Today someone sent me a link to a video. I’m not sure if they were thinking positively or negatively about me or what exactly they were trying to tell me by sending it, but I’m going to assume the best and say it was all good. I think they know me yet have probably called me the “b” word themselves. Not the b word that rhymes with rich but the one that sometimes has the same connotation of that other
For as long as I can remember, I have been called bossy. Even as a little girl, my siblings and even my parents called me bossy. I was even given the Little Miss Bossy book as a child and a t-shirt as an adult. I think the givers were trying to be funny or maybe just tell me what they really though of me. It hurt (and sometime still hurts) my feelings because I’m always just trying to help and do things well based on my experiences. But no matter how I try to sit back and not be “bossy”, which usually equates to me saying or doing little to nothing, I can only be me.
Why was I always put down by being called bossy for taking a stand, for speaking up, for leading especially when others would not. The first time I heard what I considered an appropriate term used to describe me, it still ended up being negative.
In my senior year of high school, a teacher who had been incorrectly grading papers called me a “leader” when I rallied other students who were unfairly failing her class. Well, she actually called me the “RINGleader.” Well, the ringleader got results. The students were assigned to new classes and the teacher was disciplined and later removed after it was determined she was flat out wrong.
Ringleader. Sounds a bit like bossy to me…definitely feels like it (or worse). But that was when I fully embraced the true me. Someone not afraid to face ridicule or failure and not afraid to take a stand. And even stand alone if it came to that.
Why couldn’t I just be called a leader. Assertive, confident, resilient…maybe? Instead, I was (am) often called bossy.
Well, the University of Memphis embraced me and rewarded me with the Emerging Leaders scholarship, a full scholarship to college. They called me a leader, and I leaned in to that term…leader. And every day, I strive to be a better leader and a better me. After watching the video below, I’m honored to be among some great women who have been called the “b” word.
Strong at times. Vulnerable and needing help at others. I see problems and want to at least try to fix them. I succeed. I fail. I love, and I hurt. But I always stand up.
So even as a child, this bossy girl was pretty strong and pretty strong-willed. There were (and still are) even times when I let some people’s “bossy” perceptions of me keep me quiet…but I eventually speak up. Many girls and young women today may not push through the negative feelings and even loss of friends from being called bossy.
Sometimes it’s easier to blend in rather than stand out and be called the “b” word. But easier definitely does not mean right.
That’s why I love this new campaign from the author of Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg. Ban Bossy!