It’s Time to Toughen Up!

Want to know  the big secret to financial success? I got it straight from the mouths of women who make six and seven figures.

If you want to play a bigger game, you’ve got to toughen up!

Toughening up means disconnecting from your Inner Pleaser and growing thicker skin.

By  nature, we women want everyone to be happy with us. Successful women are no different. Almost all I interviewed confessed to a “little girl inside me who wants to be liked.” 

However, success requires us to make difficult, even painful, decisions that often have negative consequences for other people.

In fact, virtually all the women I interviewed told me that their biggest regret was not making tough decisions sooner.

“You have to do the hard stuff,” said one mega high earner. That ‘hard stuff’ included firing employees, ending partnerships, holding tight during demanding negotiations, enforcing an unpopular policy, firing high paying clients, even enduring multiple rejections and disappointments.

Toughening up’ didn’t mean these women had to harden their hearts, numb their senses, or go all macho.  It did mean a dramatic shift in their mindset.

The shift sounds like this: ‘I’d rather be respected than liked.’

 As one woman told me:  “I tried to be nice rather than stand by my convictions. But I learned, you can’t always be liked, but you can definitely be respected.”

 This one shift in thinking– ‘I’d rather be respected than liked’ –means developing a “rhinoceroses hide” while keeping an open heart.

This is precisely how we’ll become strong, effective leaders without compromising our feminine nature. This is what will allow us to be powerful without being punitive, forthright without being unfeeling, responsible without being ruthless.

 Where do you need to toughen up?  If you’re like me, I bet it’s not just at work, but on the home front too.  Leave me a comment below.

Comments & Feedback

  • Lisa

    Last weekend, my father threatened my mother’s younger brother that he was going to hit him in my deceased grandmother’s home, which is ironically full of religious replicas!

    Part of me doesn’t want to get involved in this, yet part of me knows my grandmother would be heartbroken about this and concerned about her daughter and son. I’m concerned about the legal consequences my dad’s threats have and what this says about his emotional or mental state! I don’t know what I need to do, but I know I need to toughen up somewhere.

    • barbara huson

      Lisa, you are right to be concerned. Your father seems to have an anger problem, to say the least. My big concern…do you feel safe around him? Has he ever hurt or threatened to hurt you? This man could be dangerous and I would hope you’re staying out of harms way.

      • Lisa


        Thanks for your concern.

        He used to scare me when I was child, but not anymore. He hasn’t hit me since I was 12 or 13. He used to threatened to kill me when I was a child, but it was more about having psychological control over me. He knows who and what situations he can bluff.

        I live on the other side of the world. I’m going to tell him that my husband and I are going to drop in on him for a couple hours for a friendly conversation later this year and write him a letter calmly letting him know I’m concerned about his threats and why. Remaining calm when dealing with a psycho is key 🔑

        • barbara huson

          Good luck. Psycho’s don’t want to hear pleas for them to stop their threats. Those pleas tend to add fire to the flames, and encourage their threatening behaviors, not stop them. Just make sure you’re safe.

  • Rebecca Stafford

    I’m a little uncomfortable with the term ‘toughen up’ – although it is qualified in the article. I feel like the bigger picture is that it’s easier to let go of wanting people to like us, when we start practicing liking ourselves.
    Thanks for a thought (and feeling! 😊) Provoking article 🌈🦋✨

    • barbara huson

      Rebecca, you make an excellent point. When you like/love yourself, it’s so much easier to take a stand, to stick to your boundaries, to speak your truth in ways that may not be welcomed. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

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Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

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