You’ve heard the saying to build a community you need to educate the girls right? This is because the ripple effect girls have on their communities as they grow into educated and empowered women who want to make a positive impact on their families and their communities is real.
They tend to be the decision makers in the household deciding what type of food to eat, what clothes to wear, what goods to purchase and how time is spent. Each of these decisions have an impact. When she buys fresh food from the market, she is not only providing the nutrition needed to sustain her family and keep them healthy but also supporting local agriculture and sending a strong message about what type of food production she will support. When she prioritises her children’s education and insists they stay at school when they are old enough to work and bring in another income for the family, she changes the trajectory of that child’s life and shows others what is possible through a short term sacrifice for an education. When she disciplines her children, is the shoulder to cry on for her friends and cooks a celebration dinner for her family she injects values and supports others to live a meaningful life.
The same can be said for women in leadership roles. We bring an energy and a presence that is different when we can see how wide the ripple can be. A woman’s power lies in her “being” not her doing. Our natural tendencies come from our ability to create, birth and nurture life and so while we fight for equality in the workplace this doesn’t mean we want sameness. It means we need to be free to express ourselves and exert our power exactly as we are. It means we need to be able to return to that we place we long for where without shame we can express our desires to care, nurture, collaborate and share. And, this includes allowing us to bring this sense of being to the workplace and not just leaving it at the front door when we leave for the day.
I love this passage from Hilary Harts Book Body of Wisdom “Women’s Spiritual Power and How it Serves:
Contemporary spiritual teachings have emphasised that our “beingness” is where women’s power is. But how can we value our being when the world continuously distracts our attention elsewhere? And how can we come to understand that women’s being is transformative and creative not sedentary, constricting or homebound as patriarchal images might suggest? We need to find the power of being and honour it as a force of change in our modern world. This takes courage and perseverance – and wisdom.
So, what does this mean?
It means that as each of us awakens, our confidence in our sense of being, rather than through what we know or what we do, transforms not only ourselves but those around us. As women we become magnetic and others take notice of us when our being radiates who we really are not who we put on each day to fit in, make those around us comfortable or to dim our light. Our abilities, our powers and our authentic presence creates a balance in the world that is currently missing. As we step into our role as leaders, we get the chance to be this balance and even though it doesn’t always feel like we are contributing to the change, we have to believe that we are.
So, what is one thing I can do?
Lets’ start with this passage from Leadership. Done By Design:
They know this is hard but they understand that EVERYTIME they call out bad behaviour, act in a way that promotes cooperation and collaboration and/or puts their mission before profits or promotion, that they aren’t alone and that somewhere else in the world someone is doing the same. They know that while they might not always see the direct result of what they do, they do it anyway. They believe every time they act authentically as who they are, without the politics or behaving in the way others expect them to, someone is looking and learning; and someone’s views are shifting. And that is enough.
Do you have a personal mission? Do you stand for something? How do you want to be remembered? These are tough questions but if you can answer these and use them as your guiding light then you will get the insights you need on who you need to BE to live into these. When you align your mission with your values, your beliefs and your actions and live in congruence THEN you have the courage to lead authentically and can embrace vulnerability.
Want to dive deeper and discover the leader you were destined to be (rather than the one everyone else tells you to be?) Then join the beta version of Leadership.Done By Design (click on the link for the details) or send me an email and lets chat to see if it’s a good for for you.
PS You can download the full publication Leading with Courage & Vulnerability: The 5 Things You Need to Know here.