Personal Growth

Throwing Shade, Side-Eyes and Other Covert Communication That Messes Us Up

Photo Credit: PicNoi-Clarke Sanders

Photo Credit: PicNoi-Clarke Sanders

What's on the menu for today? A good read, a bit of shade and a cut of the eye, on the side. 

The other day I wrote about civility or the lack thereof in the broader culture. I get a sense that there are a lot of folks who are out to claim their title as the baddest B$&h in the streets. Something similar to what used to go down on the middle school playground back in the day.

So what is up with the whole idea that in order for us as women to get through issues we have to resort to insults, mean behaviour or indirect yet aggressive behavior aimed at humiliating or shaming another person we dislike?

Here's my thought on the matter...we need to let it go!

What is it? It's that toxic weight we carry when our default position is to respond to others from a place of contempt or malice.

It's that negative weight that follows us around when we are in our homes and our offices. It seeps into our psyche and before we know it...this is just how we operate.

What I am talking about is the idea that somehow instead of being upfront communicators we should get comfortable 'reading people', 'throwing shade' , or dishing out 'side eyes' to those we aren't fond of or who, perhaps may not be fond of us.

These covert and frankly uncivil behaviors (yep, I called it like I see it) don't do anyone any good. It's catty at best, destructive at worst. I've been guilty, hands in the air. When I first strolled into the corporate world I also brought along my attitude. I'm direct yet I had to learn how to tone down my directness so it didn't come off as insulting or rude. I also had to keep my eye roll in check. Sort of like, rolling it but in the back of my head where it couldn't be seen.

Here are 4 reasons to ditch the shade, cancel the read and straighten out the side eye for good.

1. No one lives in our heads but us, so don't expect anyone to read your mind. Being direct ensures that your point is made and it gives the receiver a chance to state their position. The hope is that it can all be done respectfully. Side eye is just that, it's from the side. Not everyone will pick it up. Learn how to eloquently get your point across, say what you mean and get heard.

2. Stories are great, yet they suck when used to draw conclusions about someone else's behaviour. If it didn't come from the horse's mouth, then chances are it's inaccurate. Wondering what someone is 'trying' to say? Ask them. If they are rude or respond in a way we don't like, we just need to walk away. I've learned that this is the best approach for maintaining our composure and reputation. When they go low, we go HIGH. Michelle Obama, she said that!

3. We will form better bonds. People will either like us or not. No guessing in between. It's ok if they don't, we cant be for everybody but we should know who is truly in our corner. If we aim to approach others respectfully, we increase the likelihood that we will form better connections. Cantankerous spirits tend to get cantankerous results.

4.  You create space for positive vibes. Negative energy is like quicksand, the more of it you encounter the harder it is to break free. We need to drop the negative energy. It's heavy weight. We will carry this toxicity around with us and it will stifle our growth.

Women we need to come together to embrace positivity. If you feel that you are receiving negative energy, check in with the person who is sending it. Ask questions in a way that opens up a dialogue. You may be surprised to discover she wasn't shading you all along.

Positive vibes only!

What are your thoughts on the issue?


Your Friend In Success,


The Professional's Coach


Liked this post? Sign up for my VIP List to get more articles like this and tips on how you can WIN at work life or business. Also gain access to my Learning Centre where I share resources that can help you on your journey.

Weekly Challenge: Let's Grow with Intention


'Growth doesn't just happen' John C. Maxwell.

Can I give you a challenge for this week ahead?

Write down on a piece of paper 1 goal that you would like to achieve in the next 3 months. Something you have been longing to do but you haven't yet figured out how you will get it done.

After you write that down, start envisioning what your life would look like when you achieve that goal. How will you feel? What will you be doing? how will it benefit others? Envision it with as much detail as possible.

Building a personal brand that distinguishes us from the other billions of people in this world starts with the decision to be intentional about our personal growth.

Let's do a check in next week to see how we did with this visioning exercise.

Who's with me? Are you ready? Let's go!


If you are an emerging leader or desire to grow in the area of leadership check out the upcoming Mastermind 'Laws of Growth for Emerging leaders'. Click the link below to find out more.



7 Laws to Start Building Your Most Captivating Personal Brand


What does it truly mean to grow? Do you spend a lot of time thinking about how much progress you are making in life? Have you focused on setting a clear path for your life and career or do you just let things happen? Are the chips just falling where they may? Day after day. Are you satisfied with the outcomes you have had so far?

My Lessons Learned:

What I have learned in my transition from a dissatisfied full-time government employee to where I am today, a full-time entrepreneur living my purpose, is that I am responsible for my growth.

15 Laws of Growth:

This month I will be running a series focused on personal growth and development. In this series, I will be sharing a few highlights from my mentor and leadership expert John C. Maxwell. I will share John’s wisdom he poured out in the 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.

The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth is an incredible book that challenges us to think deeply about our own personal growth. In it, I discovered 7 laws that I found to be critical first steps in building out our Personal Brand.

Laws to Start Building Your Personal Brand:

The 7 laws I refer to happen to be the first 7 of John's 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. Here's a quick rundown for you:

1. The Law of Intentionality: Growth doesn't just happen

2. The Law of Awareness: You must know yourself to grow yourself

3. The Law of the Mirror: You must see value in yourself to add value to yourself

4. The Law of Reflection: Learning to pause allows growth to catch up with you

5. The Law of Consistency: Motivation gets you going, discipline keeps you growing

6. The Law of Environment: Growth thrives in conducive environments

7. The Law of Design: To Maximize growth, develop strategies


Why Does Growth Matter Anyway?

Who doesn't want to improve in some area of life? Most of us truly do, but for the most part, we face serious struggles figuring out how to get from point A to point B. We get caught up in the minutia of the day to day that we can’t see the forest for the trees. Before we know it, 5, 10, 15 years have passed and we find ourselves stuck…in the same place.

My Experience:

I remember like it was yesterday, back in 2006 I was in a very lonely and confused place. I was stuck in what felt like a dead-end career, in and out of bad relationships, lacking financial clarity, confused about my purpose and I had no clue what I was going to do with my life. That was until I decided to do something about it. I decided to live with intention and haven’t looked back since.

I have been where you might currently be. I have been in a place of doubt, confusion, stagnation, 'I hate this da$! Job’ and perhaps had a few to many ‘get me outta here' moments. What got me out of that place was a decision to take control of my life and career. I'm not encouraging anyone to up and quit their job like I eventually did, but what I am encouraging you to do is to find your happy place, discover your purpose, put a plan of action into place and attack it with determination and fearlessness.

Understanding your Personal Brand:

To grow to our fullest potential, we can all benefit from reflecting upon all of John’s 15 Laws. As a start, it’s important that we reflect upon clearly understanding and defining who we are. That is, developing our Personal Brand.

What is it that you stand for and what experience are you leaving with others when they come to know you? To have a personal brand that is captivating begins with personal reflection. A personal brand along with competency and skill is your ticket to standing out and winning the game of life. An outstanding brand presence enables you to attract and connect with the right people for greater influence.

I firmly believe that “the true measure of leadership is influence- nothing more, nothing less.”

Furthermore, “everything rises and falls on leadership!”

“Leadership ability determines a person’s level of effectiveness”


Are you ready to try something new? To grow beyond your wildest imagination? Take an intentional step in the direction of your personal growth.

Join me and a select group of like minded professionals as we explore John Maxwell’s 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.

Not sure where or how to start?  Click this link to find out more