Show Your Fearless Power
Fearless. That was the word that multiple people used to describe her. As an American in China, she was often seen as an easy mark for taxi drivers and street vendors. It was assumed that she was a tourist and did not understand what things should cost. They thought she was clueless.
She wasn’t. She was fearless.
At night in Shanghai, taxi drivers turn off their meters and charge whatever they can get, often times overcharging those who don’t know to ask for less. Our group was picked up quickly by cars who assumed we would jump in and pay whatever we were told to pay. I watched as their faces dropped when they learned that this woman was quite fluent in Mandarin. Over the course of the weekend, we got thrown out of multiple cabs.
Later, in a market, I listened as she negotiated a purchase for me. Three silk shirts for $50. The conversation/argument lasted several minutes and afterward the vendor grabbed my arm and complimented me on this woman. Why me? Well...
There is something I’m not telling you: The woman in question is my 21-year-old daughter, Madeline Priscilla Farquharson.
Where Madi found this strength is beyond me. Perhaps it was just that she needed it in order to survive in the world. After all, she’s been on 6 continents and in 35+ countries to date. But I couldn’t help thinking about the power that comes to the fearless. She has always been confident. I mean, from the moment she was born it was clear she was in control. But being fearless is a whole other level.
I bring this up not just to boast ... okay, maybe a little ... but as a reminder that you won’t get anything unless you ask for it. Whether you are negotiating a taxi rate, silk shirt, or an order, you need to demonstrate a level of assertiveness that is likely higher than where you reside at the present moment.
Don’t be afraid to hold your ground. Don’t be afraid to ask for your price. Don’t be afraid of anything. Be fearless. Role-play until you gain the confidence you need. Get into an argument, be embarrassed, feel the pain, undergo the worst case scenario so that when you are in an actual situation with the client, you will know what to do and you will know that you can handle any outcome.
At the end of this month, Madeline will return to Pudong to start her new job, having graduated from NYU Shanghai (Cum Laude, thankyouverymuch). Any fear I have regarding a daughter on the other side of the world is directed towards the people who make the assumption that she does not understand local culture. Lookout, China.
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Bill Farquharson can be reached at (781) 934-7036 or firstname.lastname@example.org