Any woman who has stepped into an office, university classroom, or other “professional” environment can attest that there is an expectation that is very different of women. There is an undeniable perceived pressure to cover femininity (not just for attraction reasons) and “match” men in that masculine environment. It’s something we feel compelled to fall in line with. Many of us may not even notice that we are altering our appearance and demeanor to match that of the environment and of men. We easily become distant in our demeanor to feel more “professional”. Some women may lower their voice, wear more masculine looking clothing, and refrain from any expansive and warm conduct that is characteristically feminine. What is radically misunderstood by all, including women, is women’s instinctual capacity for adaptability. Women adapt instinctively to whatever is perceived of value around them… The unfortunate consequence within this business context (much more can be addressed on the matter) is a propensity to be inauthentic to ourselves. Putting on masculine masks, being detached from our integrity is exhausting and actually detrimental to our career.
Our gender centric qualities are our very strengths, our source of power. Feminine intelligence and leadership is more powerful and profitable than ever for everyone. Companies are looking for leaders that possess the qualities women instinctively own within. Leading from a place of consciousness with authentic connection, deliberate collaboration and intentional growth is the direction the business world has already taken! Women’s time is now to rise to the top, as ourselves.
Leave behind “downplaying” your femininity:
Before I rediscovered and allowed myself to live fully in my feminine essence, one could see a stiffness in my appearance and rigidity in my attitude. I was trying to dress more masculine to fit in, perform like my men to be included, than came natural to me. It created an unconscious duality in my life that was taxing. There was rigid “work” me and the natural at home, real me, who was more feminine and carefree. Maintaining two personas and putting on those masks everyday actually started depleting my instinctual core self that lost its inner GPS, its unique identity. I became more masculine within than I even knew…
We try so hard, so relentlessly, to come off powerful and worthy of respect when presenting ourselves professionally, that we don’t realize we block our inherent feminine intelligence, actually beneficial for our careers. When allowing our genuinely vibrant feminine presence to stand out, we create a space for people to experience us authentically and to respond differently to our influence. People feel more personally engaged, trusting, and open rather than in “competition” or defense mode. Borrowing power from men does not make us more powerful, owning our value and power as an unapologetic graceful feminine business woman does.
Put relationship building at the forefront of professional encounters:
As I mentioned above, a woman’s instinctive abilities to connect spontaneously, collaborate and operate from a place of openness and growth are some of the strongest parts of our power in the masculine business world. A masculine style in work environments is to strategically form a plan to achieve the result wanted without any detour for distracting inclusion, time consuming cooperation or vulnerable display for improvement. Both styles are complementary, the mistake lies in women counterfeiting men’s to replicate what they perceive as “power”. We live today in the era of relationship selling and personal work environments building. Top companies are seeking top female leaders who dare to own their top qualities and strengths authentically because it makes them credible, influential and irresistibly compelling. The art of relating compassionately is one of women’s strongest talent, and most sustainable investment.
Drop competitive attitudes and seek collaboration:
Women in business have adapted to a very masculine environment in which the need to fight and compete command success. We believe that being extremely competitive will “prove” our belonging and “justify” our ability to stay in control in the masculine business world. We hence become competitive with men and especially towards other women. Almost like there can be a limited number of women who can succeed. We see success as very individual, not realizing how much more powerful we are together, forgetting that competition is useful to gain the lead on a project, not the domination over someone. The more women succeeding, the better the business environment becomes for women on the rise. Collaborative leaders who inspire success in others, men and women, are in demand. Women are naturally collaborative but we have forgotten this. Power is creating a space where abundance reigns for all to rise, as we elevate ourselves, we elevate others to do the same.
Making these mental shifts is challenging at first for ambitious women in business. We have to unlearn what we’ve been taught to believe how to thrive in masculine business environments. We have to relearn what it means to be successful, fulfilled, and a woman in power. Join me and the Radiance Tribe each week to discover how to unmask, unlearn, and unleash your inner power to create more performance in your life.