Last week I had a huge aha moment. I realized (with the help of my business coach) that I am constantly undermining myself by giving people an out when it comes to listening to my opinion or following my advice. I wasn’t standing behind my words. I was lacking personal emotional intelligence.
What do I mean by that? I became aware of one sentence I was using way too often. This one sentence negating everything I said in just a few simple words.
That’s my two cents.
I suspect I’m not the only person who uses these four words. But what I hadn’t realized, was how damaging they can be. At the surface it seems like an everyday phrase. Yet, it basically tells the listener, I don’t stand behind my words, so feel free to ignore them.
Now I’m a pretty confident person. I have no problem speaking to a room with a few hundred people. I can defend my point of view. And I’m a great patient advocate and corporate trainer.
I also have strong emotional intelligence when it comes to other people, but apparently not with myself.
So why do I feel the need to say — that’s my two cents — in certain situations?
Working with my coach, I discovered I use this phrase when dealing with difficult or aggressive people. Or in situations where I’m frustrated (you know, when you want to throw your hands up and walk away).
Her challenge to me. Remove this sentence from my vocabulary. The next time I give my opinion, do just that. Give my opinion. And don’t give anyone an out.
Mere days after getting this insight, I received a group email related to an organization I was volunteering with. It was related to a recommendation I had previously put forward about having patient partners introduce themselves at the start of meetings. While I had recommended one patient partner per meeting, the staff member working with our group, felt two introductions per meeting would speed things up. There are only four patient partners on the committee.
After mumbling under my breath, I wrote an email explaining why this was a bad idea, how it would dilute the idea behind the patient partner introductions as it would be rushed and the other committee members would likely not remember who was who.
And then, I wrote — but that’s just my two cents.
With my coach’s words in my ear, I quickly deleted that sentence. I sent the email giving my advice — with no out.
Guess what happened? Everyone agreed with my advice (and thanked me). No conflict. No issues.
Proud of myself. I continued giving my opinion, without saying — take it or leave it, that’s my two cents or any other negating comments.
I saw a trend. For the most part my advice was followed and I felt better about stating my opinion without giving an out.
As I’ve shared this story with friends, I’ve found the majority of my female friends do the same. But, surprisingly, not my male friends. I suspect this is because most men don’t think twice about how they could be viewed when they give their opinion. While women are afraid they will be seen as bossy.
I challenged my friends to stop using this phrase. And they too saw amazing results when they tuned into their personal emotional intelligence.
I extend this challenge to you.
Ask yourself — do you give your opinion with confidence or do you give people an out? If you use the phrases — that’s my two cents or take it or leave it, see what it’s like when you remove these words from your vocabulary. Tune in to your own personal emotional intelligence. I promise, you will see instant results.