Last week a friend of mine gave a major presentation at work—a big deal, once-a-year kind of thing.
“I rocked it,” she said to me on the phone the next day. “I really rocked it.”
A grin spread on my face. So glad for her. Then I noticed, I felt super happy—like her saying this was changing my whole mood and how I felt about the day ahead.
I realized I was happy, yes, because she rocked it, but more so because she knew she rocked it and she said it, without apology or diminishment.
Even though women friends are incredibly bright and accomplished, I don’t have too many conversations with them where they say “I rocked it” and then leave it at that.
Of course, as girls we are socialized to never come across as arrogant, to be careful not to hurt others’ feelings or make them jealous by shining too bright. If our parents weren’t the ones sending that message, later we found out from movies or tv shows or the boys at school or the mean girls that if you are perceived as arrogant, as a girl? That’s will get you into big social trouble. Big.
I know a lot of women who still live with those beliefs. They don’t share about their accomplishments, maybe because they internalized early childhood messages about the danger of coming across as arrogant, but also because when adult women proudly speak about their accomplishments, we too pay some costs in how we are perceived. So we all learn to tamper down how we talk about ourselves.
But these influences cause too many of us to never declare, with joy and satisfaction, “I rocked it.”
The worst part is this: language helps us define our experience and know it. If saying out loud, “I really did a great job” is off limits, eventually, feeling like you did a great job becomes off limits too.
It is probably true that not every person in your life will respond with only support when you announce your triumphs. But there are people in your life who will. Those are the people to call when you are ready to simply declare your success.
I challenge you: see it when you’ve rocked it, and to say it to another woman in your life.
You will give a gift to the woman you say it to, opening up the possibility for her to own her accomplishments more fully, too.