Interview Patty

Not Knowing What You Think You Should Know

January 16, 2024

There is nothing quite like working in politics to hone your communication skills. In my first business, I was a political consultant and lobbyist. I loved the work, it was fascinating, and I’d never do it again.

The business of politics is as nasty and soul-sucking as you may imagine. I longed to make a difference and naively thought I could do that by helping to elect the best people and advocate for important issues.

I like to believe I did some good and effected positive change, but the work took a high personal toll. Every day brought ethical challenges, and there were lines I wouldn’t cross. While I learned a lot – about human behavior, effective communication, political issues, and myself – it was stressful and demanding work.

The skills and techniques I taught to political candidates are the same skills I teach today to women business owners. But communicating effectively requires so much more than learning skills. This is where women can shine, using their intuition and powers of perception, but they frequently struggle to speak up and speak out.

I define effective communication as a crucial combination of active listening, giving out information, and getting through to your listener.

-- Excerpt from Patty’s book, Your Hidden Advantage: Unlock the Power to Attract Right-fit Clients and Boost Your Revenue.

Today’s Question:

When do you find it most difficult to speak up?

Here are my top three scenarios when I’m likely to stay quiet:

  1. When I don’t know what I think I should know, for example: early in my business, I was embarrassed to admit I didn’t understand the accounting jargon my CPA used. Wasn’t I supposed to understand these concepts as a successful business owner?
  2. When I’m entering a new and unique situation that feels high stakes, for example: I decided to close my political consulting business instead of trying to sell it. At that point in my business life, I had no clue how to sell my company, what to ask, and who to trust.
  3. When someone is angry, for example: when I was Director of Operations for an international school, I had to fire the head of our technology department. He was a foot taller than me and likely double my weight. I had carefully crafted what I wanted to say, being direct but kind. I was shocked by his reaction, as he quickly became angry and threw a paperweight at my office wall. At the same moment it thudded to the floor, I fled my office and called security. I didn’t feel safe enough to say anything and had him escorted off campus. I finished his firing via email.

But Here’s the Twist
. . .

If we’re not communicating effectively, it affects every aspect of our lives. Knowing when it’s most difficult for you to speak up can help you take steps to change that dynamic.

If you’re like me, you may have trouble speaking up and asking relevant questions when you’re entering a new and unique situation that feels high stakes. I see that often when I’m working with women who want to position their business for their exit.

Sometimes, these women think they should know what they don’t know – and find it hard to give themselves the grace to ask questions. Instead, they stay silent.

The reason so few women can or will sell their companies is that they’re not thinking or talking about their eventual exit. Without that thought and planning, it is extremely unlikely they can make it happen.

Now What?

When you are ready to exit your business, you're transitioning a piece of your identity. Your business is an embodiment of your passion, hard work, and aspirations.


Everything you experience during this transition is new and unique, and there’s no reason you should know what you don’t know. You will likely experience doubt, fear, confusion, frustration, and even anger. The stakes are high and there are so many unpredictable variables in an exit.


That’s why having a roadmap from the very beginning is crucial. The most important part is knowing what you want your life to look like before, during, and after your exit. Your roadmap will evolve over time but provides guideposts that keep you grounded and in control.


The roadmap is the first step to an Elegant Exit™. Your exit can lead to wealth if you choose to sell your company, but what brought you here won’t get you there.


An Elegant Exit™ requires a new way of thinking, new skills, a simple and elegant design, and an advocate on your side. Contact me to learn more. 


Discover your Exit Readiness Index™ with this assessment: http://she-exits.com/


When do you find it most difficult to speak up?

I'd love to hear what you think.  I read and respond to every email personally.

A Note from Patty...

My life’s work is empowering high-achieving women business owners to fine-tune their operations and scale their revenue for strategic growth, creating real business value and emerging exit ready. That value can transform into wealth when they are ready to exit their company - and I believe that wealth in the hands of women elevates society as a whole.

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