How to Get People to Take You Seriously

I work at a consulting company that is about 80% male and 90% consultants with over a decade of experience. In my work, I have to go in and run discussions with CEO’s, CFO’s and IT directors who are almost always male and around my father’s age.

When I first started working here, the demographics I described above really got to my head. I felt like I had no place at the table since I was so young. How could I possibly tell these 50-year-old men how to run a business project? And how could I possibly do that task with any amount of credibility backing me up? How the hell could I get people to take ME seriously?

To be honest, it took a while to get there. I was unsure of myself for a long time at the start. But lately, I feel like I’ve really been hitting my stride. And I think my confidence boils down to a few simple things that I remember every time I go to work:

First off, this is my JOB. I have shit to do. Things have to get done. A client has hired my company, and by proxy, ME, to do a job for them and I can’t let my own insecurities get in the way of completing a task at hand. If there’s one thing I’ve always been good at, it’s been getting things done efficiently. It’s like a sink or swim situation: if I don’t do a good job, I’ll get fired, so I better figure it out.

Secondly, I know my stuff. I didn’t at first, obviously. But I took the learning process seriously. I took notes meticulously, I studied, and I practiced. I realized it doesn’t matter how much experience you have, there will always be a learning curve for any job. There will always be new cultures and new information to study. What matters is how fast you retain and apply what you learn. Now that I’ve done my due diligence, I can walk into a room and feel confident that I can back up what I’m saying.

The next attribute was luckily something I already possessed: being articulate. I don’t know if it was from all the books I read or my grammar obsessed mother correcting my speaking all the time, but either way, I speak clearly, concisely, and with purpose. In my opinion, a common fault of consultants (and salespeople) is talking too much and saying very little. I have a more straightforward approach to conversation and I’m able to convey my point clearly without coming across too harshly and that approach earns me a lot of respect when others are constantly beating around the bush.

I won’t lie, I’m nervous almost every single time I have to go in to see a client or have a heavy conversation with my boss. I have to write out a bunch of lists of points to cover and literally psych myself up beforehand (this includes practicing conversations in the mirror with myself). However, each time, I remember that I really do have things to back me up. I get things done, I learn fast, and I have a lot of poise.

Every time I walk into a room, I have to remember that no matter how old or how male the other people in the room are, I have a lot to lean on in my own arsenal. I learned over time that the more I feel like I’m at a disadvantage, the more confidence I have to exude in the room. And you know what? Faking it until you make it really DOES work.

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In other news, I’m still looking for suggestions on what to focus my blog on. I want to focus on maybe three to five major areas so let me know if you have any favorite articles of mine or if there’s a topic you’d love to see me write more about!

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What do YOU want to see?

I’ve been writing a blog post every week for a year now. I’ve written almost 60 posts on this site, and I think it’s about time I ask what it is YOU want me to write about.

Maybe you think I suck and should stop writing, but I’m not here for the haters. There are a couple hundred people that do view my blogs every week and I would like to hear what is the most fun for them to read about.

I started this blog so I could have a little hobby and practice my writing (since it turns out I actually love to write), but as a result, I’ve just kind of written whatever struck my fancy that week and I’d like to hone in on a few topics that I love and that matter to the people who read my blogs. I’ve hit on a lot: travel, beauty, organization, goals, politics, fitness, sex, and relationships.

So what should I keep writing about? YOU tell ME! I could keep on writing about any of these topics but I want to make sure I’m adding something new and unique to the online world rather than the same old same old. If you’ve ever truly enjoyed even ONE of my posts, now is the time to let me know what you think I should stick to!

On the other hand, if you think there are enough blogs out there, then just stuff it and unfollow me. I started this because I enjoy writing, not because I’m trying to clog your timeline with blog posts. Through this process, I’ve learned a ton about writing, website creation, SEO, and marketing. It’s not like this space is some big deal, but it’s been amazing for me to explore certain topics and learn a few new skills. I want to continue but I just need YOUR help in figuring out a new direction for this creation! Please comment, send me a message, an email, or anything with suggestions on what topics you love reading from me!

 

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PC: The ever remarkable Clara Yu

 

How to Vomit in Your Own Hands

Great title, right? Unfortunately, on my trip to Mexico, I got intimately familiar with what getting sick on the road is like.

Those who know me know that I hardly ever get sick. Like, I barely even get the common cold. Consequently, I’ve been lucky enough to evade any travel sickness for quite a while now, so I guess it was only a matter of time before it caught up with me.

On my trip to Mexico last month, I had a slight bit of food poisoning. And when I say slight, I actually mean 24 hours of being violently ill. As the title would suggest, it was not the most glamorous affair, but I did learn a few things.

First off, I learned what food poisoning feels like (or at least, I think I do). We never could trace back my sickness to exactly what had upset my stomach but the symptoms were all there. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Graphic, I know, but bear with me. When you eat something that your stomach deems unacceptable, your body completely rejects it and tries to rid itself of the substance however it can, hence the unpleasant symptoms. For me, the nauseous feeling was intensified because it was hot and muggy, and when the sickness actually hit me, we were on perhaps the roughest bus ride I’ve ever been on, and thus my nausea could no longer be contained, and I threw up what little I had eaten that day, into my own two hands.

