SEASON 3, EPISODE 61
We chat about how to transform your life and work with the tactical stuff but I also want to make sure I’m bringing you the belief systems you also need to step into your next thing.
So in this chat we’re talking about something I’ve learned through experiences and why I’m never doing it again. Friend after you hear this one, you will want to stop doing this too!
Thanks for being here each week! Let’s keep this convo going over on IG @NicoleWalters and I can’t wait to chat with you next week.
Read the transcript for this episode!
Season 3, Episode 61
Hey, friends. It is officially summertime. I have kids at home, and the older ones are popping in and out, and the little one is in summer camp. A real blessing. I do not minimize the financial privilege of being able to continue to send my child away for several days of the week. So I just wanted to say to all the mamas and sisters and aunties and everyone pitching in to help take care of these babies, bless it, because I think we’re about, like, one or two weeks in and they’re all bored. So I’m just letting you know I’m in it with you. But I’m still excited summer is here because I’m hoping that we can fit in vacations, and I do love having that extra family time, and I’m hoping everything finds you well.
Now, I was driving in to have this chat with you today, and I was thinking, gosh, what is it that I think has been one of the most transformative things that I’ve done in the past year. And I mean transformative in, I tell you about my tactical stuff, starting my business or launching this product or writing my book, but I also want to make sure I’m bringing to you belief systems and ideas and lessons that I’ve actively learned through experiences that I really think are shaping how I’m doing things differently in the future. And when I tell you this single thought process and decision, because I’m holding firm to it, has made me more money. It has improved my contracts, meaning deals that I write are more on terms that align with my life. It has improved my relationships. And I got to tell you, I’m still not even doing it perfectly. So this is one that you’re going to want to lean in on because I guarantee that you’re likely doing it, and I guarantee that if you stop, it’ll change everything.
So I have officially decided as of, gosh, maybe two years ago, maybe a year and a half ago, that I was going to stop explaining myself and over-apologizing. Now, you’ve already heard it. I’m sure there are popular books out there talking about not apologizing. There’s tons of scientific case study, data, all these things where people talk about how women have an inclination to over-apologize. We put it in our emails. We even preface very reasonable requests like, oh, sorry, Jim, didn’t mean to bother you, but, oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to. Or I was about to do this just, oh, my bad. We’re always kind of squeezing in apologies, and there’s tons of data around how that is diminishing to our character. It’s something that in the workplace can actually affect how people see you. And frankly, it’s the byproduct of society, right? Society telling us that we have to fit in and be careful and be demure and be meek and be humble. And that we need to make ourselves small in places and we can’t take up space.
So we have a lot of data around how that is not good. And if you are hearing it for the first time, I hope that data also lets you know that this is something you can stop.
Okay, so you’ve heard tons of people talking about how you don’t want to over apologize, particularly as a woman or a marginalized person, that it’s something that really does put you at a disadvantage in the workplace and life in your relationship. So we know that we don’t want to do that. There’s tons of data.
But when I tell you so many of us over-explain ourselves or feel required to explain ourselves in circumstances where it’s not required. Let me tell you a little bit more about what that means. It means that if we come to a decision that we know we feel good about or we come to a decision that we know is backed by data or results or we are wanting to enter a new space and we know that we belong there and we’ve earned it. A lot of us feel the need and when I say us, I mean women and marginalized people and high achievers, feel the need to explain why we deserve to be in that position or speaking on that platform or presenting ourselves as such.
And I want to let you know that for me in particular, I realized that this came from a pretty traumatic childhood. And I do talk about this a lot in my book. It’s available for presale now. It’s called Nothing Is Missing by Nicole Walters. You can get it on Amazon, you can get it in Barnes and Noble. I’m super excited to get this book in your hand. It’s my memoir, but for the first time anywhere I talk a lot about my childhood. And you’ve heard me saying glimpses where I mentioned that I grew up a child of immigrants, I’m first generation Ghanian American and that my parents were very strict.
