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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

Beta female

Quiet and uncompetitive, Ellen Tout worried she would need a personality change if she wanted to be successful and not fade into the background – but a new book opened her eyes


Our team is in a meeting at work; everyone is talking at once but I haven’t said a word. Working like this has never felt right for me. I’m not competitive, my default is to avoid confrontation and I’m more productive when I have time to reflect. But I worry: Do they think I don’t understand? Or that I’m daydreaming? Or uninterested? Author and journalist Rebecca Holman describes people like me as ‘beta’. ‘What people can’t see is that while everyone else is being sucked into a pointless argument, you’re making notes and thinking things through’, she says. ‘You’re trying to solve the problem. To save time, you’ll probably email your thoughts after the meeting. You may not get credit, but it’s the easiest way to do it.’

This is exactly how I operate, and hearing someone put it into words is refreshing. So is her insistence that betas are as essential to a team as alphas. I’ve often questioned myself and worried whether colleagues overlook me or assume I don’t have anything to contribute. I know that I get the job done, but I’ve felt like I don’t fit in – that I need to be louder and more assertive if I’m going to progress.

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We encourage you to fall in love with life, to get out of your head and into nature. Spring is officially here and we’re encouraging you to try a ‘micro-adventure’ –  a 24-hour foray outside into the fresh air whether it’s walking in the hills, or sleeping under the stars. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and fed up of slaving to support a lifestyle that doesn’t make you happy, then read how decluttering and minimalism can help you start creating a life based on values, not things in our  dossier. Join our month-long Psychologies Decluttering Challenge with expert Cait Flanders, author of The Year Of Less, who will coach us on how to simplify our lives.