Have you ever felt like you had to fly under the radar or dumb yourself down or be less of yourself to make other people comfortable, or to not get a negative response?
Oftentimes, strong, powerful, confident, and successful women have to or choose to fly under the radar, or hide who they really are, and it's really ticking me off.
If you can relate, I am just like you. This topic comes from my personal experience as a woman who at times had to hide my true self, not speak up and choose to fly under the radar to fit in.
I’ve also seen this with my coaching clients who definitely would raise their hand and say,
What flying under the radar means
The idea of flying under the radar is to not be so high, so strong, so confident, so successful and win things so you don't get on other people's radar as someone to attack, cut down, gossip about, dislike or whatever it may be.
I flew under the radar many times…
This has been true for me most of my life.
(In these blog posts, I'm going to be starting to share more of the vulnerable stories of what I've been facing and what others have been facing, and then the triumphant results of them.)
It was true for me in sports when I was invited onto a boy's rep team for soccer, I was not accepted and no one would partner with me. In my coed soccer league, I had very harsh insults, swear words and derogatory comments thrown at me when I would take the ball away from them. I was just 12 or 13. As my daughter is 11, I can't even believe the things that were said to me that are probably still being said to girls today.
In high school, when I ran for Student Council President, the other candidate tried to win by spreading vicious lies, attacking my character and making up sexual rumours. I still won, but at what cost? I had to repair my name, prove myself, and he continued to run his mouth about me even when I was doing a great job. When it came time to pick the class Valedictorian, I chose not to put my name forward (even though it was a dream of mine) because I feared I’d face the same from him, so instead I decided to fly under the radar.
This has happened in so many areas of my life where I was cut down or felt negativity from others because I've been successful or confident. This is not me bragging. This is me speaking my truth in relation to you and hundreds of women I have coached on this topic.
If you are a woman who has felt this, then I get it. Sometimes it's just so tiring. It's so frustrating because we're just doing our best. We're doing what brings us joy, and we're using the gifts that God has given us, and then people want to be hurtful because they are jealous or threatened by us.
What I see in corporate, is women not putting their hands up for roles because if they do, they're potentially going to lose all of their friends that they're currently working with. They don't go for positions. They don't ask for a raise because of what people will say about them.
Will they be treated differently? The answer usually is, “They will”. But we can’t let that stop us!!!
A few years back, maybe four or five years ago, I wanted to interview a bunch of women. Some of the requirements were making multiple six figures or seven figures and some sort of leadership role. What I found is in these interviews, is this concept kept coming up over and over and over again: Life is just easier if I fly under the radar. This made me so sad and pretty pissed off!
Life is easier and more enjoyable if I don't stick my neck out, or if I don't win things. That saddens me and it also scares me. It saddens me because these women are not living at their full potential for fear of what other people will say, will do, or the repercussions.
There should not be repercussions to doing well. Yes, you win a sport, you win a game, you are the gold medallist, whatever it may be, there will be people who are jealous of you and there will be people who wish they were you. But to be in a workplace with coworkers, you may have other people treat you differently, or have it out for you or in my case, other people in the industry coming after me. What kind of world are we in where we can't just all do well ourselves? What if everyone just did well and stopped putting their negativity on others?
Sad and scary
It saddens me because people, specifically women, are settling and playing small, me included, because it was just easier. It's just easier to not be the one in the public eye.
I feel like I've been pulled back the past few years. It takes a lot of stamina. I don't know how some of the famous people do it. It takes a lot of emotional and mental stamina to be able to be in the public eye, to take criticism and have people cutting you down for no reason at all. They don't even know you.
It saddens me that women aren't feeling like they can step up and step into these bigger roles and play big. It also saddens me for the women that are around them, that are watching them and thinking, “Well, if she is not going for that, and she's more confident than me, more successful than me, or more experienced than me, then I shouldn't either.”
It's got this trickling down negative effect. Plus, not just women to women or peer to peer, but what about the girls coming behind us, the future women who have fewer role models to look up to?
I know for me in the teaching side of things and coaching side, there are a lot of women. It's really easy for me to look to role models in that way. There are a lot of great female speakers, but not enough that we see. Not enough on the main stages.
How many times has a woman gotten on stage, and I've heard people complain about her outfit, complain about her voice, complain that she's too confident?
That's the sad side.
Do you know what the scary side is? The scary side is gender equality and pay equity, these things are not going to get any better if we diminish ourselves. I know we're not doing this on purpose, but we're doing this out of survival. There's just so much going on. It's different for everybody, but we’re trying to be perfect:
We're trying to be the perfect everything. It's not just that we're always trying, but it's kind of expected. If we're making an effort to do all these things, how then are we also going to show up as our fullest in these places when we know that there's a chance that people will take us down?
Don’t fly under the radar - I want to interview you!
I don't want us to fly under the radar anymore. What I'd love to do is see us soar. BUT HOW?
I’m going into research mod again. I want to interview maybe 10 to 15 women who are making six figures or multiple six figures or seven figures (I only say that because you've probably been established in your business or your company and have a lot of experience with this, and you're playing at that higher level).
I still sometimes say to my business advisor, “I thought when I was more successful, brought in more money and had more clients, things would be easier.” But the truth is, new level, new devil. You don't even realize who's going to come out of the woodwork after you. I don't say this to scare the people who are starting their business and such, but I'm just given the reality of it.
If you want to be interviewed, email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. You have to be in your position, your company, or your own business for at least a few years, not just in the startup stage, unless you've just come from having a business or something for more years. If you're in some sort of leadership position, or you’re on your own time, and you've had an experience where you felt, “Man, it would just be easier to just lie low a little bit, to not put myself out there.” I want to talk to you too.
I want to have a conversation, doing some research for some really exciting stuff that's coming up. You will not only be part of the interview, but I'll share the results with you. I'm also going to bring all of these ladies who can be highfliers, but sometimes feel like it's just easier to fly under the radar.
Stay tuned for what is coming with this and reach out if we can have a chat about it.
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