Eek, here is another concept that sounds so cheesy and cliché that it makes me squeal: feminine power. Or feminine leadership. It makes me wonder, “what do you mean feminine power?. I’m a woman, so what about it? And yet I have to talk about it.
(Before I go any further, let me tell you that feminine or masculine, in this blog post, are not gender specific. They are qualities that both men and women have, more or less developed.)
A little story telling. I used to work at the European HQ of an American Fortune 500 company, in another -not so distant- life. The General Manager was a man, the Sales Director was a man, the Financial Director was another man, the factory leader was yet another man, and so on. Not many women in top management roles. One day, the Leadership team changed. And surprise, our Vice-President was… a woman! She had 4 kids, a husband, etc, and I thought it was really worth celebrating. Until I got to meet her and work with her. To my big disappointment, she was no different than many of the men around, which was not bad per se, but still. I couldn’t really tell why I was disappointed, but I was.
Fast forward a few years, and I hear one of my former mentors that she “stopped being the best man she could be”. Ugh. THAT’S IT, I thought. That’s absolutely what is going on with many of us women. We are still trying to be the best man we can be. Nothing to do with how we look like. It’s all behavior and mindset. I know in my case, it wasn’t articulated that way, but the message conveyed in my family was that to be equal to a man, you had to prove that you are like a man, that you can work as hard as a man, that you can be as smart as a man, that you ca be as strong as a man. As a result, you end up unconsciously copying what men do. I unintentionally ended up following the same path as most of my male and female colleagues in the corporate world: climbing the corporate ladder, through to burn out.
Then, when I started taking my business seriously, I started working with a high-end coach, I bought a few courses from well-respected people in their field, I spent tons of money on this, trying to “get me there”. However, the results seemed really poor.
Why didn’t that seem to work for me if it seemed to work for everyone else? Why did I not seem to be able to do it, even though I, too, longed for the same golden promises?
I felt shame, insecurity and fear, I was restless, exhausted and anxious. And the wise part of me was thinking “there must be another way, there must be another way, you need to keep looking until you find it”. SO my eyes and ears were constantly on the look-out.
At some point this year, I went to a conference. Nothing business related, but the speaker mentioned that one of the reasons we were living in such a dysfunctional economy was because the masculine paradigm had taken over. Erm, say that again? Even though he didn’t elaborate much on it, something about it sounded true.
Then I read this article about the feminine vs masculine hierarchy of needs by Tina Chen. This distinction made so much sense, in a small as much as a larger scale. Yes, we are different, and hence it makes sense that our needs are different. Nothing wrong with this at all, we’re just different, but we have been operating as if being “equal” means “identical”.
Fast forward a little more. As I kept struggling every day, with these new insights in the back of my mind, something clicked.
I started to understand that the way I had been building my business, driven by money and figure goals (10k months, 5 figures this, 6 figures that, x gazillion people on your list, etc) as a way to measure and drive my success, always pushing and striving for more, was a masculine way. I was in the business of helping people “do business their way”, looking for more flow and ease, and even though what I was doing felt icky and pushy in my own business, I thought I was the problem, that I wasn’t good enough, didn’t know enough or pushed hard enough. I realized the problem was not ME. The problem was this masculine vs feminine thing. Too much masculine vs too little feminine. This stuff about Ying and Yang (cringes again). Too much wanting to be the best man I could be. Too much following the same (masculine) models that belong to a paradigm that is clearly exhausted and is also clearly shifting.
And one day, I had one of those genius strokes of intuition that comes coupled with an supercharged dose of courage.
That day, I decided to stop it all. Everything that I was doing to “grown my own business”. All of it. I wasn’t getting very far anyway, and the price to pay was way too high.
Did it feel scary? Hell yes. I thought everything was going to collapse, I’d run out of money within a month and die under a bridge, or worse, on one of those terrible Parisian underground benches with the other homeless people who smell like fermented pee. Gah. My worst nightmare.
Fast forward some more time.
Now I realize everything I did back then (hiring some of the people I hired, buying courses to learn “how to something”, downloading as much free information as I possibly could, etc) were coming from fear and my discomfort with NOT KNOWING.
I didn’t know HOW TO (have *more* clients, have the *perfect* clients, offer the perfect service, be more visible, write copy that sells, build my tribe, make more money, run webinars that convert, blah blah, you name it). And I absolutely HATE NOT KNOWING. So my way of coping with “not knowing” at the time was to hire people and buy information hoping I would find the miracle answers.
Knowing gives me a sense of control, and if I don’t know, I made up that I’m not in control. But when are we *ever* in control?!
When I realized and stopped all of that, I found peace. I progressively let myself reconnect with the feminine, more intuitive, more accepting and allowing side of me. I turned the volume up, little by little. I created more space in my life, in my days, I allowed more fun and playfulness. I stopped caring so much about how to find clients. And, unexpectedly, things started to happen to me out of the blue. Like partnerships with ideal people, new clients, the perfect people to support me in my journey. Of course, I took this as hard evidence that *this* is working. It definitely feels better and more aligned. I still *don’t know* much of what is going on, and I really don’t mind. I’m just happy with how it unfolds and it works a million and fifty thousand and one times better than it used to. I’m at peace and I have recovered my sanity (and I’m not dying in the Parisian underground- bonus!)
Bottom lined learning:
- Start getting comfortable with “now knowing”.
- Cultivate being in the now (not yesterday, not tomorrow), NOW. Ask yourself, how true is this now, not yesterday, not tomorrow, not even in a minute. How true is this thought that is driving you crazy NOW?
- Stop following all the “good ideas” that feed your brain and suck your soul.
- Look for what is true to you (again, not true to your Dad, your mom, not your culture or indistry, not true to the mainstream, but true to you). Once you separate what belongs to you and what belongs to others, you can choose to let “others’” stuff go and focus on your own truth.
- Follow your truth and grow that muscle.
- Above all. Trust that you are on the right path and that things will unfold perfectly well for you. Maybe not for your perfectionist, maybe not for that part of you who wants everything done by yesterday (strike the “maybe not”. It will absolutely not work for that part of you, I can assure you that much), but I can guarantee you as well that you will find peace, ease and joy as you allow yourself to “just” trust.
This is a process of daring to live a new paradigm. It’s about discovering and defining success for yourself in a way you’ve never done before. It’s new. There is no roadmap and it’s scary. It’s also magical and delicious when you accept the uncertainty of its unfolding. And this, my friend, is empowering. This is how you awaken the feminine power in you.
PS. I’d love to hear your thoughts about this in the comments below! I’m still discovering the depths of this topic, so any constructive contribution is welcome!
Photo credit: Sun Bathing by Sonny Abesamis