Women Smiling

It’s time to stop saying “just”

Let’s be honest: most of us don’t like confrontation.

The types of conversations that require us to confront, badger or negotiate are often the conversations that we put at the bottom of the to-do list.

They’re uncomfortable and hard and awkward and we don’t like them. So it’s totally understandable that we therefore want to avoid them!

However, this week, I’ve picked up an invaluable little tip that can help you regain just a little bit of power in these types of uncomfortable situations.

And it all boils down to one word: just.

Think about it: how many emails or conversations do you begin with the word ‘just’ towards the beginning?

“I just wanted to give some feedback on…”

“I’m just following up on the email I sent you…”

“I just wanted to check about…”

Or the double:

Sorry to bother you, but I just wanted to see if you’ve had a chance to look at XYZ…”

This type of language puts us on the back foot immediately and gives the other party the ‘upper hand’ in the conversation.

That’s why we need to remove the words ‘just’ (and the equally submissive ‘sorry’) from our day-to-day vocabulary, suggests psychologist Alison Hill.

“Socially, women are held in high regard by others if they’re pleasant, kind to others and caring – all of these are attributes of being ‘nice’,” Alison says.

But being too nice can come across as being a doormat, she adds.

“Many people start a sentence apologising – even though they’ve done nothing wrong – and then use phrases such as, ‘I just need two minutes’ or, ‘I just have a question’. Both of these have a sense of submissiveness – remove these words and automatically your message will be more direct.”

The take-home message? Whether you’re talking to a mate, a work colleague or your boss, delete ‘just’ from your correspondence – and see how much more success you have in getting the result you want.

Workplace Woman Man

Workplace power plays

There are many, many ways in which men and women are not ‘equal’ in the workforce.

There are the obvious, big issues, like pay equality and board quotas – these are often discussed and they’re important. Many businesses are looking for ways to rectify the imbalance and hopefully, it won’t be long before male and female wages will be less impacted by gender, and more influenced by capability and experience.

But there’s another issue at play in the workforce, and I don’t know if it’s one we’ll actually ever conquer. Not without major, fundamental societal change, that is.

It’s something that every single woman who has ever worked has had to deal with at some point.

I’m talking about sexual harassment.

Now you might be reading this, thinking, “Well I’m a woman and I’ve never been sexually harassed.”

Well to be clear, my definition of sexual harassment doesn’t simply mean a man physically assaulting a woman.

I’m also talking about all of the ways a man exerts his power in a sexual way, to subvert you as a woman.

Things like offering you a job, promotion or opportunity, and then taking that offer away because you don’t want to sleep with him.

Or going so far as to fire you for thwarting his sexual advances.

Or engaging you in flirty conversation that you really don’t want to be a part of, but that you don’t know how to shut down, so you banter back.

Or being hit on when you really just want to get on with your work.

Or the hugs that last a little too long; the hands that rests too low on your hip; the unwanted comments about what you’re wearing or how you look or how much you weigh.

These are not things that men have to worry about.

But they’re scenarios that women deal with all the time.

We may be working towards equality in the workplace – but until these types of daily power plays are reigned in, women are always going to be on the back foot in the workplace.

A Gold Coast Suns AFL player is interviewed on camera

You Blew it

The Gold Coast Suns have had some absolute stinkers, some very recently, but Sunday’s 72 point loss to Port Adelaide in Shanghai was the clubs worst in its history.

Ever.

It was not the size of the loss; they have been thumped by much more this year alone.

It was not even the poor skills, decision making and lack of aggression at the contest, though obviously this combination of factors didn’t help.

What made the loss at the weekend the worst in the club’s history was the complete failure to seize the moment.

Huge amounts of corporate dollars and potential memberships, a spot in the top 8, pride, passion, history – the Suns had every reason imaginable to win on Sunday and failed miserably when it mattered most

Not even after a massive war of words build up between Suns Chairman Tony Cochrane and Port President David Koch, one that saw Cochrane speak of pride in the jumper and the integrity of the club, could the Suns steel themselves for a gutsy upset victory.

They even had momentum and confidence, having beaten Geelong at home the week before.

Surely they knew what this game meant, that there were bigger factors than 4 pts at play.

They should have taken a grand final type mentality into the contest – give everything or die trying.

And after you’re dead, get up and give more.

