I know you want success. And I know the more success you create, the more you want your partner to keep up. You dream of being that ‘Power Couple’ that shares big goals and dreams and creates a huge life together. I know because I’ve been there and I’m sharing this story with you today because inside this desire, I found the key. If you’ve heard me speak from stage, this may be a refresher for you. If you’re new here, settle in and enjoy!
The first time I was asked to speak at an all women’s business conference, I declined. I was scared.
I thought I was scared because my message of “play more” and “praise more” would likely get a huge eye-roll from powerful women. It DEFINITELY didn’t fit the women’s lib movement that was rapidly unfolding. It might even be considered anti-feminist by some. I know there was a point in my own life that my message would have made me gag a little.
I shared my concerns with the meeting organizer and she said, “No Kelly, women need this. I’m responsible for advancing women through the ranks of the financial industry, and one of the rungs on their ladder to success seems to be divorce. It’s like the more successful they get, the more their marriages unravel. We need help figuring this out.”
It felt like a gut-punch.
That’s when I realized the reason I was scared to speak to alpha females wasn’t because I thought they would reject my message. I KNEW they needed it.
I was scared because for the first time in my speaking career, I wouldn’t be talking about how I overcame being the “victim”.
In this case, I would have to talk about being the VILLAIN.
I would have to talk about my divorce and how it took losing half my nights, weekends, and holidays with my kids to understand my role in the divorce.
I would have to talk about how I criticized my husband a hundred times more than I complimented him- and how the more I “coached” him, the weaker he got.
I would have to talk about all the times I compared him to “more successful” men.
I would have to confess about all the respect I lost for him when he wasn’t meeting my unrealistic expectations.
Ugh. I would have to face the demise that my words alone created. On stage. In front of my peers.
My mind raced the entire time I was up there. “Are they getting this?” I wondered. “Are they judging me? Can they relate?”
As I wrapped up, not one person clapped. In fact, no one even moved. I wanted to die.
Eventually, one woman said, “Wow, I’m feeling pretty guilty right now. I do everything you just described and I never connected the dots that it’s my constant criticism that has shut my man down.”
Then, another woman volunteered, “While you were talking, I texted my husband to say thank you for all he does, and he wrote back, ‘What’s wrong? Are you having an affair? Why the sudden kindness?’”
One by one, the audience shared breakthroughs of how they hold their success over their husband’s head. How they compete within the marriage, but every time they win the competition, they lose respect for their partner.
And it’s a conversation I’ve been having with women ever since.
Our success matters. Our excellence, contribution and acceptance MATTERS. And watching women rightfully (and finally) assume their place at the top inspires me every single day. (Keep going!!)
But I think what we’re missing is that, at times, we’re perpetuating the very same problem we are trying to overcome. We are degrading our men, not with our sexist remarks about them “looking hot that day”, but by constantly showing them how they’re falling short. How they’re not measuring up. How they’re not good enough for us.
There is a funny thing about men; they have this way of proving us right!! When we tell them they aren’t good enough, they shut down, put in less effort, and prove us right. But when we affirm them and recognize their strengths- they become King Kong and put in this gallant effort to try and impress us even more.
Could they REALLY be this simple? Could they REALLY only require, food, water, sex, and a little praise?
You tell me.
Try this experiment for the next week and see if you get to go to bed every night with a better husband:
1) Give him two compliments for every complaint.
That’s it. Find ways to speak into what’s working.
Try this for one week and see what happens.
I’ll be back next week with some tips for the guys on ways to REALLY earn and keep her RESPECT. Cause when she respects you, brother, you’ve got the keys to the kingdom!
I love you and I love love. Be good to one another!
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