Calmfidence® Daily - Speaking Up For Yourself


For one of my first jobs in college I worked as an administrative assistant at a local book publishing company that made commemorative anniversary books for religious and non-profit organizations. The owner Norman, was a gruff old man who never smiled at anyone, and everyone in the office was on edge around him. I was hired to organize customer orders into databases on the computer. Once I got the job, I found out that my duties also included something I didn’t sign up for -- calling customers who owed money. It was uncomfortable and anxiety inducing, and as a shy 18 year old I could feel my heart pound as I struggled to muster up the tenacity to pick up the phone and make the payment collection calls.

One day, Norman stomped out of his cluttered office in his usual wrinkled brown suit and made a beeline to the dusty back room where I sat at my cold metal desk.

“You’re costing me time and money!” he yelled. “Pick up the damn phone, girl, and get busy collecting those payments!”

“I’m going as fast as I can sir. I… I,” I stuttered meekly. “I’m just not sure how to demand payment from some of the people who owe the money. They’re non-profits and I feel bad that they can’t pay their bills.”

“I didn’t hire you to make friends, make those calls now or look for another job!” Then Norman  stormed off to his office, and I ran down the creaky wood floor of the hallway to the dark musty bathroom, locked the door, and cried.

As the stunned feeling from Norman shouting at me began to wear off,  I got a handle on my emotions after a good long cry and stood there in silence for a while.  Then I said to myself, “ didn’t deserve to be yelled at like that.” I reminded myself that my college professor had told me I was a great fit for this part-time job. I worked to calm my body, mind, and spirit that day in the tiny bathroom of the old publishing company and slowly walked back to my desk nudging my chin up. I sat back down at the computer, took a few sips of my now-cold tea, took another breath followed by a slow long exhale as if I was pushing out any remaining doubt and fear, then stood up with a seed of courage and marched into the boss’s office.

Norman was sitting behind his desk surrounded by a fortress of books and piles of papers. With my voice cracking a bit, I said, “You had no right to speak to me that way. It’s wrong!” Norman quickly looked up and stared at me in disbelief for several long moments. I stared back at him and held my ground. The silence was as heavy as the cigarette smoke in the air.  Then as if a key turned a lock, the look on his face completely changed and he slowly said, “I’m sorry…you are right. I should not have acted that way. Please forgive me.”

I could hardly believe it. I slowly nodded my head to acknowledge his apology then turned and walked back to my desk wondering where that courage had just come from. I had half expected that I would get fired, but I never expected him to say he was sorry.

Later that afternoon a few of the women in the office pulled me aside to say how happy they were that someone had finally stood up to the guy. Being the youngest person in the office, it really surprised me to learn I was the first.  After that day he was kinder and would even smile every now and then. This was my first big lesson of Calmfidence. When we find our calm we have room to remember our value. We are more able to stand up for ourselves and have self-respect, and in turn we command respect from others.

Patricia Stark is Author of the new book: Calmfidence: How to Trust Yourself, Tame Your Inner Critic, and Shine in Any Spotlight. Available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Audible, and your favorite bookstore. Order Your Copy Here

Patricia Stark is a Certified Personal & Executive Coach (CPEC of the CaPP Institute -Coaching & Positive Psychology) & a Certified Body Language Trainer (Body Language Institute Washington DC) and holds certificates in Eclectic Cognitive Behavior Therapy & Visualization/Guided Imagery (LIU). She heads Patricia Stark Communications a personal and professional development coaching and training company that helps people build their Calmfidence® in business and everyday life in public speaking, interviews, on camera, and interpersonal skills with tangible strategies for powerful communication skills, mastering self talk, and stress & anxiety relievers used by the pros. For 1-1 and Group Training Sessions and Workshops Email: or Visit

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