LOVE. THE LEADER IN YOU
BY DISCOVERING THE 5 WAYS TO UNCOVER HER
LOVE. THE LEADER IN YOU
As women, we wear many hats and “leader”, in all its glorious forms, is one of them. When we lead from a place of being rather than a place of doing, we are able to tap into a part of ourselves that is authentic and true.
So often in leadership courses we are taught about the doing part – budgeting, negotiating, influencing, project planning and the like. We are shown what good leaders look like and are encouraged to take on their traits. We are asked to seek feedback and hear other people’s opinions on our performance. And while these things have their place, what I have found in my past three years moving from senior public service roles to running my own businesses is that we are far better leaders in business, in relationships and in life more generally, when we do the inner work to understand ourselves.
Now I know for many of you, you’ve heard this before. As had I. However, I was a passive consumer and when I gave myself permission to become an active participant, things changed. This meant I had to be prepared to see things I’d heard and read before in a different light, I had to face and overcome some pretty big fears, I had to decide just how much I was prepared to give up to pursue my dreams and aspirations and I had to uncover the limiting beliefs and cultural norms that had held me back. I had to take massive soul-fuelled action. Am I done? NO – this is a lifetime’s work. In fact, what I’ve learnt is that it is a lifestyle. It’s a way of being. And it’s nice because it’s authentic, it’s real, and it’s all mine.
Now let’s go find yours
1. DO YOU, YOU DO HER BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE
There is no one else in the world like you. With your experiences, your perspective, your relationships, your attitude, your take on things. You are uniquely YOU. We’ve seen the rise of ideas such as: “authentic leadership”, “heart centred leadership” and the like. The very core these ideologies recognise that when you do YOU, the imperfect, shambolic, true version of yourself, others find you more relatable, more approachable and are more likely to respect you.
Perfectionism, feelings of not being good enough, the overwhelm, self-doubt and inadequacy are at the other end of the spectrum. They force us to act in ways that are not aligned with who we are. In fact, they are a result of the story that we tell ourselves which goes something like: – I’m a fraud, an imposter, I’m not good enough.
Doing the work to understand where these stories of inadequacy come from and changing them to have more empowering and honest meanings liberates you to be YOU. This work is hard, unrelenting and uncomfortable but when you experience what is on the other side – the real YOU – you feel free from the shackles of other peoples’ opinions and your own unrealistic ideals. You never know – you might even like what you find!
2. THE RIPPLE EFFECT IS REAL
As women we have so many roles – mother, wife, leader, friends, colleague, sister. Our impact is far reaching. We hold more power and influence than we know. Every time we make a decision or take action, we are making a statement and that statement makes an impact – no matter how small it may seem at the time. Every time we say no to them we build the resilience muscle in our kids, every time we make an ethical purchase we tell the manufacturers and the retailers what we expect, every time we sit down with a friend or a colleague and help them work through a problem we send them back in to the world a little happier and more confident, and so the ripple widens.
The problem is, we’ve been led to believe that what we have to say and what we have to contribute doesn’t matter. That these roles we play of nurturer, carer, teacher and friend don’t add much value. We just have to look at the distribution of wages to see where societal value resides and it’s not in childcare and aged-care, nursing or teaching. So, as women, we compensate by bringing forward more of our masculine energy. We “toughen up” – we leave behind our superpowers of intuition, collaboration and connection and exchange them for evidence-based decisions, competition and personal judgement.
Reclaiming the parts that make us uniquely women is part of the journey of becoming the real and authentic leader you are. Loving the nurturer, respecting the collaborator and admiring the connector are good ways to start. After all every time you step into these roles something will stir deeply as you start to reclaim what’s truly yours, and so the ripple continues.
3. EMBRACE THE FEMININE
We all carry masculine and feminine energy. We call in both energy sources at various times and in various situations. Not always, but in many cases, women have more feminine energy and men have more masculine energy. Both energies are required to create a balanced world. Many would argue the world is currently imbalanced and that there is a greater prevalence and preference for masculine energy than feminine energy. We have the opportunity to help restore the balance.
As women we are cyclical beings, our bodies are deeply connected to the ebb and flow of the earth. We have the capacity to create, birth and nurture new life and yet we are inconvenienced and often embarrassed about the way our body and emotions follow these natural rhythms. We live and work in a linear world where there is no room to nurture and celebrate our curves, our cycles and our cravings. Instead we are required to put these aside and carry on. This is especially so at work.
