I have no particular religious inclination but I, like Dan Brown, have always recognised that if females are anything at all they are almost all quite divine and no more so than in the workplace.
Of course sadly too few women recognise their divine position as so much of their true being is eroded by a constant chip, chip, chip at their self worth.
True self worth is of course in your mind, supposedly the famous quote of Mrs Roosevelt, but the reality for many is self-worth is but a thin veneer.
Having, I believed, honed my own veneer into the skin of a rhino I was mortified to discover only last week that my impenetrable hide was in fact not quite as robust as I had believed.
For nine months, I had worked on a transaction and completion date loomed imminently close. The deal value to my clients, who were selling their business, was in excess of expectations. They had acknowledged on many, many occasions, indeed with platitudes aplenty, my superior negotiation skills!
Why then on the back of such clear evidence would the client choose to challenge a pre agreed fee.
The challenge, introduced into the process immediately before completion, was without foundation and was, without a doubt, a clear "try on". To suggest this was bullying may seem outrageous but if it wasn't it certainly felt like it.
What was most disconcerting was a) how it made me feel and b) how I dealt with it.
I took to flight mode momentarily, wanting to literally and figuratively run away from the problem. I became emotional and sensitive and for 24 hours my normal positive bouncy self disappeared in a fog of horror and frankly depression. I went from hero to zero.
But - One of the great things about being a woman is that such a "cave like attitude" does not persist for long.
What I needed was to talk to someone. Not so much about what to do, just to talk. I knew, if I am honest, what I needed to do, but I needed to express the issue and hurt, not just mentally but vocally.
As women we know not only the cathartic benefits of that, but the positive outcomes that such a process almost always brings.
For most women the third party who must endure this process is not all that significant - provided of course they a) listen and b) do not try and resolve the issue.
Who to talk to?! In my case my then managing partner (a man, but whoa is he a good listener! A skill sadly all too few men possess) and whoa did he listen as I ranted and raved and shed a few self indulgent tears.
He knew I knew what to do, and I knew he knew it, but the great thing was he listened (and on a number of occasions) until I had formulated a plan.
He then helped me implement it for which I am truly grateful.
The outcome - well lets put it this way. We got our fee and left a satisfied client behind. Yes we could have delivered only one of these outcomes but we got both and, at the end of the day that was important.
Am I still full of confidence? Funnily enough I think more so as I proved that I was able and willing to ask for help when I needed it and most importantly knew when to take it.