The good girl is the one within us all that’s well behaved. She follows the rules. Sometimes she doesn’t even remember where the rules came from. She just knows, ‘That’s the way I do things’.
She’s polite or compliant. She doesn’t make waves.
She only wants to stand out for the ‘right things’. She definitely doesn’t want to be singled out for doing something wrong.
She follows the path that’s been laid out for her because that’s what’s expected.
She’s terrified of forging her own path.
In order for us to be free, sovereign women who create life on our own terms, we have to unpack the good girl.
We have to understand how she’s influencing our behaviour and limiting our potential.
If you’re a business owner and the good girl is running your game, things look a lot like this:
- You spend a lot of time learning and feel like you’re making progress. But if that’s not counter-balanced with action, it’s likely you’ve fallen into procrasti-learning.
- You wait – unconsciously – for someone to give you permission to really go for it but that person never arrives because in entrepreneurship you’re the authority figure. You’re the boss. So you stay busy and think, ‘I’ll make the pitch, run that summit, host that fb live when…’ and ‘when’ never arrives.
- You end up acting like an employee instead of a business owner. You trade time for money, work on projects that aren’t scalable, and do everything yourself.
- You don’t set clear boundaries with your clients and students. You over-deliver, agree to things you really don’t want to do, and inconvenience yourself rather than state your own needs. Unsurprisingly you end up feeling resentful, overworked and exhausted.
- You don’t earn the money you deserve because you don’t charge what you’re worth. Either you’re worried about being seen as greedy, or you’ve decided people can’t afford to pay a higher price, or you just want to be accessible to everyone.
There is no room for the good girl in entrepreneurship. She will never ever allow you to become the CEO you need to be if you want to build a successful business.
The good girl works well as an employee.
However, employers often take advantage of her; praising her for her efforts and then promoting the guy who doesn’t do much work, but is great at networking and marketing himself.
Because she always says yes, she’s often overworked and actually takes pride in being able to ‘juggle it all’. In truth, she’s afraid of setting clear boundaries. Of saying no. Because she can’t see her own true worth, she doesn’t always get the respect she deserves.
She can also fall into the trap of not asking for help – priding herself as she does on her competency. She’s unconsciously training people to rely on her, expect her to be able to do everything, and while at times she takes pride in all of this, when she doesn’t feel like playing the part, she feels resentful and agitated.
She’s also in her element when playing the role of ‘the good mother’.
The adult manifestation of the good girl is the perfect wife and mother. (This being an idealised patriarchal notion of the ‘appropriate’ role for women in society.)
She’s not actually expected to exist outside of these roles. She exists only in so far as she is in a relationship with her husband and her children. Her needs are always secondary to theirs. And in fact, the sublimation of her needs is signalled as a sign that she’s doing a good job.
‘How are you?’ ask her friends.
‘We’re great,’ she answers (assuming that when asked about herself, the inquiry was actually a query about the wellbeing of the family as a whole).
‘Jacob’s birthday party is coming up so I’ve been putting a cute little invitation together on the computer. Malcolm has a big work do on Friday night so I’m off to get a mani/pedi later today, and Remy has a school concert on next week so I’ve been working on the costumes with some of the other mothers.’
She doesn’t even notice that she hasn’t actually answered the question because the question of how she is, is so wrapped up in how everyone else is.