How Nice Girls and Guys Can Finish First

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be the change for pets

by: Carol Bryant

Nice girls (and guys) can finish first.

I saw the title of that book at a writer’s conference I attended a few years ago, and it struck me. Something in it called it and said, “you must purchase me.” I did, and honestly, it has been one of those “where have you been all my life” type books.

The book is all about getting respect, overcoming fears, and dispelling those voices so many of us hear in our heads that say “you aren’t good enough” or “you don’t deserve this.”  We do deserve more and we are better than good: we are phenomenal.

As someone who has overcome a past including self-doubt, it’s nice to get a check up now and then; an oil change, if you will. So with my Nice Girls book in tow, I absorbed many of the lessons the author, Daylle Deanna Schwartz, imparted. Not everything resonates with me in her teachings, but there are chapters that have more dog ears than a pack of Huskies on a snowy day.

Why am I sharing all this? Why is it that so many people are self-defeatist to one another? I liken it to sabotage and throwing someone under the bus. It kind of sucks having to walk around with an invisible wall around oneself but this is the world in which we live.

You Get the Respect You Expect

How many of you agree with that statement? If I could stand on my chair with ardent enthusiasm and write that, I would. One mistake does not make you a screwball, gaining weight over the holidays doesn’t mean you are a loser, and not knowing the answer to something does not make you stupid. In fact, having a different political opinion that someone does not make you right. If you are fair and open-minded and willing to agree to disagree with someone, this makes you human.

I belong to a variety of online groups and social media communities, as I am sure many of you do. I cannot begin to tell you the amount of in-fighting and negativity I see where someone ends up unfriending someone else, this one said that about blah blah, and the whole thing becomes a convoluted mess. Why bother? Give respect and expect respect: And if they don’t give it back, move on. Why throw someone under the bus when you can control the direction of your own vehicle?

Think Before Saying Yes

I see so many self-deprecating comments online or in forums where folks are overwhelmed, they took on too much, or they pile on so many expectations  of themselves that they burn out. I know: I’ve done it. And I can teach you something about that journey into self exhaustion: Learn to just say no. The author of the Nice Girls books recommends asking yourself these questions when confronted with a “can you do this for me” scenario that goes beyond work or the scope of your job:

  • Will this take me out of my way and expend time I cannot afford?
  • Is this something I truly want to do?
  • Will it make me complain later?
  • Do I really want to help this person?
  • Why should I feel obligated to agree?

If you take a few breaths before responding or simply reply, “I’ll get back to you on that,” you can further assess the situation and determine if it’s a fit for you and your schedule. Saying no does not mean you are a negative person: It means you respect yourself enough to say no in the first place.

Fear of Failure

I’m outing myself here: I put too much pressure on myself at times and rather than fail at something, I will avoid it until I can’t any longer. Have you ever felt this way?

I’ve also seen folks who will purposely set someone up for failure with their negativity or complete disregard for a person’s self esteem. These are people from which you need to run far, far away.

Here’s what I’ve learned to do and that the author of the Nice Girls book recommends:

  • Acknowledge out loud that you are scared – this could be something as small as having to make a phone call all the way up to giving a speech in public.
  • Identify what exactly you are afraid of – don’t belittle someone for their fears; what might seem unimportant to you might be a huge hurdle in someone else’s day
  • Think about the best outcomes, not the worst.
  • Expect the best to happen.
  • Act – do something. Do not let fear paralyze you or keep you from your task(s).

Feeling scared is normal. Facing fear is empowering. There will always be obstacles, negative people, and those who are uncooperative. That is called reality, but how you choose to react is all up to you.

I decided long ago that when negative people, pot stirrers, and drama queens and kings come a’callin, I don’t engage. Disengaging is the best way to handle a naysayer. If it’s at work and you cannot avoid the person, just “uh huh” and “oh I see” them and don’t engage.

Be your own cheerleader. Be a blogger who gives and not just one who takes. Stop talking solely about yourself and your own problems. Everyone gets tired of the same song played over and over. Most of all, be your real authentic self and let  no one stop you from being the nice girl (or guy) that deep down inside you are.

How do you handle negativity and naysayers IRL (in real life) and/or on social media sites and your blog?