Do not apologise for being you.
As followers of my blog will know, I set up my own business just over 2 years ago now. I have been very blessed because I haven’t had to market my business yet. However, I’m sure at some point I will need to get out there and find new business. I know it will be difficult and there will be barriers I will need to get over. However, imagine this barrier….
This morning I arranged for a cleaner to come and look at my house and quote me on a house deep clean once a month (not sure why I felt the need to reiterate the ‘house deep clean’ there). The first thing most people will be thinking right now is “Why don’t you do your own cleaning.” Well, not that I have to justify it but I have very little down time and the last thing I want to do is to spend it cleaning. My choice, and the way I see it, I’m also helping someone else with their business.
The lady arrived exactly on time. She seemed lovely from the outset and very professional. However, I was floored by her first comment before we even started talking business. The first thing she said was “Before we go any further you need to know that I’m Latvian and not English.” I said that it didn’t matter in the slightest to me. I then said that I was so sorry she felt the need to even say it to me in the first place. She informed me that a couple of people had turned her away last week before she could even step foot in their house.
She had recently set up her own business following a few years with a cleaning company. She left because they treated her appallingly, isolating her from the rest of the team and paying her pittance. I found this ladies details on Facebook marketplace and she had some great reviews. However, she was struggling to gain solid clients because she would attend houses as pre-arranged, but then turned away from some as soon as she spoke. I was stunned that a person would treat another human in that way. I’m not naive, I know it happens but seeing someone stood in my house feeling they have to “clear up” who they are and where they come from just struck me as sad. I cant imagine how uncomfortable she would have felt feeling like she had to do that. Add that pressure to the mammoth task of setting up a business and that’s a hell of a barrier.
This bias, these judgements made on people because of who they are, the language they speak, the religion they follow, who they decide to be in life, who they decide to share their life with or otherwise, should be challenged. As an individual we need to be strong enough to stand up for ourselves and not be made to feel uncomfortable. Sometimes we are not strong enough so we need someone who we can rely on to have our backs. This support may come from partners, friends, family, colleagues and support chain within the workplace. Each individual has to take ownership of the situation and call out those with judgements or prejudices of any kind. Challenge their views and behaviours because if we dont then we cannot make a change. This needs to stop and it starts with us.
Do not apologise for being you, you do not have to justify yourself to anyone. Be brave, be you and stand tall. You matter!