Welcome to the Who Took My Pen … Again? Annual Blog-a-thon for Administrative Professionals. If you are just tuning in, here’s the scoop! We are holding 4th Annual Blog-a-thon for the Administrative Profession. We hold this blog-a-thon each April and the goal is to make assistants aware of the resources available to them and build a community of administrative assistant and executive assistants who want to learn and grow and flourish in their career of choice! To learn more about the blog-a-thon and how you can win great prizes check out the Administrative Professional’s Blog-a-thon Page for the full message.
Today’s chapter excerpt is from the chapter titled [Be] Courageous.
Here’s a personal story: Years ago, my biscuits came out so painfully bad I couldn’t serve them to a dog, let alone people. They were like brown rocks, hard as hockey pucks and tasteless, too! My cooking embarrassed me and I lost confidence.
It occurred to me one day that I needed to risk failure again and again, and be okay with that. So, I got the ingredients for many batches of biscuits and told my poor husband, “We’re having biscuits every night until I get this. I apologize in advance.” Poor man; he got hockey pucks for at least two weeks until one night, along with not over kneading the dough and fully pre-heating the oven, I also rounded the baking powder up rather than scraping the measuring spoon flat. The results were perfect, flaky, light golden biscuits! (I don’t know who was happier: he or I!)
Facing fear always involves facing the fear of rejection. Most people in their early years gain acceptance by blending in with others. During school years, this group synergy brings a belonging, a place of acceptance and with it, a feeling of safety.
Then the working years begin, and we take that desire for belonging and comfort with us. Instead of wanting to stand out (in a good way, based on our talents and skills!) we desire safety and crave acceptance. Soon, the fear of failure holds us firmly in its grip. We give up confidence and trying new challenges in favor of blending.
Yet most of us once learned how to ride a bicycle, to swim, to drive a car, perhaps even play a sport or musical instrument, which required that we begin as novices and work up in skill to a level of mastery.
Where, oh where, did we lose that acceptance of ourselves as novices? Why did we give up our ability to grow our skill to a level of mastery?
Acknowledge Your Fear
Everyone has fears, whether they admit them or not. But what kind of fears might an executive assistant have? Fear of losing the job, vocalizing something that upsets the manager responsible for signing annual performance reviews, fear of standing out or stepping up, fear of the unknown; of taking on a new task …
How about fear of your idea not being accepted or a manager thinking your idea is frivolous? What about holding back, not offering up that good idea or suggesting a new approach, so you detract from adding value.
Assistants are on the front line and so they see and hear a lot their executive may not even be aware of. Executive assistants have a sixth sense about things and therefore, their ideas can be very valuable. You can save your leader, department, or organization time and money by being courageous.
- Learn, study, and practice strategies for communicating your ideas in a confident manner.
- Be okay with rejection. (Babe Ruth had 8,399 career at-bats and 1,330 career strikeouts, which is only a .342 career batting average! It’s considered phenomenal.)
- Not all your ideas are going to be accepted and that is okay, but find out why not, so you can learn the reason behind the rejection.
- Arm yourself with facts. It’s difficult for someone to disagree with you when you have facts to back up your idea or suggestion.
- Consider the worst-case scenario, then “do it anyway.”
In closing, ask yourself today what are you afraid to try. Is it:
- Giving a presentation to peers
- Speaking up for yourself
- Sharing an idea with your manager
- Learning piano
- Requesting approval to attend the Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence
- Making scratch biscuits
I have one suggestion for you: do it anyway!
Nancy Fraze, Contributing Author, Who Took My Pen … Again? Secrets From Dynamic Executive Assistants