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