My mother was my first mentor growing up. As part of the pioneering generation of women to who started breaking the glass ceiling, she was strong, resilient, highly determined and ambitious. As the Vice President of a consulting firm in her 30’s, she did it all. At age 36, while working full-time, she was pregnant with my younger sister, raising me, traveling internationally, and she was finishing her MBA (her second master’s degree).
She did not get much encouragement for doing it all either. Raised by parents who never graduated high school, they didn’t understand her ambitions. She was told by countless others that she was too old to have kids. And she constantly faced the overt sexism at work that you only see when watching Mad Men.
Her generation of women sacrificed their femininity because they knew that the only way to make it in the business world as a woman was to act exactly like a man. And thanks to them, we have been able to prove that we can do anything and everything that men can do for decades now.
However, we are still trying to do it all just like the women before us. And we are trying to do it all without any help. We are taking on so many roles in life: significant other, mother, career woman, leader, daughter, friend, chef, housekeeper, fitness guru etc… And many of us still feel that we have to be masculine to have it all and be taken seriously in leadership positions.
The problem with this is that in order to keep this up we have to force ourselves to stay strong, constantly moving, constantly doing. Staying in our masculine for long periods of time like that leaves us feeling stressed, drained, overwhelmed, and empty inside.
When we are able to switch into our feminine, we can connect with our core self and just be. We don’t feel the need to force anything or prove anything. We just do what comes naturally and that becomes incredibly powerful. All of a sudden, we have the time and the space to do what is important to us. And we have the confidence and clarity to accomplish anything that we truly believe in. Can you imagine coming from that place when you lead?
When we come from our feminine side, everything changes.
Now, I want to be clear – feminine does not mean being passive, or appeasing or girly. Personally, I think femininity has been given a bad rap, and I am here to set the record straight.
Being feminine means opening ourselves up to others, being vulnerable and speaking our truth. It also means creating the space for others to do the same. Leading from the feminine means connecting personally with others and caring for them as people, inspiring and empowering them to step up and fully engage.
I know you might be thinking that your feminine side doesn’t exist, at least not when you lead, but it has just been buried for a little while. I promise you have it, and the experience of reconnecting with it and incorporating it into your leadership style is well worth it, believe me.
Times have changed since my mother first broke the glass ceiling of her company. Thanks to women like her who have paved the way for us, we can begin to have a different conversation. Although there are more glass ceilings to break, it’s time that we start breaking them on our terms. We no longer need to act like men to compete with them. In fact, we are actually better leaders when we use our natural feminine side.
I invite you to join our community of like-minded women, who are stepping into their feminine power to lead authentically.