And a lot of times, whether it’s on Instagram, if you follow me over there at Nicole Walters or on our TV show even, I used to talk about the funny side of having African parents. Having them say, oh, you know, you can work harder, or you can always go back to school, or you can be lawyer, just like I always do their accent. We have jokes around it or my mom calling me, and she still does to this day. My mom calling me and saying, it’s not too late for you to have twins. And God gave me vision that you will have twin boys and I just want you to know there’s still time, like all these things, right. And it’s true. My parents were very much that, right? They are very much funny in some of the cultural norms that they are bringing to raising an American child in so many respects.
But I talk about my childhood also being traumatic because it’s difficult. And I think a lot of you can relate to this just by generation alone, being raised with certain generational pressures from the current society you live in or the current cultural expectations you live in that your parents can’t understand or align with. That coupled with, right, so it wasn’t just, oh, Mom, I want to go to the mall, or I want to watch this show. My parents are like, Are you kidding me? Who does that? But it was also things like my dad having severe anxiety and completely unchecked. And my father was also a narcissist and had a lot of pressures and expectations around what he wanted and how he looked and how he was presented that he wanted to enact through his children and the ways which, again, I detail in the book. And it really does deserve words and pages and not just a few moments on a podcast, which is why I haven’t talked about it elsewhere, but that really shaped a lot of the way that he interacted with me. I talk about in the book and I talk about it in life, but my relationship with my father also really dictated a lot of the men that were in my life until I had decades of therapy.
So all that being said, what happens when you’re raised in an environment where there’s a strong authoritarian figure or a parent that you are not comfortable trusting and for various reasons, or if you are in an environment where you’ve had to trust yourself a lot and pave your own way and just be out on your own, which, again, I think a lot of women and marginalized people can really relate to, you find yourself… Oh, oh and if you’ve had to enter spaces where you don’t see people who look like you and I mean women and being black or brown or just otherwise marginalized.
A lot of times when we have entered into these spaces or had to navigate new rooms or had to face difficult, powerful, or even assumed power, authoritarian figures. We’ve had to explain why we’re there. And I have to tell you, just because you had to do it doesn’t mean that it was warranted. And having had the opportunity, for those of you who’ve kept up with me, I’ve worked in major corporations. I have had the blessing, if you will, of being in boardrooms where billions of dollars have been transferred and moved around. And when I tell you people with money having been the 1% and having been extremely impoverished, I’ve been on both sides.
One of the number one things I noticed being a poor girl in this rich life, I was like, oh, rich people don’t explain themselves at all. At all. It’s the strangest thing. And you all know our relationship, right? I am your Target-wearing, cheese-eaten, regular girlfriend. It doesn’t matter how much money I have in the bank account or how many commas I have. I will always be a thrifter. I always tell my kids, like, nah, you all got to work. You guys know how I am, right? If you come over, I’m like, fix yourself a sandwich, that sort of thing.
But because of the work that I’ve done and because of some of the things that I’ve accomplished, I’ve been really blessed to get vision into a lifestyle that I just, I don’t think I ever would have imagined growing up, even though I’ve worked to achieve it. And being in places like the country clubs and the private jets and the exclusive member-only clubs and backstage and green rooms and boardrooms and private homes, and I’ve been witness to a lot of conversations around tables.
And I will always tell you all the lessons I’m learning from those things because, frankly, you deserve to know them, and they’re life changing. And a lot of the things that I’ve noticed when I enter these wealthy spaces is that they’re practicing behaviors that you can absolutely practice whether or not you have their bank accounts. And one of which is this not explaining. They act with a confidence, “they” meaning the wealthy, the powerful, the accomplished, the non marginalized, the people who are in positions to make decisions. I mean, they really do move with the confidence that frankly, sometimes is not warranted.
You all know that we all have a boss. We all have a Jimathon who likes to speak on things that they may not be qualified to speak on, but everybody be like, oh, Jimathon’s great in the office, but we all know he’s trash, and you do his work anyways. But a lot of these people will be fairly mediocre, and they will speak with a confidence like, oh yeah, that’s definitely what you want to do. Oh, yes, that’s surely how it needs to go. Or, no, I will not permit that, and they will not explain themselves afterwards.
