Written by 11:16 am SheHandlesIt Mindset, Women in Business • 46 Comments

You Have No Idea What You’re Capable of

woman carrying suitcase

Okay, so I get that chivalry isn’t dead, but I also don’t understand why a woman who “does for herself” still shocks people. It’s 2022, ya’ll. Let me explain. 

I was on a plane ride home recently; I often fly alone for work. I was lucky enough to get the bump to business class – so I sat in the plane’s first seat. Don’t get excited. It doesn’t happen very often. 

Stronger Than You Think

Like everyone else, I placed my carry-on in the overhead bin, sat back, and enjoyed my flight. Well, as much as one can enjoy a red-eye at 12:30am. No, this isn’t the story. The story begins when the plane lands.  

After we land, I open the overhead bin and pull down my luggage. Again, this is nothing new for me. I was sitting next to an elderly gentleman, so I pulled his carry-on down for him as well. I was outside, and he was by the window – I was trying to be courteous. 

A Confident Woman?

As I was pulling down the bags, another gentleman asked if I needed help, and in my normal fashion, I said, “no, thank you, I’ve got it.” He smiled and said, “that is a sign of a confident woman.” 

The elderly man said, “she even got my bag for me.” They were shocked that I refused help and even pulled the older man’s bag down – they even joked about my upper body strength. 

Let’s keep it real, I am 5’1″ and 115 pounds, so it had nothing to do with upper body strength. I was merely in a better position to retrieve the bags than either of them were

It’s Not the First Time

It’s not the first time I’ve encountered this situation, but it’s the first time I really thought about it. When I reflected on my experience, it made me realize that as a woman we’re expected to let men help us.

Let me point out that both men involved were older and from a different generation. I appreciate their generosity and their chivalrous mindset – what disturbs me is how often do they encounter a woman who expects someone to pull her bag down?  

Let’s Set the Record Straight

I want to set the record straight here, from my point of view. I appreciate anyone, man or woman, who offers to help me. I’m trying to be a better receiver of help – I know it’s something I need to work on. With that said, understand no one is obligated to help you –YOU are capable of doing things on your own.  

It’s Time to Feel Empowered

As a woman, I feel responsible for helping other women feel strong. It’s incredibly empowering to travel alone, take care of yourself, and even help those around you. I think too often, women, in particular, feel inferior and allow these feelings to hold them back.  

On this same work-trip, I decided to go for a hike after learning my flight was delayed. I was in another state and alone, but I wasn’t willing to let that ruin my day. I had a wonderful time hiking with the gorgeous views and even stumbled upon a street festival.

Too often, people miss out on so many awesome things because they’re afraid to try – or afraid to be alone – or afraid they can’t do something. Stepping out of your comfort zone is meant to feel uncomfortable. Only until you realize it’s not as bad as you thought.  

Three Pieces of Advice For All Women

  1. Try it (whatever it is) before you assume you aren’t capable. 
  2. Be okay being alone. Sometimes you’ll find your most creative and productive thinking can be done when alone. 
  3. Find confidence in your independence. You’ll never regret being able to do it for yourself. EVER. 

You have no idea what you’re capable of if you don’t even start. There are so many things to do and experience that you will miss out on if you feel the need for constant companionship or dependency. 

Your independence is something that no one can ever take away. It will protect you from being in a position of major weakness or codependency. Don’t get in your own way. Step out of your comfort zone and into your greatness.

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Last modified: June 14, 2022