if he says:

  • “Sorry.”
  • “I love you.”

and best yet,

  • “I didn’t mean it.”

Girly thoughts tell an abused wife or girlfriend not to make him so angry next time. They tell abused women that they are the cause of that anger, and that message fits in beautifully with him blaming you. Girly thoughts tell these victims to try to make everything nice, even when it isn’t.

If You’re In an Abusive Situation

  • Don’t listen to your girly thoughts. Your girly thoughts tell you its okay to be hit and then blamed or apologized to.
  • Contact your local domestic violence agency to get support and begin to plan what to do. Don’t know how to contact your local agency? Check your phone book or contact, which is currently experiencing a large number of women calling due to the recent publicity of how widespread domestic abuse is.
  • If you’re concerned about whether the way your child was treated constitutes child abuse, call your local child abuse hotline (listed in information or your phone book). Check for symptoms of child abuse on They are the experts.

Don’t let your girly thoughts immobilize you. Get information. Take planned action.

How do girly thoughts develop?

By Patricia O’Gorman, PhD
Author of
The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power (publication date 10.28.14)
The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power (2013)
Healing Trauma Through Self-Parenting—The Codependency Connection (2012)

girly thoughts quote

I’ve often been asked, “How do girly thoughts develop?” Some women think perhaps they began having negative thoughts about themselves when they entered puberty or became teenagers. The truth might surprise to you.

Your Girly Thoughts in the Beginning
It may be a rude awakening for some of you to really think back and see when you did began to think girly thoughts, that toxic, inner dialogue fed daily by media and some less-than-helpful female traditions, because you will very likely be able to trace it to a much earlier time than you thought.

A woman I spoke to a couple of weeks ago shared that she thought her four-year-old was having girly thoughts. Her four-year-old daughter told her, “I know I’m going to be popular!” Her mother was excited. “Why?” she asked. “Is it because you’re smart, helpful, a good friend?

“No,” her daughter said, smiling and twirling her hair, “It’s because I’m blond.”
A Focus on Fashion Instead of Sports
Even as young girls, we become aware of what is acceptable and what is not. We receive lots of positive feedback for being pretty, being quiet and polite, and most of all for being good . . . but how this translates may surprise you.

A male friend of mine who is the principle of an elementary school shared with me that he dreads spring. Why? “Bare midriffs, short shirts . . . why do mothers buy this stuff?” He doesn’t understand how relentless your girls can be about being accepted (he has a son). But why do mothers give in? We have our own girly thoughts, and so the cycle continues.

What to Do?
I was recently honored to speak at the 2nd Annual Beautiful Women Doing Beautiful Things Women’s Networking Event in Albany, New York, about this very subject. I invite you to watch the video of my presentation, where I give tips on what to do about your own girly thoughts.

Put those tips into action, and let me know what new strategies you are developing.

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD, is a best selling author, psychologist, resiliency coach, former executive, and an international speaker known for her warm and funny presentations. She is the author and coauthor of nine books, including The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power (publication date 10.28.14), as well as numerous articles in magazines. Watch for Dr. O’Gorman’s newest book A Man’s Guide to girly thoughts, and Out Your Girly Thoughts and Embrace Your Strength—A Resilience-Building Curriculum will be available in 2015; visit for more information.