Throughout 2018 we saw women use their voices to fight social injustices such as wage inequality and sexual harassment in the workplace. It was the impact of these voices that reminded women that they not only have something valuable to say, they have the right to say it. Alexia Vernon has written what we consider to be a very important book, “Step into Your Moxie,” to help women amplify their voices, visibility and influence, taking an unapologetic approach. Vernon identifies the voices in our heads as either the Critic, the Cop or the Cheerleader which draw us further from our moxie and realizing our own sustainable power. She encourages us to develop the voice of the Coach which asks the right questions to create dialogue and build self confidence.
“Step into Your Moxie” is a book you will want to read twice. Its empowering message equips women to speak up with confidence and intention. CEOMOM Magazine interviewed Alexia Vernon about what it means to “step into your moxie” and why now is the perfect time for women to identify, embrace and use their voices.
What does it mean to “step into your moxie”?
Stepping into your moxie is the ability to walk into any room, or onto any stage, present your ideas, unapologetically, and have them move people to take action. I love the word moxie because it suggests a way of thinking, a way of feeling, and a way of behaving that activates speaking up and disrupting the status quo. This is what “Step into Your Moxie” is all about — amplifying your voice, visibility, and influence in the world — even if, especially if, you have previously struggled to do so in your work, your community, or in your personal life.
Why is “Step into Your Moxie” relevant to women during this historical moment?
While shopping Step into Your Moxie to publishers, some of the feedback I received was, “I’m not sure women’s empowerment or citizens’ marches and protests will still be a thing by the time the book comes out.” Then, while writing the book, #MeToo and #TimesUp happened, millions of Americans continued to march on behalf of#BlackLivesMatter, #MarchForOurLives, and #KeepFamiliesTogether, and so forth. However, while women have marched and spoken up and out on behalf of themselves and others, it’s one thing to go to a rally or broadcast your views in an angry (or empowering) social media post. It’s an altogether different thing to tell yourself, and actually believe, that you possess the power and ability to advocate for yourself — especially if you are in an environment, professionally or personally, in which the people around you are complicit in maintaining the status quo. Media outlets such as CNN, PBS, and Inc. predicted that 2018 would be “the year of the woman,” but how many of us really feel like we have the moxie we need to consistently speak up, tell our truth, and create the future we want for ourselves and our loved ones? In Step into Your Moxie, I give women a pathway to cultivate their personal power so they can use it to speak up for themselves and the issues and causes that matter most to them. As I say in the book, when you step into your moxie, it is an act of divine service to yourself—and also to the world.
There’s a quote that has become popular recently, “Do it scared.” What role does fear play in stepping into your moxie? Do you agree with the notion that we should move forward in spite of fear?
I absolutely believe that what you feel is not fear but what I affectionately call a sensation. The minute we hear the word fear we interpret that as a sign that we should stop. I absolutely believe that we should not use fear as a reason to not speak up or move forward. We have an opportunity to re-frame fear as a sensation so that it makes it easier for us to play nicely with it and keep going.
How important is it that we equip our young daughters to step into their moxie at a young age? How can we start those lessons?
As a mom of an almost 5 year old daughter I don’t think there is anything more important than showing her the value of her voice. I want to give her opportunities to practice using her voice or telling me “no” to embolden her to be able to use it in all walks of life. While girls and women encounter many real and sometimes self imposed obstacles to using their voices, our youngest girls face the biggest obstacles when striving to find their voices. How often are they validated? Are they focused on how they are making other people feel, or if they are likable rather than unapologetically seeking their truth. If we think that it takes a lot for women to speak up for themselves it takes more role play for our girls because they have less experience doing so. It is our roles as leaders to give them as much practice as possible.
What is the one takeaway you want your readers to get from this book?
I want people to takeaway that moxie is a muscle and if we don’t continue to flex it will get weak and flabby. We have opportunities in every single moment in our lives to choose how we speak to ourselves and how we speak to other people. When we are put in that space to speak up for ourselves, it really does get easier. Even though this is my career path like any person I have had moments I have gotten lazy not prepping as much for things. Afterwards I think my words did not cause people to move action. If I would have taken more time to prepare I would probably have been more pleased with myself. It would have mattered more than the external things like what I looked like.
Whenever we are working to adopt a new mindset or shift our way of thinking and behaving their are initial steps to get us started on the different path. What is the first step women must take to own their moxie?
The first step is to learn how to reclaim the role of protagonist in the story you are telling yourself about who you are on a moment to moment basis. We are constantly feeding ourselves stories of what we didn’t do or what went wrong. Although they may be true there are stories where we were enough. We did cause people to move. Those are the stories that we want to default to so that we see ourselves as moxieful rather than not.
Our communication with ourselves has a profound impact on how we feel, how we behave, and ultimately how we speak up in the world.
What role do boundaries play in amplifying moxie, and do you have any practical tips to offer?
Boundaries empower you to wake up each day clear on where you are headed. They shape how you make decisions and what you do or do not say to yourself and to others. Without them, you will find yourself guessing at the rules, constantly feeling like you are out of step with your true self and others, and ping-ponging between hustling for others’ approval and pushing through a persistent drizzle of prissiness. Most important, boundaries redirect us away from using our lives to advance other people’s agendas and toward putting our own issues, causes, and passions smack-dab in the center of what we say and do.
Click here to get your copy of “Step into Your Moxie.”