Step Into Your Moxie Book Review
The word moxie has become synonymous with vigor, verve, pep, courage, nerve, aggressiveness, skill, and know-how, and in Step Into Your Moxie, leadership coach Alexia Vernon presents a soul-stirring call to action for women to speak up for themselves and the ideas and issues that matter most to them.
About Step Into Your Moxie
“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,” writes Alexia. “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, and your personal life. My desire, during our journey together, is for you to discover, and never forget, that you can walk into any room, or onto any stage, and speak with moxie — and inspire other people to do the same.”
Through her coaching and training programs and extensive speaking engagements, Alexia, who was dubbed a “Moxie Maven” by the Obama White House Office of Public Engagement for her potent approach to empowering women, has helped tens of thousands of individuals speak with power and impact at work and in business, with their friends and family, onstage, on camera, and above all, to themselves. In Step into Your Moxie, she distills the communication discoveries she has made throughout her dynamic career into simple, effective, and practical recommendations women can use to experience deep and lasting transformation in all facets of their communication.
Wise, witty, and with just the right amount of woo, Step into Your Moxie is a book women want by their side as they have that daring conversation, give an important presentation, run for office, or tell the people closest to them to step back from those boundaries they’ve just trespassed. Whether they are at the start of their careers, messily shuffling between work and motherhood, or established leaders looking to mentor other women, Step into Your Moxie is a refreshingly playful self-help book that has the power to make women laugh, quite possibly make them cry, and above all, help them speak with unshakeable presence and undeniable impact so they can create the legacy they were born to make.
“We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we’re afraid to let them see it in us. We’re afraid that our trust isn’t enough – that what we have to offer isn’t enough without the bells and whistles, without editing, and impressing” – Brene Brown
Step Into Your Moxie is a definite must have, powerful book for women of all ages to read, re-read and re-read again one more time.
I feel like too often as a woman we are told to act and speak in a way that reflects what society feels we as women should do. It is usually the complete opposite of what our body and mind tells us to do but we have become used to following suit. This can be supressing how we feel at work and at home, taking on extra work because we feel obligated to, not standing up for ourselves, apologizing for having an opinion and the list can go on.
I found myself over and over in this book. I am the bunny (definitely not the dragon) and if you want to learn that definition you have to read the book! I can often be found to start sentences with an apology, I overthink everything and because I hate to disappoint others, I take on things I shouldn’t, I don’t say no and I have a hard time creating boundaries. Whew – that was a lot to get off my chest! Where has that left me? Not feeling confident in myself and resentful at times.
While this book can be seen as a tool for obtaining leadership roles, I think this is an excellent tool and resource for taking charge in all areas of your life. As you work through each chapter, there is a section where you can reflect, work through problems (which in turn helps you to learn a lot more about yourself) and help you to develop stronger professional and personal skills. Each chapter builds upon the previous one and if you get stuck, she re-directs you back to a previous chapter for review.
This is an amazing book for women (and in many ways men) with no age limits. I actually wish I had read this in my teens when I first started to develop insecurities in myself, my voice and my opinions. It is full of tools, resources, life examples and more. Alexia uses humour and real life examples to relate to you on an individual level – you feel as if you know a part of her at the end and recognize many moments in yourself. It is a book that you will come back to more than once and leave feeling empowered and ready to take charge (but not in a dragon lady kind of way!) of your personal and work life. A definite must read!
You can purchase a copy of Step Into Your Moxie on Amazon.
About the Author
Alexia Vernon is the author of Step into Your Moxie. Branded a “Moxie Maven” by President Obama’s White House Office of Public Engagement, she is a sought-after speaking and leadership coach who delivers transformational keynotes and corporate trainings for Fortune 500 companies and other professional groups and organizations, including the United Nations and TEDx. Alexia holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in women’s studies and has been featured on CNN, NBC, ABC, and CBS and in publications like Forbes Woman, Women’s Health, and The European Business Review. Visit her online at http://www.alexiavernon.com.
Question and Answer
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.
Are you somebody who was born with a lot of moxie?
Oh. Heck. No. Fortunately, moxie is a mindset, heartset, and skill set that you can develop, because I was most definitely not born with it. During the first quarter of my life, I experienced an on-again-off-again relationship — with my own voice. One moment I felt like I was tap-dancing on eggshells, striving to be liked, give the right answers, and not be called out for failing to be enough of whatever I conjectured other people wanted me to be. Then at other times, often in close proximity to those former times, I had an insufferable need to be recognized and praised for my achievements. I knew I was born to make a big, positive impact on the world, but until I learned how to redirect away from thinking about what other people were thinking of me — and toward making the impact I professed that I wanted to make — most of the time when I spoke my voice quavered, I used diminishing words and body language, and my speaking did not move people to take action.
