Why “Badass” is staying on my business card

In which I talk about really owning my badassery.

I have many titles in my professional life, some of which are quite mainstream.

Naval Flight Officer.
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor.
Executive Director.
Mother.

But I also have a few self-assigned titles that aren’t as mainstream or accepted.

Visionary Badass Changemaker.
The QuickBooks Badass.

Recently, someone told me that I’d have to remove “Badass” from my business card before they’d work with me.

You may think I’d say “oh, hell no” without a second thought and move on, right?

But I’ve really wrestled with it.

Because I have this strange dichotomy that I think may be pretty common; I want to be liked, accepted and respected by…well…everybody, really. But I also have a burning need to live authentically and unapologetically. And here’s the thing.

It’s been working.

I have gained clients simply because of the Badass in my title, and I have retained those clients because they find out that it’s true.

Embracing my badassery is a relatively new thing. I’m both military service member and female. Society discourages us from touting our accomplishments. I’m not “supposed to” be walking around calling myself a badass.

But some colleagues helped me realize about two years ago that I have earned the title. I was the only female aviator in my squadron and one of a small minority on my ship. I have almost 1000 hours in my aircraft and am an Advanced Mission Commander. I have birthed and breastfed two amazing children. I am starting a nonprofit. I am going to graduate school.

These are all things I can take pride in, and I’m not going to apologize for it. Nor should you.

We should not apologize for stepping into our power and owning our accomplishments.

We have the right to tell the world what we can offer.

I have been accused of being an “attention whore.” And for years, I rebelled against the title. But I have to admit, it’s true. And then I ask myself, what do I do with that attention?

I divert it.

I’m not actually comfortable getting face-to-face praise. I’m not great at accepting compliments. But I’m happy to talk at length about other people and issues. I have been known to get on my soapbox at parties and rally reluctant party-goers around paid leave and the FAMILY Act. I have gone on at length about normalizing breastfeeding and supporting all mothers regardless of their choices.

In other words, I use that attention to try and make this world a better place – for women, for families, for children. For all of us humans.

I have always been adventurous, outgoing and semi-blunt. I have always had a strong need to help people and make a difference. I have always spoken out when others wouldn’t or couldn’t.

I am a Badass. And you are too.

Leave a comment and tell me about yourself. Would you feel comfortable calling yourself a badass? What would you tell people about your accomplishments if you had no fear of looking cocky or arrogant? What would you do in my situation? I’d love to hear from you!

Love and purple,

Eve

Feminine power in a man’s world: Lingerie under my flight suit.

Until 2010, I was an active duty Naval Flight Officer (NFO) in the E-2C Hawkeye. I was the only female aviator in my squadron, the World Famous Rulers of the Planet VAW-123 Screwtops. Yes, we actually called ourselves that. It was even in my official military orders. I love Naval Aviation.

20140719-164201-60121875.jpg
Photo credit: Derek Gordon

Flight school was one of the most challenging experiences of my life. I was stressed in a million new ways, and in the beginning the stress was bringing out the best in me. I excelled and was feeling pretty good, even a bit cocky.

That was all about to change.

Things ramped up as we got closer to the winging ceremony, which is, as you may as figured, the ceremony wherein the students officially get their wings. I had a lot of flights and simulator events to get through, and my multitasking skills weren’t as good as I thought they were. My confidence wavered, and my performance started to take a nose dive, so to speak.

I am eternally grateful for my mentor at the time, a talented and dedicated female instructor who took extra time to work with me. She even came in on weekends to help me in the simulator, and I know that extra bit of practice and instruction is what finally got my skills where they needed to be.

Fast forward to my last flight before wings. I was incredibly anxious, because I was scheduled to fly with a notoriously nerve-wracking instructor. Even though I had improved dramatically, I was letting self-doubt creep in where it didn’t belong.

There’s a reason that aviators tend toward cockiness. It’s practically a required trait. Generally, it applies more to pilots than NFOs out of necessity; pilots need to have the confidence to land an 80 million dollar aircraft on a flight deck the size of a 7-11 parking lot. As an NFO, you still have life and death decisions to make, just not as often, and in different arenas. So you need to be good, and you need to know you’re good. I wasn’t so sure. That’s bad.

20140719-111839-40719203.jpgDon’t worry, I got my wings.

Although I had wavering confidence in my military prowess, I never doubted my sexual prowess. (For a long time, I did not use my powers for good; that’s a bad girl post for another time.) So what do you do if you’re a sexually confident military woman who is nervous about an event? Wear racy lingerie under your uniform.

So that’s what I did. Lacy bra, matching thong, garter belt, stockings, everything but my whip and handcuffs.

And it worked. Every time I got sweaty-palm nervous controlling aircraft or getting grilled by my instructor, I took a deep breath, recalled my knowledge, thought “he’s got no idea what I’m wearing under my flight suit” and kicked ass.

It’s kind of like imagining your audience naked, only it’s you. And not naked. Ok, it’s a bit of a stretch, but you know what I mean.

For me, it was a tool to alleviate my stress and focus on the task at hand. It was a little bit of “I know something you don’t” that gave me a much-needed confidence boost. Every human interaction is a power play, so having a little extra knowledge secreted away gives you an edge.

Tell me your stories. What methods do you use to cope with stressful situations? Would you try mine?

Love and purple to you all,

Eve
aka “ODB”