It’s Your Turn

by Tara Agacayak on July 25, 2017

I loved amusement park rides when I was little.

Getting off the merry-go-round at Great America Amusement Park resized

Here I am getting off some ride at Marriott’s Great America (which is what it was called in the late 70’s). Apparently this photo was taken after I said,  “that tickled my tummy”.

When I was in first grade I was invited to a birthday party at my friend’s house.

I was so excited.

I had my party dress, my birthday present, and loads of anticipation.

My friend lived in a large house with a big backyard and play structure with swings and a slide …

And this merry-go-round. It was something like this.

 

merry go round

 

There were only 4 places for kids to sit, so we had to wait our turn.

I was waiting in line for the other girls to get off so that I could get on and feel the exhilaration of spinning.

So I could giggle, and have the wind blow in my hair, and spin around and around, and feel my tummy tickle.

I waited.

I was patient.

I stood in line.

I fidgeted with excitement, but I knew my time was coming.

The merry go round was slowing down.

Coming to a stop.

My turn was coming.

Oh my god, I was so excited.

As my friends stepped off of the merry-go-round, I took my step forward to take a seat, and then all of a sudden, this bigger girl stepped in front of me, pushed me back and said, “You had your turn, I’m going now.”

But it wasn’t true!

She’d just gotten off, it was MY turn!

I was speechless.

Forget about missing my turn.

She lied.

She said something that I knew wasn’t true.

But I was so shocked by the experience I didn’t know what to say.

I didn’t have the words.

I didn’t have the power.

There was no adult there to manage the injustice.

I felt victimized and upset and disappointed.

I wanted to feel the joy of riding on the merry-go-round and there I stood in shock while this big bully took my seat on the ride – and by lying!

For many years this experience has had a hold over me.

And I’ve carried the disappointment of not getting my turn on the merry-go-round.

But a number of years ago, I was led through a writing exercise where I got to choose a different ending to this story.

The facilitator told us to write a story where we felt dis-empowered, and then write a new ending.

First, I wrote the ending where I kicked the girl in the shins and placed my butt in the seat while she wallowed in pain, and I laughed at her.

Next, I wrote the ending where I went and tattled, told a parent and got them to get me my seat.

Another ending I wrote is where I banded together with some other girls and we said mean things to her and made her cry.

But none of those endings felt like me.

Finally, I got it … I decided to befriend her. To join forces with her. And to create a mutually-beneficial arrangement where we took turns.

Once she got off, she’d give her seat to me, and once I got off, I’d give my seat to her.

It was a win-win.

That was the ending that felt right.

And it’s the ending I remember today when I remember that experience.

Rewriting that story of my life reminds me that I’m the one who holds the power by the choices and actions I choose to take.

And it reminds me that there are many ways to solve a problem when we get creative about what the ending looks like.

Many of the women I talk to are getting passed over for promotions they are over-qualified for, and walking away from opportunities that could lead to $2.5 million dollars of investment that would help them launch companies that transform the way we live.

But they are telling themselves stories that it’s not their turn, that they can’t convince people to fund them, that it’s difficult to manage team members.

But I know that you can re-write stories that produce different outcomes.

Powerful leaders are masterful storytellers.

The Best Stories tall

Join a community of women becoming powerful leaders by mastering the stories they tell themselves and the stories they tell others.

Stories that lead to better outcomes, better lives, better businesses, better communities.

It’s free to join, but you have to answer three questions first so I know how to make your experience in the group amazing.

Here’s where you go to answer those three questions and join our community.

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What Makes You Brave?

by Tara Agacayak on July 20, 2017

powerful woman

I loved this article about women in tech until I read it more carefully.

Here’s the part that made my skin crawl:

“But they’re also able to be brave because, relative to women in other industries, they have some power. They can tell their experiences and know that, in most cases, it won’t put their livelihoods at risk.”

And here’s a different perspective that I’d like to propose – that no matter what industry you’re in – whether it’s Academia, Tech, Media, Entertainment – or wherever, you DO have power.

You DO have power.

And not just because there are an excess of jobs.

Your power does not go away when the jobs get scarce.

You don’t become less brave because there are less jobs.

Bravery – true bravery – is when things look scarce and bleak and awful and you refuse to tolerate it – even if there are no other jobs for you.

That’s bravery.

You refuse to tolerate the abuse because you don’t deserve to be abused – not because you can go get another job.

(And when I say abused, I am not just talking about sexual harassment, but also working after hours, sacrificing time with your family, not having time to care for your health – these are forms of abuse as well.)

You are brave because EVEN IF there were no other jobs in the world for you, you still DO NOT DESERVE to be abused, or neglected, or abandoned, or alone.

You have power because you were born with it.

It is your birthright.

And if you’d like to know how to USE the power you were born with, and be brave even when you don’t see the way through, please join me in the select community I’ve created for women who are willing to master their own power as leaders in their companies and leaders in their own lives.

Here’s your personal invitation

It’s free to join, but I have three questions for you to answer before you do.

I am delighted to welcome you – brave, courageous, powerful one.

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