“She’s too much,” was something I frequently heard as a child from those around me. Similarly, “she talks a lot,” or “she’s sassy,” which always issued a chuckle or eye-roll from the adults nearby. Hearing this about myself hurt when I was young and usually ended with me sulking and doubting myself. As an adult and a professional, I’ve still heard this about myself. Now, however, the bold New Yorker in me is not injured or afraid to own it.
As a mother, I’ve also heard people say the same thing about my
daughter, Ellie. She is fierce and breathes fire with her words. No one can
extinguish her flame. To be honest, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Her
boldness and unreserve are her strength. It’s these qualities that make her a
good communicator and will make her successful—personally and professionally.
When it’s her turn at the table, I want her to know without any glimmer of
doubt that she belongs there and that her voice—no matter the intensity—is
valued. I want her to be her fiery self. Always.
Like Ellie and I, Lourdes Slater (a strong woman and the CEO of Karta Legal) has experienced being “too much” for others, but she knows that’s her strength. She expanded on this topic after viewing the clip from our women’s panel video: “Regarding my personality, someone once told me, ‘you will be too much for some people…those are not your people.’ That stuck with me. I have always been my authentic self, even when my authentic self does not scream traditional corporate America. I need to show up as me, to do what I do, and inspire others to follow me. And yes, I am ‘too much’ for some people, but I am okay with that.”
Her words struck a chord with me. I’ve come to realize how important it is to be yourself unapologetically. I wasn’t always comfortable with this; it was something I learned through experience and was like a muscle I needed to flex. Over time, I’ve become comfortable—even proud of it—once I realized that because of my strong personality, I naturally play the role of an activist. In all aspects of my life, I find causes, advocate for their progress, and push the boundaries for growth and development. That is my personal, unique strength. I hope my intensity and passion inspires others to be just as strong-willed in fighting for causes they care about, and, reframe what others may see in them as negative traits into positive, unique strengths. We should be proud to be our intense, bold, and fierce selves.
I love my career and I’m good at what I do. I know there will always be people who believe that myself, and others like me, are “too much,” but that is okay. I believe in doing everything with purpose; in building lasting relationships that foster a dynamic environment and celebrate the strengths of others. This is why I hosted the women’s discussion panel—it’s an initiative I am truly passionate about that affirms the importance of knowing yourself, your position, your value, and making it known. Most importantly, owning your unique and exceptional personality. I will continue to encourage my daughter to be true to who she is, to find her people, and to forge ahead unapologetically.