From Rori: Debra is one of Siren School’s most beloved and brilliant coaches – helping women in amazing ways day in and day out on Siren Island.
We’ve recently been talking about classic “Assertiveness Training For Women” – and how to withstand pressure “like a girl” – totally from feminine energy, with so much less stress than trying to “defend” or “explain,” even if you’re feeling terrified.
We exchanged lots of personal stories, and I found this one from Debra, from the time when she was a powerhouse lawyer (before she became a powerhouse coach), to be SO helpful!!!
from Debra Darlen
“I remember shaking in my boots when I had a series of lawyers being aggressive with me over my client, a high ranking female officer. I’d filed a sex discrimination suit on her behalf…this was about 25 years ago.
It got a lot of ‘heat’ in the press- so..all that was very intimidating to me. I was scared to death..actually.
Fortunately for me, I had a wonderful mentor, and trusted colleague.
He told me: If they want something from you – no matter ‘how forcefully’ they demand it…say soft and quietly, ‘No’.
No explanation or defense.
He said they may likely will …go on and on..demanding..even threatening you with ‘sanctions’…etc…as a lawyer who is bringing a case that is ‘frivolous’..(they did threaten me with that_)
He said, hold my chair and ‘LISTEN’…tell them ‘I hear you’…and ask them…’Is there more?’
Let them say whatever they say…it will be ok. Just stay quiet and firm.
I ‘did’ for the most part.
But, thank goodness for that mentor.
The other ‘funny’ thing I did…for some reason…was to .. purchased a beautiful tasteful full length nude oil painting and placed it behind my chair in my office. ( I still have her.)
This seemed to immediately ‘neutralize’ any ‘attitudes’ of my male opposing counsel..and somehow made ‘me feel safe’. Not sure why.
I also had a trusted mentor who told me – to say exactly that. No..without explanation…no matter how loudly and forcefully they ‘demanded’…and to say, “I hear you”…and “is there more’…
it was the best advice…I’ve ever received…professionally or personally.
Rori, when I found you, I did not understand ‘how’ to feel a feeling.
I realize that if I had that skill…and not be ‘afraid’ of those emotions…I would have felt so much more comfortable.
So, you helped me with that…and it simply has made all the difference in my life, Rori…