You know that unstoppable, “I’m the Queen of forking everything” feeling that washes over you when you leave the hairdresser with a fresh do?
Your hair is shiny and perfect, your shoulders are held high, for some reason even your skin is glowing, and you sashay out of there as if incoming glances of appreciation are your God-given right. In fact, if there really were a God, she would engineer the fabric of space and time itself to ensure you collide with your ex-boyfriend at that precise moment, while you look so effortlessly flawless.
Were it possible to bottle that feeling, all women would have the opportunity to wander the earth radiating with the self-esteem of Beyonce – a woman so confident, she recognises her own name as a compliment.
This feeling, this charisma, this power – this is Big Chick Energy. It’s a quiet confidence that comes with knowing: “I got this.” And fortunately, it’s possible to harness its incomparable clout without dropping $70 on a blowout for the privilege.
How do you get Big Chick Energy?
Big Chick Energy is not about being more arrogant, or entitled, or even assertive. It’s about striving to be the best, most confident version of yourself, whilst knowing down the very core of your being that you have something to add; that your contribution is valued; that you deserve a seat at the table.
It’s akin to Big Dick Energy, which journalist Allison. P. Davis last year described as: “Not cockiness, it’s not a power trip – it’s the opposite,” Allison argues. “It’s a healthy, satisfied, low-key way you feel yourself.”
Here’s how you can go get it:
Check yourself, in person and in writing
Consider this: how are you showing up to the world?
In your words, your outfits, your body language, your strut, the way you choose to communicate?
Does everything about you scream, “I’m living my best life and don’t you forget it!” Or does your vibe run more… “I have no idea what I’m doing and I hope nobody ever realises I’m a fraud”?
Here’s the thing: everyone sips from the Imposter Syndrome cup every now and then. Try to step outside your fears or concerns and fake it til you make it. Don’t mentally fill in the gaps and assume that what other people think about you is negative; instead, assume that your co-workers, friends and loved ones all think you’re doing a bang-up job. Innocent until proven guilty, I say!
To step into this zone, tweak your wardrobe choices so you’re reaching for outfits that you feel great in, or that “spark joy”, to borrow from Kondo. Nix phrases like “unfortunately I was hoping”, “would it be possible to” and “do you mind if”, in favour of more proactive, confident language. While you’re at it – stop saying sorry all the time. (You can even automate it on your email!)
Delete the word ‘just’
Five years ago, I eliminated the word ‘just’ from my vocabulary. I was alarmed at often it was popping up in emails. “Just checking in… Just following up… Just seeing if you’ve had a chance to…”
These weren’t emails I was penning; they were in the emails I received. And they were almost exclusively coming from women.
Just. It’s so whole-heartedly apologetic – even if you have absolutely nothing to apologise for. No matter what words come next, with those four simple letters, the tone and intent of your message is reset to “apologetic”. Ditch it. You don’t need to replace it with anything else – simply remove ‘just’ from the sentence and move on.
Become comfortable with confidence
In January, I caught up with a friend who was starting a new business. As she described what she was planning, she downplayed it from every angle; “I just want to have XX clients, nothing too extravagant,” she said.
This is a woman with a university degree and a pedigreed CV that includes working with global brands and leading teams of up 20 people, from swanky corner offices in Sydney and London.
“You need to back yourself!” I practically shouted at her. She should have been oozing BCE, but a few years out of the workforce, raising babies, had knocked her confidence.
Professor Maja Jovanovic, author of “Hey ladies stop apologising”, said she once attended a week-long conference where every female panellist was humble to the point of distraction.
“Not once did I hear a man take that microphone and discount his accomplishments or minimise his experience. Yet every single time a woman took a microphone, an apologetic tone was sure to follow,” she shares. “I found it enraging; I also found it heartbreaking.”
The truth is: you can be quietly confident, without coming across as arrogant.
You can be proud of yourself and your talent and your accomplishments, without sounding ‘up yourself’.
You can even brag (properly, openly brag, not that passive aggressive humble bragging that dominates social media) if something great has happened, without giving a flying f*ck about how other people might interpret said bragging.
Doesn’t that sound like a brilliant way to exist?
Sarah Megginson is a Business Chicks premium member. She has edited or ghost-written more than 20 books, working with clients such as Lorna Jane Clarkson, and the ThankYou group’s Daniel Flynn. Connect with her here.