While gathering definitions for the word “GUTSY”, to be used in my new book being released soon. I had an epiphany. Maybe there are times to just be still, not show your confident, brash, exuberant, irreverent side.
I sat with this for most of a day, letting it roll around in my mind like a chocolate drop that did not melt quickly. What happens if a gutsy woman stays quiet? Is it a cop-out? Is there a mandate that if you wear the badge of gutsy you always need to speak up?
I played with the down side of gutsy. I thought of times in high school when I personally felt something was amiss with a teacher or a subject. I had a strong rebel pattern in my DNA and sometimes ended up in the assistant principal’s office with a request to “cool it”.
That did not happen often. However, those times I stood out to take a risk I often found myself alone; my friends bailed on me, heads down on the sidelines. It was a time when girls were programmed to be pleasers and play a secondary role. It was okay to be vice president of the school, being president was for a guy. It was like playing roles in “Mad Men”, younger version.
We are social creatures and almost all of us really want to be accepted, to be part of “the crowd”. So, gutsy can be a burden. Yet, I believe the atmosphere has changed, is changing. It is filled with more and more gutsy girls and women who are less afraid to speak up and there are less assistant principals telling the girls to “cool it”.
The best models of gutsy women I have come across also know that there is a time to remain silent, to let ideas simmer, to give folks a chance to digest what is new and innovative rather than thrust it in their faces when push back would be greatest.
As any world renowned maestro will tell us, it’s all in the timing.
I totally agree. It’s important to have both the ability to speak up and the sense to know the appropriate time to do so. Even the most forthright leaders need to reserve time and space for others to think, react, and speak.
Audrey Geddes says
You make some excellent points in this article. I agree that gutsy does not mean pushy and that waiting for the right time to respond is critical. My boss has been exploring ways to improve our staff communication through success coaching with an expert in business, Kathleen Ranahan. I highly recommend any company doing this whether new or not. We are now able to work better as a team, which has also increased our productivity.