Has anyone ever told you that you're too much?
Too bossy, too opinionated, too aggressive, too loud, too direct, too bitchy, and my personal favorite, too intimidating?
Whenever someone tells you that you're too much of anything, what that person or really is saying is that you need to tone it down, dim your shine.
Don't be yourself because clearly when we are too much, there must be something wrong with us and wrong with who we are and as soon as we hear the “too much” we start feeling like we're not enough.
And once you hear the too much message often enough, it actually can stop you from creating what you want to create, building the business of your dreams, going after the client that you are excited to work with, pitching yourself for the speaking gig or asking for the reviews for your podcast or testimonials for your work because you don't want to be too much.
And I say screw that noise on the show today.
I'm going to get a little personal with you and talk to you about how I have experienced the too much comment all throughout my life and how I've come to embrace it and use it as a sign that I'm actually on the right track because I feel like I am the queen of too much.
Tune into the audio:
To start, I want to tell you one of the most painful and striking memories I have around being called too much.
It came when I was a junior in college and I was on the speech and debate team.
My debate partner was reading our ballots. When you're a debater, there's a judge and you get feedback on each of your debates and you get your ballots at the end of the tournament.
My lovely debate partner was reading a ballot. He took it and he crumpled it up and he threw it out. Just threw it right away!
I said, “Hey, what's the deal with that?” And he replied, “oh that ballot's useless. Don't even read it, Michelle. There's nothing in there for you or for me.”
And I'm thought, oh, interesting. Now I really want to read it.
I wrestled it away from him and I started to read the ballot. The big comment for me and how I was coming across in the debate was that I was a bitch!
Yes, an educator called a 20-year-old a bitch as a form of constructive feedback.
It immediately made me feel terrible, like I did something wrong or that I was a bad person because I didn't see myself as being bitchy, but this other person did.
I chatted with my debate partner about it and he was like, “you know who you should watch? There's this other debater. Her name is Annie. She's super talented and no one ever thinks she's a bitch.”
I thought okay, I'm going to study Annie. That's what I did because clearly there's something wrong with me.
It's not about the other person and her giving me the feedback. I started watching Annie debate and I just couldn't figure out what was different about her from me.
She was just as direct. She was just as forceful with her arguments, but somehow people liked her for that. She wasn't too much.
And finally, I just asked, “Annie, what's your secret? How do you get people to like you while you're making a forceful argument?” And she said, “I have no idea, Michelle. None.”
Then I realized that it wasn't me who needed fixing it was the people around me who saw me as too much.
This even carried through into when I was starting this business!
When I started the business, I bought the domain, drmichellemazur.com and one of my male colleagues told me that, oh, maybe I shouldn't use that as my domain name because telling people that I am a Doctor would intimidate them.
What the actual fuck? Right?
I worked for years on this degree. I am still paying off the student loans for this Ph.D. Not only that, my Ph.D. is in communication and that is the work that I do. I am highly credible.
Clearly, I disregarded his advice and went and led with my credibility. And if people are intimidated by that, that's really not my problem.
It's not the first time I've heard that I'm intimidating.
When people tell me that I'm intimidating, it makes me think that there's something wrong with me and I should change.
So what do you do when people tell you that you are much too much? Should you listen to them? Should you take it in as feedback?
And this is what I have to say.
No! Too much is just a perception. It's the other person's perception.
Basically what my male friend was telling me was that my Ph.D. intimidated him.
It didn't intimidate other people. People liked the fact that I actually know what I'm doing and I'm credible.
I see this quote on Instagram all the time, that “it's not your business what other people think of you” and it is so very true and it is so very hard to act on because we think, oh man, there's something wrong with me and I have to fix myself. But that is not true. Being direct is who I am. Being a bit too loud. Yup.
The one reframe I want to give you when anyone ever tells you that you're too much is this: too much is just the right amount.
Too much means that you are being yourself. Too much means you are speaking up and voicing your opinions too much means that you are leading.
That is your new mantra. Too much is just the right amount.
I challenge you to go all-in on your too-muchness embrace it. The people who want to be a part of your community, they are going to will love you for being too much and help you embrace your too-muchness.
Until next time, when anyone ever tells you that you're too much of anything, what I want you to do is look them right in the eye, smile and say, too much is just the right amount.