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.
You say that at any given moment, most of us are strolling around with at least one of three voices prattling on in our heads — the Critic, the Cop, or the Cheerleader. Please give us a brief description of each of these self-talk voices.
The Critic – When the Critic in your head holds the mic, you never believe you are enough. I’m not smart enough. I’m not experienced enough. I’m not skinny enough. I’m not curvy enough. I’m not hairless enough. (Okay, maybe that last one is just my Critic speaking.) You doubt your decisions and the choices you have before you. You feel as if, in every moment, the world is seeing you as a contestant on a reality TV show the minute she lands in the bottom two — and everyone watching, including the contestant, knows she’s about to lose and be voted off.
The Cop – The Cop, as Cops are wont to do, polices your decision making and turns everything into a dichotomy. In other words, there are a maximum of two options in any situation — and they are at odds with each other. There are good people and bad people. There’s the right vocation; all others are my karmic mismatch. I can be a rock star, or I can be the roadie. When your Cop directs the show in your head, she strives to make everything black-and-white. As a result, you forget that most of life exists in the gray, too often underused, space between these extremes.
The Cheerleader – The Cheerleader is, as the name suggests, extremely adept at cheering you on. She tells you messages like: I’m cool with my client’s passive-aggressive emails or I can pull a second consecutive all-nighter to get that financial report done. Now the Cheerleader voice, in moderation, isn’t such a bad thing. In moments when you have to bulldoze through something uncomfortable and necessary, you definitely want to empower this voice. However, when you go to her by default rather than by design, ultimately, you are going to feel frustrated, get sick, wear out, and step out of your moxie because you aren’t addressing the real issues in your life.
In Step into Your Moxie, I also introduce the Coach, the voice you want to invite in to your mental menagerie to talk back to your Critic, Cop, or Cheerleader. I also share how to empower the Coach to turn your inner monologues into dialogues, rewrite your mental script, and prompt feelings that support your most high-powered speaking. Through this process, you’ll also be set up to address the source of your unproductive self-talk. And if you want to use equal parts heart-centered and high-impact communication, you must shift self-talk from self-critical to self-compassionate.
What advice can you offer women who need to have a daring conversation but aren’t sure where or how to begin?
This is one of my favorite chapters in the book, “Conflict Is the Pits, Until It Isn’t.” When you find yourself in situations in which you know conflict is possible, and similarly know that a conversation needs to happen to prevent you from feeling like you are trying to tread water in a sinkhole, you have four choices. First, you can avoid the conversation. Second, you can wing the conversation. Third, you can mentally script what you plan to say, and have the conversation over and over in your head. Or fourth, you can plan out your conversation, role-play it, and then show up and have it. Clearly, my preference is for readers to choose number four. In order for it to feel like a viable option, it’s important to shift from seeing the kind of conversation you know you need to have as “difficult” to seeing it as “daring.” For difficult conversations happen when you see yourself as the recipient of conflict (real or perceived) rather than as the cocreator of your situation. When you choose compassion, curiosity, creativity, and collaboration, you shift a difficult conversation into a daring one.
How has becoming the mother of a daughter shaped your views on women, communication, and leadership?
There is so much I want for my daughter. I want her to be able to be tender — and fierce. To trust her instincts. To speak up and be seen as assertive — rather than bossy. And, above all, for her opportunities to be dictated by her aptitude and hard work, and not because she did or did not win the genetic lottery. At the time of the book’s publication, my daughter is four-and-a-half — the same age I was when I spoke up about the sexual abuse I was experiencing in my family. Every day I strive to integrate my desire to protect my daughter from what I experienced with my matching desire for her to take risks, fail, dust herself off, and try again. Like me, my daughter is already experiencing a bit of her own on-again-off-again relationship with her voice. While she confidently tells her father and me her opinions, and fortunately, she’s got one on almost everything, during her preschool class play at the end of the year she froze up on stage. Even though we talk about sensation and how to play nicely with it when you feel uncomfortable being visible, her stage fright got the better of her. So, one of my biggest lessons has been sharing my teachings and experiences with my daughter and then unhooking from the outcome. I remind myself (or at least, try to remind myself!) she is on her own journey — that I need to let her have her own moxie-building experiences, good and bad.
Disclosure: I received a digital copy of the above mentioned book. All opinions expressed are my own.