50 Shades of Confidence

Rebecca Mayville

Lessons of dominance from the bedroom to the boardroom I am going to admit something to you that I have up till now denied fervently. …

Lessons of dominance from the bedroom to the boardroom

50 SHADES OF CONFIDENCE AT WORKI am going to admit something to you that I have up till now denied fervently. I do this because I trust that you have an open mind and that you are not quick to judge. Ready? I enjoyed reading the 50 Shades of Grey series. Wow – that feels good to get out.  Now why am I telling you this? Because I realized, when asked to write a post on confidence, that maybe this series, that so many of us put down as a poorly written, raunchy, and not-even-close-to-romantic romance novel could teach us a lot about confidence. And not just in our relationships but at work.

When I first sat down to write about how confidence at work can, and should be, inspired by BDSM, my initial attempt was like when Christian and Anastasia first meet – heavy on the awkwardness but screaming with potential. How could the lessons from something that started out as fan fiction (and so, not even real fiction) act as guide to increased confidence at work? Could the tenants of the alternative lifestyle of BDSM be applied to the conventional world of ROI, FYI, and B2B? There was only one way to discover the possibilities of such a tempting partnership – open that door to the red room and find out exactly what could happen…if you have the confidence to admit it.

Be fully committed: Whether you are about to embark on a path to confidence holding your briefcase or a path to dominance with whip in hand, you must be fully committed to that process. The best place to start is to find out what you are really looking for. What will you gain?  What will you lose?  Start a journal of all your desires and needs and then remember to be that journal’s most ardent reader. Don’t worry about style, just make like E.L. James and focus on the passion not the rules.

Saying you are doesn’t mean you are: Confidence is not only the loud crack of a whip, but also the soft and gentle touch of a feather. If you have to remind everyone around you that you are confident, chances are you are anything but. Be true to your own desires and needs and believe in your own abilities. Once you have faith in your own dominance, others will naturally submit to it – and then the crack of the whip will be optional rather than necessary.

Remember reality: While much of the BDSM life is fantasy – players create scenes and act as players in the scene – it’s important to always remember that outside of the scene is real life. Similarly in business, it is important to remember that your confidence comes not from who you are at work, but from the person you are outside of the office. With or without the dog collar and leather chaps you are still the same person; use those items as tools to demonstrate your confidence but not to prove it.

Know Your Limits – And then Push Past Them: The truly confident people at work and in the bedroom know that there is always something else to learn.  A new move, a new skill, and always a new position.  Those we admire most are those that are never satisfied. There is always a new thrill, a new rush, and new heights of pleasure to rise to. True dominance comes with recognizing your own limits, but having the foresight to know that there is truly no gain, without pain. For some that gain may come through the pain of late nights at the office.

The most important of all the lessons that we can take from the world of BDSM is the necessity of being a self-aware person. Know what you want. Know who can give it to you. Know what you are willing to do to get what you want. Ask yourself questions, and then be honest with yourself.

Laters, (business) baby!

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Rebecca Mayville was an associate at CornerStone Dynamics Inc.

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