This brings me to the second thing: you should always travel prepared. I’m not saying you need to be like Mary Poppins and pull a whole hospital out of your bag, but you should always take a couple of key items, whether or not you commonly get sick. First and foremost: TISSUES/NAPKINS. I got in the habit of carrying napkins around with me when I was in Shanghai for a year because many places do not provide toilet paper in public bathrooms. Thank goodness the habit stuck, because I had some napkins in my bag to help me clean myself up while I was still on the bus.

Another great item is disinfecting wipes. I say wipes because a bottle is just extra liquid for your TSA approved bag, and also because on the whole, I am against hand sanitizer. I think it’s silly, it kills the immune system, and it dries out my hands, so I am NOT a fan. HOWEVER, if you throw up in your own hands, or do something equally disgusting, it might be nice to have a couple stashed nearby so you can at least feel semi clean until you get yourself to a real bathroom with real soap.

Lastly, bring some standard meds with you. We’re talking painkillers, Alka Seltzers, and any and all manner of indigestion drugs you think is applicable. When you’ve got food poisoning, there aren’t many drugs that can help at the moment, but they will help mild discomfort and might help after the fact as well.

While I was sick, I did a couple of important things — Once we got back to our hotel room, I immediately stripped to my underwear and got a cold washcloth to keep myself from overheating. My amazing boyfriend went out to get me some more cold water, coca cola, and plan crackers (or tortilla chips in Mexico’s case). The Coca-Cola I mixed with water to drink to settle my stomach. Ginger ale is ideal for this, but Coke is a reliable brand pretty much everywhere in the world. The plain crackers were so that my body wasn’t running on empty, but they are also such a mild food that they wouldn’t irritate my stomach any further.

By far the worst thing about food poisoning is that no matter how badly you try and take away the nausea, your body will insist on ridding itself of whatever you ate/drank and you have to let it run its course. At the start, I would try and prevent the vomit for as long as possible, but there was no way around it. Once I let myself be sick whenever I could feel it rising, things progressed a lot faster. Eventually, your body will be spent and there will be nothing else to get rid of. I was able to go to sleep and woke up the next morning feeling weak, but markedly better.

To recover, you must still be gentle. I continued to sip only water or coke mixed with water, and only ate plain foods the next day. The day after, however, I was able to eat and drink normally.

Being sick on the road is perhaps one of the worst things that can happen. Luckily, I was only down for 12 hours, had someone to take care of me, and we were staying in a hotel instead of a hostel so it could’ve been much worse. I remember the epidemic that swept my Shanghai study abroad group that put the majority of us down during what was supposed to be a field trip to Yunnan province. I escaped then, but I wasn’t able to escape forever.

Have you ever gotten sick while traveling? How did you handle it? I hope I don’t make a habit of this, but being prepared never hurt anyone!

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Brazilian Waxes Changed My Life

This is not an exaggeration. Before my trip to Mexico, I got my first ever Brazilian Bikini Wax. I had gotten bikini waxes before and had waxed other parts of my body but I had never ventured into Brazilian territory…

Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, a Brazilian Bikini Wax is a waxing treatment wherein all, I mean ALL, of the hair in your nether regions is removed. Front, back, crevices — everything.

I think most people look at the Brazilian Wax in intense fear. Having the hair in your privates torn out by hot wax? Yeah, I cannot be the only one that thinks that sounds terrifying. The initial fear is of the pain. Waxing hurts, and waxing that area? Are you kidding? It hurts like a BITCH. But let’s say you can get past the pain, the next thing you’re probably worried about are the actual logistics. You are in a small room, with a stranger, your legs spread open, trying to make small talk, as your pubic hairs are being ripped systematically from your body. Ah yes, this is what I picture a great night to be as well.

I did think about both of those factors, but the lure of convenience eventually won me over. I didn’t want to have to worry about shaving and razor rash while on vacation, so this seemed like a viable option. I was well past ‘beauty is pain’, CONVENIENCE is pain.

Turns out, a Brazilian is a lot like most other quick and painful things in life. They are definitely painful, but the pain is so fleeting that you are able to forget and continue. Luckily for me, I also had a great technician who made me feel as comfortable as possible and who was extremely efficient. The whole process took about a half hour which includes tweezing at the end for any hairs the wax doesn’t pick up.

And wow, just wow. It is so unbelievably clean. When you wax, you not only pull out the hair by the root, but you also remove any wispy hairs, and the very top layer of skin, leaving what remains to be insanely smooth. Ultimately, I just want to dispel any fear anyone has ever had of this treatment. My logic going into it was that there are women all over the world who get this done regularly, so how bad can it be? And if you’re looking for that kind of convenience and a departure from the endless cycle of shaving, but you can’t quite afford to get it all lasered off, then I can’t recommend this enough.

Was it painful? Absolutely. But was it worth it? Absolutely.

 

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My bikinis just get smaller and smaller so this wax really comes in clutch