Powerful Speaking for Powerful Women

Tricia Karp

I want to write about grace.

When I crafted the most important page on my website, I was surprised by my response to some of the words that emerged as my fingers darted around the keyboard.  Especially these:  I ask – and stand up – for what I want.  I usually get it.  

The words are true.  What I worried about was their potential impact: What will people think?  Will they think I’m up myself?  Will they think I’m a Queen of Mean?  Will they think I’m hard, cold, unforgiving, manipulative, conniving, relentless in my pursuit of power, ready to steamroll and stomp over anyone who gets in my way?

For the record, that’s not my style.  I’m a former nice girl who’s had to learn a lesson or 202 about being far too nice.  The Queen of Mean and I do not occupy the same throne.

And this is why I want to write about grace.

There’s an old story that’s still doing the rounds that goes like this: If you’re a woman who well and truly goes after what you want – and gets it – you must be a Queen of Mean.  You walk all over everyone else.  Men – and other women – despise you.

There are lots of women who read that story with horror and vowed never to be like that.  Instead, they chose as their primary approach to be good and accommodating.   And while that might be convenient for everyone else, what they didn’t realise is that that story kept has them tight, small and ineffective.

The fear of being perceived as mean, nasty or aggressive is what’s stopped so many women from asking for what they truly want and having a red hot go.

This caught my eye.  An ad to sell your story – with the guarantee of cash – to an array of trashy magazines in the UK.

You know the type, bursting with headlines like Have You Been to Rehab, Do You Have a Secret Bank Account, Has Your Man Had Lots of Cosmetic Surgery?

The ad does a superb job of reinforcing that old story that if you’re not nice, you’re nasty, spiteful and vengeful.

This is why I want to write about grace.

Direct and straightforward communication –  without grace – can easily be perceived as aggressive.

Grace is the golden thread for expressing yourself in a way that’s respectful, kind, and loving.

Grace in a confronting conversation truly listens to the other person’s perspective. Grace is more concerned with learning than being right.  Grace opens the door for miracles.  It makes relationships much better.

Grace is vulnerable in speaking the truth and letting go of agendas and ego.

Grace is still and powerful, eloquent and wise, even when you stumble with your words.

Authority and confidence might get you through the door.  Grace will create the connection.

Grace doesn’t have all the answers.  But it’s best friends with courage and clear intention.

I can teach you new skills.  But without grace, they won’t work anywhere near as well.  So, are you ready to start talking about grace?


Simple elegance or refinement of movement.
Do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s presence.

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2 Responses

  1. I said this the other day: tact and grace goes a lot farther than frustration and anger. It speaks a lot of a person if s/he is willing to say, “Hey, listen: here’s who I am and here’s why what you said/did won’t wash with me.” Now… to implement that in my own life…

    1. Amanda, you are spot on. Tact and grace = kindness and respect. And explaining what’s going on for you, totally owning it and using “I” language, as in “I feel/think/want…” and not pointing the finger or using “You” language, which can be accusatory and blaming, can make all the difference. It takes vulnerability and ownership. Go girl in implementing that in your life. Not always easy – takes mindfulness and presence. So worth it though.