3 Ways Women Can Modernize Behavior

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what Daisy said. Scott Fitzgerald’s Daisy in The Great Gatsby. It’s been a few years since I’ve read the book, and I read it in college, a time during which information was stuffed so quickly into my brain that I didn’t have time to commit it to long term memory.

Basically, this means I don’t remember as much as I’d like to about The Great Gatsby, but one part of the book has stayed with me over the years: the part when Daisy says to Nick,

“…I hope she’ll be a fool–that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”

I’ve been out of college for a few years, and I’m not going to lie – being a woman in the workforce, especially an unmarried woman in a male-dominated field, is not easy. Ideally, I’d like to forgive and forget, but I tend remember the wrongs committed against me and other women. Some of these wrongdoings include the following:

  • My sanity has been held in question because I’m dating a high-energy, borderline eccentric person, especially in comparison to my last boyfriend who was very quiet and considered a “Southern Gentleman.”
  • My coworkers have made it clear that my stature as a small woman works against me because I don’t take up as much physical space as a man … or the other larger women in my office (who are not large, but simply taller and thicker than I am).
  • One of my coworkers, who has worked at the company for less time than I have, informed me that he would be taking an executive role in the office as soon as the position became available. He informed me that he had already been selected for the position.
  • A male coworker informed me that the only reason I’m pulled over is because I’m an attractive woman. (I guess I’m incapable of committing a crime…)
  • An executive also said, in my presence and in the presence of another female coworker, we could “slap some lipstick” on a potential candidate so that he would cost less to hire. Apparently, he pays women who work for him less than the men who work for him. This was a mistake to say in front of two of his female employees, but I guess he’s not worried about facing consequences.

These are only a few of the sexist things that have been said about me or to me. Sometimes, I fantasize about leaving this position to move to a different company, but I already know this type of behavior is prevalent in more companies than not. In fact, women are probably treated much better at my place of work than many other places.

It still feels odd to me that it’s the 21st century and women are still called “crazy” or borderline crazy or always on the precipice of crazy just waiting for any small event to push us over the edge.

Even the respectable men in my life are free to say things like, “Unfortunately I was too old for the f’ing gorgeous girls … and married.” Yikes. In those moments I genuinely feel sorry for men who are don’t understand that 1. Young women will still go for older men with money because they believe that the world will never work in their favor, so why work? 2. Marriage is voluntary – especially for men.

I understand that this is all a very surface-level complaint of these injustices. I also understand that we all play a role in the socioeconomic composition of our country, so I can’t be angry at one single man – except for the one who rests his hard private parts on my leg while cutting my bangs – I cut my own hair these days.

So, lately, aside from being angry (Why yes, women do have that emotion – fancy that), I’ve been contemplating what women should do if they aren’t beautiful little fools. I’ve compiled a short list of strategies I’ve used to change the perception of women in the workplace:

1. This is obvious, but don’t lose your cool.

Recently, I experienced severe bullying from another female coworker (wow, I guess women can commit crime… ). As the situation deteriorated, I felt the need to remove myself from the situation and work from home for a week. Upon my return, my coworkers, who by this point knew about the bullying because HR had interviewed every single one of them, were shocked that I was able to treat the bully respectfully. Even more shocking, apparently, was my ability to have productive meetings with her in the room. If you’re reading this and you’re a woman, I know you’re not shocked. But, the point is many people don’t believe we’re capable of handling situations like an adult.

2. Treat men respectfully – this means creating and sticking to some healthy boundaries.

People do unintentionally carry on the flaws of their ancestors, and I don’t believe they should be burned at the stake for carrying over some of these flawed ways of thinking; however, I do believe in setting boundaries. My coworkers know that, if they say something inappropriate, I will call them out – in front of whoever they said it in front of. Your situation may be different from mine, so please take this point with caution. You may have a very different relationship with your coworkers, so please don’t do anything that will get you fired. You should set healthy boundaries in all your relationships, including the ones you have with your family. Setting healthy boundaries (in a respectful and calm way) demonstrates to those around you that you, as a human being, have power. You have the power to say no, and you have the power to stand up against injustice.

Please note: if you are in any sort of abusive relationship, you should be seeking professional advice – not mine. This advice should always be taken with caution because, if you have not set boundaries with someone before, there certainly is a chance the person will react badly. For example, I set a boundary with my parents once – I told them, very calmly, that I would no longer participate in yelling matches. …they kicked me out of the house. Be careful when setting boundaries and start small with people you trust.

3. Focus on you, not other people.

One of the best things you can do as a woman is to not give a flip what other people think about you. This might also be the hardest thing to do because we’re hardwired to please others, especially the men in our lives. When you stop caring what others think of you, you’re freeing up mental space. To see just how much mental space, watch Dr. Caroline Heldman’s Tedx talk below:

Save that mental space for something useful. If nothing else, save that space to for your own enjoyment.

Just yesterday, I finally realized what Daisy meant: she meant that foolish women have the luxury of not noticing (or maybe just not caring) that women are often at the mercy of men’s choices, and often “beautiful little fools” are treated better than intelligent women with opinions. While I’m not sure it’s better to be beautiful and foolish, yesterday, it occurred to me that I do not have the power to determine my own value. Men who don’t know me currently determine my value as a human being. They determine my value by keeping me out of the male dominated circles where decisions that impact my life are made without my input.

But, I wouldn’t be writing this if I thought I couldn’t do anything to change these sad facts. Women do have power, and collectively, I think we can stop allowing men to determine our worth. Maybe it’s as simple as recognizing we give up our power every time we allow a man to cross a boundary.

…maybe I should have gotten up out of that chair in the middle of having my bangs cut…

7 Ways to Capitalize on Your Wealth

This post contains affiliate links

The first step to building wealth is accepting that you have wealth. It may sound counter-intuitive because if you’re trying to build wealth, you might feel like you have little to no wealth.

