Leaving HER out of the equation
I remember a remarkable moment, early in my professional career. In the mid-80’s, I facilitated a three-day meeting of senior managers in a bay area corporation. During the first break I asked for directions to the restroom. The men said, in a matter of fact tone, that there was no women’s room on that floor. When I looked surprised the reply was, “This is the Board Conference Room floor” as if that explained it. I would need to go down the stairs to find the women’s room that the secretaries used. I was already dismayed that no women were in the meeting, except for the two secretaries floating in and out to refresh the coffee urns.
Dedicated to women’s equality since my teen years, I was sething. While it wasn’t uncommon to be the only woman consulting to a room of senior managers, this was the first time I’d been put down by a structural design. Yet, I had a job to do. Clenching my jaw, I kept going.
It took me many years to realize that in addition to women being put down a level as a gender, our feminine vision, values, gifts and approaches were also excluded. The saddest part is that in retrospect I did the same thing with my feminine self as I pushed, drove, played tough, and kept my focus on accomplishing results. There was less room for gentle compassion or undulating feelings, and I had no idea that as a woman my true source of power resided in my feminine wisdom. (More on this today on my guest blog post at the 3rd Act.)
Now, in my late 50’s (turning 60 this year!) I’m unequivocal about showing up in the world as my whole authentic feminine self. I work from an integrated appreciation of the my many dimensions. Including all of myself – I feel more fulfilled, less drained.
Our power arises naturally when we value the feminine in ourselves and other women. When we try to project a certain image, or be like someone else, there is a tightening in the heart. When we can be who we are with honesty, positive regard, and compassion, we relax the heart. These are the conditions of centered confidence and freedom, no matter what is happening around us.
Clearly women’s wisdom is still needed in our companies, and the world today. Whether looking at the debacle of Wall Street in 2008, the political conflicts we are currently experiencing in America, or the wars that rage unceasingly around the world, we are clearly missing the kind of wisdom that places long term health, inspiring beauty, compassionate caring, and effective action on what matters for life as top priorities.
This is why I put together the next The Next Octave Women’s Leadership Webinar. After working with hundreds of women in corporations, nonprofits, community organizations and small-business owners I discovered that women need a methodology based in feminine wisdom to develop as authentic, powerful leaders. Consider joining this dedicated group of women coming together to learn and apply the powerful methods and models that create wise feminine leaders.