I recently heard of the Ban Bossy campaign. Ban Bossy is designed to empower and encourage girls to take on leadership roles. While the program does offer some helpful leadership tips, the take away is, as the name suggests, to ban the word bossy. The campaign claims that using the word bossy to describe an outspoken girl only discourages her from reaching her full leadership potential. All I can say is – not in my case.
I worked in a male dominated field for nearly ten years, where I met my fair share of naysayers. I took criticism, dealt with skepticism, and was discounted because of my stature, education and simply because I was female. I could have easily developed a complex and given up. But – that’s not me.
The best way to motivate me is to tell me I can’t do something. The more I was doubted the harder I worked to prove them wrong. In the end, I had proven the naysayers wrong and earned their respect in the process. And that is why I am not crazy about the Ban Bossy campaign.
|My daughter and I riding Ty. For us, it’s all attitude!|
In the seven years I worked at the feed yard, I heard the phrase, “It’s all attitude,” more times than I can remember. It is the catch phrase of my former boss (and role model). He would use those words to encourage the crew to do better than what we thought was our best. Because with the right attitude, you can achieve anything. A seemingly impossible task is in fact possible, if you simply adjust your attitude and set your mind to it. For example:
The other day, with the help of my best horse (Ty) and our two best stock dogs, I moved our herd of more than 600 yearling heifers into a new pasture. When we got started, everything was going smooth. We gathered the herd with ease. But once gathered, things took an abrupt turn for the worse. The heifers became extremely curious about the dogs. And instead of moving away from the dogs, they followed them. The dogs, overwhelmed by the mob of cattle running toward them, moved away leading the heifers in the opposite direction and away from the gate. Needless to say, I was getting frustrated.
Throughout the whole fiasco “it’s all attitude” kept running through my head and I knew I couldn’t get discouraged and give up. I just needed to regroup. I kept my cool, took the dogs over the hill, made them stay, and headed back to the herd to try again. With the distraction of the dogs eliminated, Ty and I were able to successfully move the heifers through the gate and into the new pasture. If I had let a bad attitude set in, the move never would have happened.
Whether it is moving heifers or just life in general, even seemingly easy tasks can get challenging. There will always be obstacles that stand in the way of success. And, there is no way to totally eliminate naysayers and negativity. Being a mom and having been a female in a male dominated career field, I feel the better way to empower and encourage is not to Ban Bossy, but to teach youth how to turn the challenges and negativity into motivation to succeed. I know it can be done – I’ve done it. It’s all attitude.