I realized that 90% of negotiations of getting what you want in contracts, of getting paid what you deserve is approaching it with a posture of that is what I deserve. And you would be absolutely absurd to ask me to explain why that is. And it’s not confidence, it’s not just confidence, it’s almost an internal knowingness that translates in a way where people are just kind of like okay. So here’s how this sort of manifests in my life, right? This is how I’m seeing this show up. When I go into contract negotiations before I enter them, right? Whether it’s for a book deal or a TV show deal because I live in LA, so there’s always multiple things going. If you guys don’t know that TV show deals are the type of thing where it can take like four years till it comes to fruition.
But I mean I signed a several season deal with a major streaming network and so we’re working on that process but it’s the type of thing that could take like four years before you actually see anything on TV if it even happens. It’s crazy. But going into deals like that, what I’ve learned is that I decide before the opportunity shows up what it will take for me to say yes, y’all, that’s free. That’s where you are right now. So I’m not even kidding. Literally I’m like in order for me to do TV of this style, so for instance, one thing that I know that I am in this present season fairly unlikely to embrace would be doing another family style reality show, right? I may be open to a couple show, I don’t know but I just am thoroughly over having cameras in my home following my family. A lot of that has to do with the fact that my littles are in that weird awkward phase. My olders are dating and building serious relationships and it’s just kind of a strange time to be documenting all that for them and also just my relationship is fairly new so I’d like to give that a little bit of time to settle in and feel really good.
I mean it feels good but you know what I mean? So it’s just one of those things where I already know that’s kind of how I feel. BUT, and this is also another thing I learned from the wealthy everything does have a price or a context where it can work.
So I already decided sitting down, like because I am in LA and there are always opportunities and my agent may bring me anything. What would it look like for it to work for me? What would it look like for me to do a family reality show? Would I need to have a clear cut schedule? Would I need to be able to choose who my showrunner and executive producer are? Would it need to be on a certain network? How much would I need to pay and how long would a season be? What would it look like for me to renew? Would we still film in my house or would we have to be offset?
And fortunately, I can draw from all my TV making history and be able to say, okay, well, these are some things I know are typical, but then I’m also able to add to it things that, frankly, I don’t even know if someone would say yes to. But in order for me to move, this is what it would look like. And for you all, I’m not even kidding, it can be like, well, if I’m going to do it, I just need to know that we’ll start shooting at 06:00 AM and finish by three. It may or may not happen, but you can have that list.
So the point being that I am already making a list and I think some of you may believe in manifestation or using affirmative talk to make things come to realization. All that I don’t really consider it that, to me it really is taking a clear cut awareness of what your needs are so that when you enter your bargaining position, you are able to remain firm to that because you don’t have to explain why something is, but you definitely need to know what it is you want. So I’ll never go back and forth with the network on the fact that it’s really important to me to put my daughter in bed by 7:30 because that’s part of our bedtime routine and I really want to make sure that she’s comfortable in her day and she gets grouchy if she stays up past nine. Why do I have to explain that to you? I am her mom. This is what’s required. You have the thing that you want as an outcome. I’m telling you, this is how it can happen and we can meet your need. If you’re unable to do that, then that’s what that is.
When I tell you, you will so deeply weaken your position if you feel the need to over explain where you are. So the same thing applies with your feelings and your emotions. Catch this one. How many of you, whenever you are wanting to make a decision, your relationship, where you’re like, gosh, I really want to take the kids on vacation, or I really want to enroll them in this school. Outside of just sort of illustrating these are the points and bullet points of why I think it’s a good idea, but I also feel like it would be really good for this. I really feel like it’d be good for this. It’s almost like the oversell, where it’s like I’m going into the car dealership. I know I need a car. I need a car that does these things and has these features and this is my price point. But then they’re showing me every single car and they’re trying to buy me up and it’s almost like you’re overdoing it because I’m going to get a car today. but now you’re doing the most. A lot of us do that in our relationships, and we also do that in relation to our feelings. It’s also okay to just say, like, all right, we’re going to keep it all the way real.
This was a huge issue for me in my previous relationship, and when I say a huge issue for me, I don’t mean in relation to, this isn’t a juicy gossip moment, right? This isn’t me, like, trashing my relationship or anything like that, because I don’t do that, and I don’t do that here, and I don’t have that type of feedback regarding my ex. That’s not something I ever want to do. I want to treat that relationship with tact and with grace, if for nothing else but who I am and how I want to show up in the world.
