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Teach People How to Treat You

When I started The Confidence Project, I decided, “No working on weekends.” Set boundaries. That plan didn’t last. The Confidence Project was a start-up. I worked all the time.

After the first year, I decided, “OK, on Friday’s, after 6pm, do not answer emails. On Saturdays, you can do some work and put your emails into drafts for next week. On Sundays, no working.” That plan didn’t work either. Sometimes, I’d work on Saturday or Sunday afternoons to jump start Monday.

One Saturday night, in those early years, my husband Henry and I were half watching football and half reading the newspaper. So, I thought, “I’ll answer emails.” Two-hours later, I felt accomplished! At 8:30 the next morning, Sunday morning, the phone rang. It was a California area code. Is this my client?

“Good Morning.”

“Hi Tracy, I got your email last night and figured it was ok to call you this morning.”


After we hung up, I thought, “We teach people how to treat us.”

My email landed in his inbox at 9:30 on a Saturday night, so he assumed, “Tracy works anytime.” Calling me on Sunday morning, allowed him to check me off his “to-do” list.

You can teach a colleague that you’ll do the work they don’t want to do. Or, you can say, “You know, I can’t take on that project, but I’m happy to brainstorm for a few minutes.”

You can teach a co-worker that they can take your idea & claim it as theirs. Or, you can address it, “Thank you for circling back to my idea. I suggested that plan yesterday in our staff meeting, so I’m glad we’re going to talk about it again today.” You can let people talk over you. Or, you can say, “Taylor, this is important. I want everyone to hear this.” Or, “Sam, hold that thought. I’m almost finished.” And, you can answer emails all day and night. Or, you can say, “My office hours are. . .”, then fill in the blank.

Of course, there are professions and some situations at work, where you need to be on-call. You know your work best. But, whenever possible, teach people how to treat you, Well.

For the next 30-days, talk with leadership about what are your company norms. Then, practice these skills, so you can show up with confidence for yourself and everybody else, especially your client.

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