Transforming patronizing conversations

I want to share with you a situation which occurred a few days after I took the decision and sat down with a friend who is genuinely brilliant.  Only one tiny problem: his ego transcends the universe! And it is no secret I am allergic to egos in general. We all have them; we are humans.

Still, I have little tolerance nor understanding for people who let words prevail over actions. 

Before I go off topic, what was the patronizing situation? I will share two scenarios of how I would have reacted a few years ago, how I responded and the lessons I learned which may help you turn a patronizing situation to your advantage!

We sat down, and I was full of excitement on possibilities for my future. Because of his intellectual capacity and extensive experience, I wanted to share my general ideas and get his advice. His advice was very valuable, and I made sure to note everything down in my ideas diary.

Keeping a journal with your ideas is btw perfect to ensure your brain keeps space for new ideas to enter and for creativity to flourish. 

One of my aspirations is to become a life and motivational coach once I complete my certification, and I want to work with both individuals, managers, and senior executives.

Now, the patronizing comment:

 “Nadja, no offense, but a senior executive would not want to be coached by you. They are very snobby, you know.  As what would someone like you (alluding to my gender and youthful appearance) coach them on? No offense, Nadja. ”

A few years ago, I would have unleashed the Dutch Pitbull and gone on the full frontal attack. And probably went home and cried about how unfair this comment was, and maybe he was right.

Years later, how did I react? I smiled.  You know, my Arab Fox smile. As he had no idea what I am capable of. That’s fine; I know, and that is enough. I also know that these types of comments say more about them than about you, never forget that! Only when more than two people make the same comment, then you should ask yourself:

How do I change or what do I need to learn to get what I want? Don’t give space to limiting beliefs, use your energy to build the new. 

I continued to ask questions and kept focusing on my desired outcome for this conversation: get the information I need, full stop.  Lessons learned?

It is not personal

This is key for developing skin as thick as crocodile when advancing in your career, or even in your own lives.

When you detach your emotional side for a moment, you keep the focus and energy on your objectives. You allow for rational thinking, and you will crush your goals much faster. Keep the bigger picture in mind, always!  

Now, I am not saying you should let people get away with what is an unacceptable behavior to you. Set your boundaries and pick your battles! Managing your energy on the way to your dreams is what will get you there.

Non-reactivity is a sign of maturity

Had I unleashed the Dutch Pitbull, he would have been right. Working with senior leadership requires a high level of emotional intelligence, agility, and maturity. No one will want to work with a drama queen who is unable to control his or her emotions. Seek to understand before being understood is such a powerful principle which will get you miracles, trust me!


The reason why I mastered the previous lessons is that I know my value, I know what I am capable of, I also know my limits, and most important of all…

My self-worth does not depend on other people’s opinion.  

Being continuously in touch with your inner self will go a very long way in becoming resilient and successful in life. Awareness of your surroundings is also vital in the sense that if you are going to pursue a service-based business, you should be aware of how your stakeholders perceive you and how your value proposition comes across.

I hope you enjoyed the read and will apply these lessons next time someone makes a patronizing comment! Remember, if you believe, you will become!


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