But what I can say is that I will speak all day about things I did wrong, right? Things that I had to grow from and things I had to learn from. And over explaining is one of them. I surely would spend a lot of time explaining if we either had a disagreement or if there was something that I had managed to gain the confidence to really speak on, that I felt I needed changed or that I needed help with or that was a need for me.
And I would just spend so much time explaining why I felt like that need was valid and why I felt like it was important for my partner to meet me in this fashion or all the different elements of how if this thing could be solved or this thing could be helped, that it would change the course of our lives or it would benefit both of us or that it would help the kids. And I would just spend so much time just trying to argue my case. To frankly prove why I deserved love and in a certain way and proved how it would help both of us.
And what’s interesting is twofold. One, I’m in a relationship now where I don’t have to do that, and it’s great because I’ve done a lot of therapeutic work to realize that. One, if you feel like the need to do that, if you find yourself over-explaining around certain subject matters, it’s probably a pretty good sign that something’s not a fit there in general, right? That’s just like sign number one.
But two, it’s exhausting, right? It tires you out in the relationship, whether it’s with a friend that you’re trying to constantly explain boundaries or in a relationship where you’re trying to constantly explain boundaries. That’s just exhausting. It means you’re not enjoying the relationship. It means you’re not enjoying your partner. It means that you’re trying to convince someone to love or treat you in a way that you already deserve to be treated or that you may have confusion around your own worth and all of that is no good.
But the other thing that happens is there’s a power shift, right? Explaining yourself is something that you do to an authority figure. If a parent asks you why’d you do that, where are you going? A teacher asking you, a boss asking you. So when you enter that dynamic into a relationship, into a partnership, it is a power play. And I do want to say just a quick caveat here, quick disclaimer. I am super aware that sometimes when this behavior happens, it may be happening because there is an abusive dynamic in the relationship or there may be a mental health issue in the relationship, or there may be some other traumatic factor where it’s not just you having the nature of over-explaining, right? But that person really is manipulating the situation which is making that occur. So I am not speaking to that specifically. What I’m talking about is when we’re bringing habits in that are learned from our childhood or bringing habits in that are maybe not applicable in that new relationship.
So I found myself doing this at times in advance of what’s required in my current relationship. Where something will occur and then I’m like, so I’m really sorry, but here’s the reason why I did that. And I swear that it was for a good reason and this is the purpose. And Alex will literally look at me and just be like, babe, I trust you. Like it’s fine. And I’ll realize, oh my gosh, I was triggered, basically. And I was doing the thing that I tried to do for years as a safety mechanism with my father and in previous relationships. And it just doesn’t belong here, it’s not required.
But, you know, in sort of being in this relationship and really exploring, you know, these protective behaviors that I do, you know, kind of knee jerk behaviors whenever I’m nervous about being in the room or nervous about, you know, a big deal, or nervous about a new space, really seeing where else it exists. And I found that, oh my gosh, I had to be careful to not do that in contracts. I don’t need to explain, well, you should pay me this. And here are the reasons why when they’re seeking you out to be signed for.
And there is a difference between sort of explaining the service that you offer, explaining the value around the money in that sort of context. But yeah, explaining just like your sheer worth is just something that I’m not interested in doing it. And call it being a woman who is of a certain age. You can Google it if you want to know, but I just am at that place where it’s just not going to happen. And it’s funny because I remember growing up and hearing the aunties talk about it and seeing the mamas being like, I’m not going to explain myself to you.
Or I think that one thing we always joke about. If you see the memes, you’ll see these older women who will just be really matter of fact and be like, no, I’m not going to do it. Or we’ll see certain celebrities who’ve earned a certain level in status of accolade where they’re just like, no, it’s just a no, and I’m not going to explain why it’s a no. And it’s almost offensive of you to ask me. And I think that sometimes there’s an inclination to label these people as being maybe stuck up or label these people as thinking that they’re better than or thinking that they’ve elevated to a place where it’s like, oh, I’m just too good to say certain things. And I really am hoping that what you’re hearing from me now is that that’s not what it means about you. If you are confident and you know your own worth and you’re aware that in some scenarios, what I’m asking for is not just the bare minimum, but it is literally what I deserve, the last thing I’m going to do is explain my worth.