You can bet your life that Koch and Power coach Ken Hinkley were in the Port rooms before the game impressing upon the players this exact sentiment.

Sure some fans could point to the young list and lack of experience, or perhaps the late withdrawal of key defender Rory Thompson in the warm up.

Some, like Suns coach Rodney Eade, could sit there and scratch their heads lamenting that they ‘didn’t see that coming’.

But none of that matters at the end of the day.

What matters is when it counted, we missed targets, made poor decisions, didn’t tackle, weren’t hard enough, sold teammates into trouble, and didn’t run hard enough for nearly long enough.

When it mattered most, Eade was comprehensively outcoached.

Sitting there in stunned silence at half time – even before the second half carnage and lack of effort even started – my subconscious reached for words to explain what I was seeing.

It settled upon a film from my youth, a scene in which a grown man named Billy Madison becomes angry at his classmate Ernie whilst on the phone.

Three words echoed in my mind throughout the whole second half.

“You blew it!”

Lauren Brant’s first baby mistake on Instagram

Not gonna lie: when I saw the image Lauren Brant posted of herself just one week after giving birth, I may have sighed.

Or was it a groan? I don’t know – let’s just say I rolled my eyes.

Because the photo Lauren chose to share was so ridiculously private.

It was an image of Lauren wearing a perfectly adorable black bra and frilly knickers. She has a completely flat stomach, perfectly straight hair, a sweet smile on her face and a gorgeous baby in her arms.

Truth bomb: she does not look the way an average woman does one-week post-partum. The rest of us generally have bloated tummies that move like jelly when prodded, supported by nana-style undergarments big enough to hold maternity pads.

Thus, there are few ordinary women who could probably relate to the picture Lauren shared.

But let’s be real – Lauren’s not an ordinary woman. She’s a TV personality who lives in the public eye, who is paid in part to look ‘picture perfect’. She invests a lot of time, money and resources into keeping her perfectly toned bod, well, perfectly toned, so it stands to reason that she looks so fighting fit just days after spewing out a human.

To be clear: the reason I sighed (or groaned) wasn’t because I was jealous. It’s not because I didn’t look like that after giving birth.

It’s because I’m sick of the ‘Insta’ society we’ve cultivated – we’ve become such a massive bunch of over-sharers, self-promoters and validation-seekers that we’ve created an environment where sharing this type of photo is “normal”.

It’s not!

It’s private, and intimate, and none of anyone’s business.

Why did she feel the need to share her almost-naked self with the world? To enjoy the cooing of hundreds of fans reflecting back at her, “Wow, Lauren, you look amazing so soon after having a baby!”

I suspect that isn’t what she got, as the photo is now deleted from her account.

Over-sharing – it’s the scourge of modern society.

If we could turn back time, we’d all be better for it.

Earth

Stephen Hawking’s dire warning: We need to escape earth

You know all of those science fiction movies that have us searching for new planets for earth to colonise, so humanity can survive after we destroy the earth?

Well, they may not be so much “fiction” but more “science”.

And they may be something we need to pay attention to sooner rather than later.

Super genius and renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has confirmed that we need to start seriously looking at planets to inhabit to escape our “fragile” planet, within the next century or so, give or take a decade.

“Professor Stephen Hawking thinks the human species will have to populate a new planet within 100 years if it is to survive,” said the BBC, who feature Hawking in a new series, Expedition New Earth.

“With climate change, overdue asteroid strikes, epidemics and population growth, our own planet is increasingly precarious.”

In Expedition, Hawking enlists engineering expert Danielle George and his own former student, Christophe Galfard, to go on a mission of discovery to see if (and more importantly, how) humans can quite literally reach for the stars and colonise different planets.

If the idea that our earth might be inhospitable to our grandchildren strikes fear into your heart, worry not – there’s a good chance we won’t even be here to fret.

In a previous chilling prediction, Hawking forecast the downfall of humanity at the hands of artificial intelligence.

“I think the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” Hawking told the BBC in an interview a few years back.

“Once humans develop artificial intelligence, it will take off on its own and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate,” Hawking warned again in recent months.

“Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded.”

So to be clear: we need to develop technology as fast as we can so we can survive on another planet, but at the same time, we need to slow down on developing technology so we don’t wipe ourselves out.

Quite the conundrum.

Makes all of that worrying about Medicare increases and overpaid politicians seem unnecessary, doesn’t it?