3 Mistakes Even Smart Women Make that Keep Them Frustrated, Resentful, and Doing Too Much!

by CrisMarie on January 6, 2016

3 Mistakes Even Smart Women Make that Keep Them Frustrated, Resentful, and Doing Too Much!, Reprinted from 406 Women Magazine

Meet Tammy

 Tammy is a smart, accomplished woman currently living in Chicago managing her consulting firm. She’s married to Paul and they have two young boys. Paul just got a job offer in Atlanta, and though Tammy is happy to move back to her hometown, she finds herself overwhelmed with getting the boys finished with school for the summer, getting the house ready to sell, and ensuring that her own business can make the move.

Paul, in the meantime, has found the house of his dreams in Atlanta, and Tammy suddenly realizes she’s doing too much and feels frustrated and resentful.


Can you relate?

Let’s look at three of the most common (and painful) mistakes smart women make.

First mistake: Disconnecting from Ourselves

When we’re disconnected from ourselves, we’re not in touch with what we really think, feel, and want. I know this sounds crazy. How could we not be connected, right?

Often, as women, we’re so busy thinking about how to be a “good ________” (fill in the blank: employee, mother, daughter, wife, boss). This constant drive to be “good enough” to others can trump our connection to ourselves.

Yes, of course, our relationships matter to us, but sometimes so much so that we ignore what we’re really thinking, feeling, and wanting. The problem is that when we don’t include ourselves, we wind up doing things for others but ignoring what’s truly important to ourselves.

Second Mistake: Avoiding

We all have those topics with our important people, topics that make us think, “It’s just easier if I don’t bring this up.” Maybe we want to avoid a negative reaction or not get into a fight. We think, “It’s no use, so why bother?!”

Sound familiar?

In the beginning, avoiding a topic may seem like a good strategy, but over time it becomes an issue because a key topic we care about is not getting resolved. In fact, we’re spending precious heartbeats, which are in limited supply, working around and avoiding those topics.

Whew! What a lot of work!

Third Mistake: Being Too Nice or Polite

When we finally do approach those previously avoided key topics with someone, our attempts to say what we really think, feel, and want may come out so nicely or politely that the other person misses the point completely.

We get into the habit of sugarcoating our messages or watering them down to the point that they lose their original content and intention. Then, of course, we get upset that the person isn’t getting our message!

if_we_make_any_one_of_the_three_mistakesWhat Did Tammy Do?

Tammy noticed that every time Paul talked about his dream house, she got a pain in the bottom of her stomach. She liked the house, but thought it was too expensive, even though it wasn’t much more than they were currently paying.

She didn’t want to tell Paul about her issues with the price because he had a habit of getting defensive when she brought up money. So, instead, she complemented him on how well he did with finding the house, but said she didn’t like the house’s style.

What did Paul do? He promptly went out and found three other houses, all in the same price range. Tammy groaned inside.

Tammy is a classic example of a woman who’s frustrated, resentful, and is doing too much. She still needs help.

What You Can Do

Step One: Pause and Connect To You

In the last issue of 406 magazine, my article, Confessions of a Chameleon, included a step-by-step approach about “How To Ground in Your Body.” You can find that exercise here: http://issuu.com/406woman/docs/406_woman_vol.7_no.1/63?e=0

Tammy started coaching with me, and we worked through this first step. She used her body as a guide. She realized that the pain in her stomach was an indicator that something was off. Then she recognized that paying that much for the house felt like a burden.

Step Two: Determine What Is Driving You

We don’t want things willy-nilly. Our wants are usually connected to something deeper inside. Our wants are driven by what matters most to us, our core values.

It’s helpful to know what core values drive your want if you’re trying to stop avoiding those important topics. Knowing why a topic means so much to you will give you more courage to stay connected to what matters to you.

Here’s how you can find out what core value is driving you. Ask yourself:

  • Why is this so important to me?
  • What am I making this mean?
  • Why am I upset about __________ (fill in the blank)?

Tammy needed to get clear inside herself as to why paying that much for a house felt like a burden when it wasn’t much more than they were already paying.

When she asked herself, “Why am I upset about this price?” she recognized that in the back of her mind she’d been thinking of scaling back her business to spend more time with the kids. Taking on this size of mortgage would not allow her to do that.

Step Three: Be Real, Be Courageous, and Speak about Yourself

Once you understand why a topic matters to you so much, the next step is to be direct, talk about yourself, and own what’s important to you.

I can just hear you saying, “No frickin’ way!” Breathe.

The goal is not to change the other person. No. It’s to have the courage to stand firmly in your own shoes, be real, and speak about what matters the most to you. Often, this allows the other person to more clearly see you and to understand why something matters so much to you.

Here’s how Tammy approached her issue with Paul:

Tammy said, “I have something to tell you that’s hard for me to say because I think you’ll get upset. So I’m just going to be frank and say it. Okay?”

 Paul said, “Yes.”

 “I am not comfortable spending this much for a house.” Paul started to object. Tammy put her hand up and said, “Give me a minute.”

“The reason is that I don’t want to support that large of a mortgage when what I actually want is to scale down my work and spend more time with the kids and maybe even have another baby.”

Paul did not see that coming.

In Closing

 It’s not always easy to connect to ourselves, find out what’s driving us, be real, be courageous, and speak about ourselves. I do believe, however, that the payoff is powerful and priceless.

As for Tammy, Paul was surprised, but he appreciated Tammy for being so straightforward. They talked and decided they could get a slightly less expensive house. Tammy felt heard and respected because she had made what she wanted important. (I have to say, though, that they’re still chatting and undecided about whether to have another baby).

CrisMarie Campbell is a Coach, Consultant and Speaker at thrive! inc. Clients refer to CrisMarie and her partner, Susan Clarke, as “The Team Doctors” because they focus on the health of the team in order to get the team to smart business results. They recently released their TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It!, where they spoke on Conflict is an Energy Source for Innovation, Creativity, and Transformation. You can contact CrisMarie at thrive@thriveinc.com.

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