This actually came up a lot during the gosh, what do we call it now? The racial reconciliation of 2020? I don’t even know. But it was around the time that the world witnessed George Floyd’s murder, and there was a lot of different viewpoints that were entering those conversations in a public sphere for the first time, I should say in a unified public sphere for the first time, because these conversations have always been happening, but just not everybody was listening. But in these conversations, one talk track that was occurring was people saying, look, I should not have to explain that as a black person that I matter. It’s almost offensive and laughable, if you will, that someone would really expect me to explain why my sheer existence has worth.
And there was definitely a segment of people and this is not a judgment around that, but I’m just explaining a talk track that some may not have been aware of, but there was a segment of people who were like, look, I’m not even going to expend the emotional labor to explain the different reasons why my life is valid and the different reasons why my opinion is valid and my work is valid and my existence is valid. I have a right to breathe, and that is not something that I need to litigate and go back and forth on in the comments of social media, let alone on any public platform, because I exist and that’s enough.
And I want to tell you, I find that standpoint incredibly, incredibly empowering. And while I’ve always been a grace-filled conversationalist, I really do sympathize and I’m highly compassionate to our individual growth in understanding around our relationship. So I like to talk and I’m okay doing it so it doesn’t feel like the same weight of emotional labor. But I respect people’s right for that stance. I also really respect the standpoint of I am not going to explain myself around the bare minimum that I deserve.
And so in sharing this with you as we have navigated what it looks like to start over in life and starting over by nature means leaving behind and stepping into something new. I just really hope that you recognize that it’s not just about building healthy boundaries and finding great habits and making more money and building out new relationships. I mean, all these things are true and it is a long list of things that you have to do when you’re starting over. But I also want to let you know it’s about what you leave behind.
And leave behind the apology written emails, and instant deference of compliments, oh, thanks, but I have this old thing, let’s leave all that behind. You don’t have to self-deprecate all the time. Right? But also let’s leave behind the need to explain the bare minimum around what we deserve. We should be insisting on it and we should simply just stay still and make good eye contact until we receive it because we deserve it and know and trust that if someone doesn’t want to give it to us, that doesn’t say anything about us or what we deserve.
And it’s really my hope that you look in the coming week, in the coming months, at different contracts or opportunities or relationships that you have and you ask yourself, do I feel like I’m constantly juggling for positioning here? Because I have to explain why I’m worth spending time with or why I’m worth honoring and respecting and why this boundary needs affirmed and then asking yourself if maybe you just don’t want to use any more energy to do that.
Especially as we’re chasing after these kids for the summer and especially as we’re trying to grow, our energy is so valuable. I talked about that last week with some of my recent health diagnoses. I’m really doing my very best to be intentional about where I spend my energy and you know where I’m not spending it anymore? Explaining who I am, why I’m worth it and what I deserve. And friend, I don’t want you to do that either.
Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, or iHeartRadio
In this episode, we chat about:
- A mental shift I’ve made after witnessing others make deals,
- Where my tendency to over-explain or apologize comes from,
- What I’ve done to move through this to build healthier relationships, and
- How this is different but confidence,
- Why you’ll want to make this mental shift too!
Resources and links mentioned in this episode:
- Pre-order my memoir, Nothing is Missing, HERE!
- Send me a DM on Instagram and Facebook!
- Book a 20 min call to see if working together is the right next step for you!
- Don’t miss our last chat with Shira Barlow on body issues and raising girls – Listen here!
- I love reading your reviews of the show! You can share your thoughts on Apple here!
More about The Nicole Walters Podcast:
If you’re looking for the strategies and encouragement to pursue a life of purpose, this is the podcast for you! Week after week Nicole Walters will have you laughing hysterically while frantically taking notes as she shares her own personal stories and answers your DMs about life, business, and everything in between.
As a self-made multimillionaire and founder of the digital education firm, Inherit Learning Company, Nicole Walters is the “tell-it-like-it-is” best friend that you can’t wait to hang out with next.
When Nicole shows up, she shows OUT, so tune in each week for a laugh, a best friend chat, plus the strategies and encouragement you need to confidently live a life of purpose.
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