Returning to our roots and reclaiming the feminine is important work. Witch wound, also known as the mother wound, is a term that is used to describe the intergenerational trauma that lives through all of us. It is our ancestral history dating back to when women were persecuted during the rise of the patriarchial system. It’s a time when we learnt that it was not safe for a woman to speak up or be powerful. This fear lives and resonates in our physical bodies. It’s our silent screams of frustration and injustice, and as we push those screams down so not to be heard, we either become despondant or hardened – taking on masculine traits to survive. We have the opportunity now to reclaim the feminine in a safer world one small piece at a time. Together.
4. IT'S YOUR LIFES WORK
We live in a fast-paced world of instant gratification. We forget that it’s about the journey and not the destination. We are bombarded with images, advertisements and pressure to get “there” as soon as we can with the least amount of disruption or inconvenience. Therefore we strive for perfection and feel uncomfortable being in the “learning“ phase. It makes us vulnerable and susceptible to criticism and judgement. So, as a result we stay small. After all, as women we have been taught to be good girls, not to rock the boat, upset others or make them uncomfortable by having big dreams, ambitions or hopes for ourselves.
For many of us in fulfilling these roles we become unfulfilled, restless and submissive. In the process of doing this we sacrifice who we really are and what we have to contribute to the world. We end up living life as it happens to us rather than designed by us. We become who we are by default. We don’t rise to the heights of our capabilities. We find ourselves in situations where we are forced to choose between the things that are important to us. As leaders when we start to design rather than respond to who we need to become, we will find the solutions that will empower others to live and work in an inspired way too.
This process of becoming is a life’s work. It’s about slowing down and being intentional in who we need to be in order to create the world we want to live in. It’s our daily routines and rituals that remind us of who we are and what value we bring. It’s about being brave and stepping into the places we as women have been taught to be afraid of. Because this sister, is the place where our power resides.
5. SEEK OUT SISTERHOOD
Loneliness is one of the most prolific conditions of the modern world. Even though we live in highly populated cities, we work in busy offices and can have an instant contact with others though social media it is no replacement for real, deep, complicated, loving, messy relationships. Friendships have long been recognised as an essential component for happy, healthy, fulfilling lives. For women they reflect the essence of who we are. Social, connected beings who work together to bear new life, to nurture, to care, to create. But it isn’t always like this. There are deep fears and wounds that show up and get in the way of us connecting with each other - comparison, shame, body image and fear to name a few.
For many of us we never feel good enough – we’re not thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough. As mothers, if we chose to stay home with our children we’re boring or “mumsy”. If we work, we are either financially desperate, greedy or labelled a bad mother. If we choose a career while caring for children, we are unreliable and not committed. If we return to work between children, we are “using the system” to get paid maternity leave. Beliefs such as these are ingrained in our culture. It’s just one simple example of how women are kept small and in a perpetual state of fear and uncertainty – and disconnected from each other. We have all been betrayed by another and there is nothing wrong in being enraged and hurt by the words or actions of others. This is an essential part of the process. Nothing is perfect.
But what if, when you were hurt by another woman rather than calling her out, you called her in? What if, no matter what she said or did to you, you understood on a cellar level that she too suffers the same wounds and fears as you do living in this unbalanced world? What if even when you don’t agree with her and possibly don’t even like her, you feel compelled to support her as she speaks her truth? What if, instead of judging her on the surface you could deeply admire and respect the courage she shows to turn up and own her power? Imagine if we were to draw strength from each other and no matter where we were or what we were doing we could acknowledge each other as and we pass we silently say – I see you, I hear you, I feel you.
This is the sisterhood. Are you in?
As we get brave and return to our natural state, where we are connected to ebbs and flows of our earthly cycles, we start to unravel the layers of conditioning. We begin to hear ourselves again. The whispers that come as the sun rises and sets, as the moon circles the earth and through the coming and going of the seasons. As women we create, nurture and birth life. It’s time to step up and listen to the call. It’s time for a new generation of leadership for women, one that taps into our superpowers, honours our connections and breathes life force into ourselves, our families and our communities.
From Leadership. Done By Design.