Laurel asked, “Who here is a good girl and a perfectionist?”  She discussed the social conditioning that leads girls to believe they can’t be angry or say how they feel.  Perfectionism comes from a fixed mindset, vs. a growth mindset.  A fixed mindset requires:

  • achievement at all costs
  • failure is not allowed

This leads to over-cautious behavior.  Perfectionists tend to second-guess themselves.  For women in particular, this does not exude confidence.

Apology rules

  • Don’t apologize when it’s not your fault.
  • People would rather receive a compliment than an apology.

An audience member announced, “I am no longer a good girl at work.”  Another audience discussed her emotional and angry 13-year-old daughter.  One of the challenges she faces in parenting her child is reconciling the 21st century era of parenting to her perfectionistic mother.  “Seniors’ threshold of insults is much lower,” she explained.  “How do you break this age gap?’

Laurel said that when she was a teenager, she looked for direction.  Josie, on the other hand, said, “Don’t tell me what to do!”  Laurel provided the following suggestion:

Mum, I love you for who you are and I love you for who you’re not.  I have spent my lifetime worrying about what you think and it hasn’t been helpful.  I don’t want to pass that on to my children.  Please honor who I am as a mother and please be a role model to my children.  I have the right to raise them according to my internal values.

An audience member, Nicole, posed a candid query.  She and her brother just buried their mother.  While she loved her mother, she also found her a very strict perfectionist.  Minor infractions, such as spilt milk or food, resulted in severe consequences.  Nicole spent most of her childhood constantly apologizing.  It is so ingrained now that her colleagues find it strange when she apologizes for similar mishaps.  “Why are you apologizing all the time?  Everybody spills stuff!” they say.  Nicole asked the presenters, “How do you overcome the impact and influence of these early childhood experiences so that you can be more effective at work?”  The presenters thanked her for her query and agreed to come back to this question.

Josie and Laurel asked parents to “have a think” about the message you’re sending your son or daughte rwhen you over-apologize:

  • I’m invisible
  • I don’t count
  • Don’t worry about me

They also discussed controlling relationships, such as the one Nicole described.  One of the twins was in a controlling romantic relationship.  She had always considered herself a strong woman.  She knows now that these entrapments can happen to anybody.  “It eats away at you,” she said.  To the audience’s dismay, she explained that at one point, she found herself apologizing for the way she hung up the bath net.  Thankfully, she is well out of that relationship now.

Josie and Laurel discussed “little” shifts, such as eliminating the word ‘just’ from your emails.  They also discussed “big calls”.  Be prepared for push-back and be prepared to be called “abrasive” and all its synonyms, because people are resistant to change!

Next post:  Change in steps


About Saranya Murthy

Writing is my life's work.
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