Over the weekend, media mogul Shonda Rhimes received a Producer’s Guild Award for achievement in television. Instead of going with that aw-shucks humility that women have been trained to deploy when faced with plaudits, Rhimes owned her success.
“I’m going to be totally honest with you, I completely deserve this,” Rhimes told the crowd. “ I have, against the odds, courageously pioneered the art of writing for people of color as if they were human beings. It’s not trailblazing to write the world as it actually is. Women are smart and strong. They are not sex toys or damsels in distress. People of color are not sassy or dangerous or wise.”
Heck, yes! Rhimes is the role model we all need. So often women are expected to downplay their success, or deflect attention when receiving honors. When women act powerful or self-assured, they are criticized for their hubris. When men do the same, they are considered to be confident leaders.
A man recently told me, “You sure do think a lot of yourself.” It was clear he meant it to be a critique but I replied, “Thank you.” Five years ago I would have apologized, but recently I’ve been focused on loving myself and owning my success.
I’ve asked a few friends of Women AdvaNCe to share their triumphs and tell me what they deserve. I’ll start with my own: This morning I dug my car out of the ice and snow. It took 40 minutes, but I did it with no help! I drove to the store and bought Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy. I deserve that ice cream!
Mikaela McLellan: I hate exercise. I would normally feel bad about myself for not even packing gym clothes, never mind actually going to the gym — but I’ve decided to just be okay with it. I deserve to do what makes me happy. I’m not going to spoil my downtime feeling bad about not doing something I don’t even want to do.
Janet Colm: My last day of work — after 32 years as CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina — I got up early and took a walk. I could feel stress falling off my shoulders. I was nostalgic and proud and said to myself, “I deserve this.”
Sara Lang: I’ve managed to build a decently successful freelance consulting and public relations practice while staying home full-time with two children (now 4 & 6).
Now’s the time to share your story of what you deserve! Share this article on Facebook with your friends and tell them about what makes you proud. Comment here to spread the love and tell us why you deserve the very best.