This simply isn’t true. Recently, on The School of Greatness podcast [episode 1067], Priyanka Chopra Jonas challenged listeners to think about it this way: You can always find someone worse off than yourself. Always. If you find it difficult to think of things to be grateful for, start with that. I know it’s a little dark and depressing, but the truth is you’ll always have the ability to think of someone else in a worse situation than yourself. Think of this person, whether real or imaginary, and list what you have that this person does not have. List the reasons you should be thankful.

https://lewishowes.com/podcast/priyanka-chopra-jonas-create-self-worth-find-happiness-choose-yourself/

This brings us to step 1.

Step 1. Learn to live in abundance by practicing gratitude.

The first step to capitalizing on your wealth is by recognizing it when you see it. I fully admit, this is where I struggle the most! It feels easy to slip into a routine of working 24/7 or trying to use up every second of every day focusing on what task you must complete next.

But when we are always in a hurry, too busy to clear your kitchen table or fold the laundry on the couch, we miss the little things we can count as blessings. For example, if you have a couch, you are wealthy – you have a place to sleep if nothing else! Hopefully, you have many more things to be grateful for than a couch to sleep on, but there may be times in your life when you don’t. During a debt-payoff journey or really anytime in life, it’s important to practice gratitude for what you have. Practicing gratitude changes your mindset from a negative mindset to a positive mindset, and having a positive mindset opens you up to greater opportunity.

For example, my first apartment was in a terrible part of town. A person was murdered in the building next to mine, and I routinely reported gunshots to the police. The parking lot across from my apartment complex was a meetup location for the biggest gangs in the city. During that time in my life, it felt like I didn’t have much to be thankful for, but that wasn’t the case. I had a place to sleep, I had a good job, and I was going to school. Going to school allowed me to find a better job and a better apartment!

Step 2. Take care of what you already have.

This includes you! You’ve heard it before: if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. It may sound obvious, but one of the best ways to capitalize on your wealth is to simply avoid buying something new. Recently, I learned this lesson (again) the hard way: my car started making a strange noise and had difficulty starting. What did I do? … I ignored it. Several hundred dollars later, it was decided that the car was a lost cause, and I ended up having to purchase a new (used) vehicle.

Part of the issue was the fact that the vehicle I owned is frequently referred to as a “mechanical nightmare.” This couldn’t be helped; however, if I hadn’t ignored the issue, I likely could have kept that vehicle for longer than I did.

Step 3. Let go of the excess.

Letting go of the excess allows you to more clearly see what you have. If you haven’t already read Marie Kondo’s The Magic of Tidying Up, I highly recommend you do. Clearing out the clutter can help you make significant and unexpected changes in your life. I’ve included a link to her book below. If you would rather save some cash, you can most likely find this gem of a book at your public library. I bought this book when it first came out. After I’d finished reading it, I sent it to my sister – who never returned it – because it’s a really good book. It’s a fun and easy read, and decluttering strangely does have the power to impact your life in surprising ways.

Step 4. Find a home and a use for your belongings.

Finding a specific place and use for every item in your home allows you to accomplish several goals:

  1. Giving each item a home forces you to be intentional about where you place things which can help you declutter and also remember where to put the item if it gets moved.
  2. Giving every item a use will allow you to determine whether or not you need to keep the item. If you don’t have a use for an item, either give it a purpose or give it away.

This is one of my favorite decluttering tutorials:

Step 5. Turn your free time into passive income time.

Whether you like to invest or prefer something closer to blogging, it’s important to have passive income of some sort. My passive income currently consists of my 401(k), but, according to Todd Miller, author of ENRICH: Create Wealth in Time, Money, and Meaning, you should have multiple streams of passive income.

I highly recommend listening to the Millennial Money podcast, episode 228, to hear Todd Miller give advice on how to set yourself up for an “enriched life.”

https://www.mmoneypodcast.com/blog/

Click the image below to check out Todd Miller’s book:

Step 6. Thrive off of helping others.

How can helping others help you capitalize on your wealth? In my experience, helping others does three things:

  1. It takes the focus off of yourself which can help you open your mind to different possibilities. This is useful because it’s easy to feel consumed by your financial journey, or school, or work. Taking some of the focus of off yourself and placing it on people who are important to you can help you remember why you’re striving towards your goals.
  2. It helps you realize the value you bring to the table. For example, I recently started helping people with their resumes. It’s something I enjoy doing, and it’s something I’m good at. In fact, every person I’ve helped has interviewed with a potential employer shortly after I worked with them to revamp their resume. It’s a way that I can see value in myself, and it helps me shift my focus from my own problems to finding solutions to those problems. It makes me feel productive and capable of solving problems, and I genuinely enjoy helping other people achieve their goals – even if I can only help in small ways.
  3. Finally, helping others helps you recognize your skillsets. In college, I was given the gift of a full-ride scholarship for the last two years of my education. Along with the scholarship, we were expected to complete a certain number of volunteer hours. During those volunteer hours, I was allowed to try different things, from picking up trash to making hummus in an industrial kitchen. It helped me learn about myself. For example, I’m not skilled at manual labor (an underrated and valuable skill I wish I had), but I’m good at finding creative solutions. I’m good at solving problems by thinking and coming up with a variety of solutions.

Step 7. Stop and smell the roses.

This is another area where I struggle. I can work and work and work until I finally run out of energy. By the time that happens, I’ve forgotten all of the reasons why I was working so hard in the first place. The whole reason you should be working towards financial independence or getting out of debt is to enjoy your life more. Living life should be joyful and fun. You should love what you do, and if you don’t, I firmly believe that you need to find something you do love. Life is too short to give up so much of your time to something you don’t love.