And I plead guilty. Because it’s only now just starting to dawn on me – how utterly and completely I have been living my life from a so-called feminine perspective, yet so fully masculine in actions, words, and thinking.
Let’s dive into this together… as I try to put into words just how massive of a realization this is – and how this applies to YOU. Oh, and there’s a full guide that will help you put this shift from PUNISHING PUSH to FOCUSED FLOW into practice!
How this post started… Like you, probably, I don’t consider myself to ‘behave’ in a masculine way. At least, not when we look at superficial signs of masculinity. I have a graceful, undulating swing to the hips when I walk. I like to wear flowy dresses and clothes that feel soft and sensuous to the touch. I speak with a soft and gentle voice. I beam out love and compassion and huge-hearted care, warmth and the desire to help shining brightly in my eyes. All of that is my particular feminine essence and how it expresses into the world. And yet.
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On a deeper level, the well of my femininity has been shut off, replaced by a nearly 100% masculine fuel for my “ways of getting things done”.
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It has been shocking to me to realize this. I HAVE ALREADY COME SUCH A LONG WAY FROM WHERE I WAS WHEN I LEFT CORPORATE.
I used to control the way I held my body, the way I moved, never letting the full natural movement of my body show, because that wasn’t the ‘professional’ image I was nurturing in the workplace. I had come to a conclusion, early on in my career, that there was a need for censure: the ‘innocent’ jokes by some male colleagues, the standing too close, lots of little signs and uncomfortable situations that had me decide I had to tone down my femininity to be able to ‘play’ with the big guys.
I learned to speak in clipped tones, to-the-point, each conversation a bullet-point list communicated in efficient rapid-fire fashion. Which ultimately also lead to awkward and confused situations when a boss or colleague would lean against my desk and want to chit-chat about wife and kids. I had learned the rules of efficient workplace communication, but I couldn’t grasp the workings of male bonding as my male colleagues did so naturally – and in a mostly-male workplace, that stung.
Weakness. That’s how it was frowned upon time and again, the way I didn’t want to just lead but wanted to lead with compassion and care for the humans I was leading. The soft skills trainings I saw male colleagues go and take, came naturally to me, but it wasn’t an advantage. The soft skills in male corporate became a part of the training curriculum for managers that was grudgingly added, reluctantly studied in faraway classrooms, and happily shoved aside back in the workplace. It left me feeling confused, torn between my own innate values and nature and skills, and the judgment I felt and heard from my male peers and superiors.
I have come a long way. Over the past two years, I’ve had to retrain my thinking and perception of what it means to be fully myself. The swing in my hips, the soft and gentle voice, the love and compassion, they have all found their way back to me – and it felt amazing. A coming home. Shackles and tight-jackets falling away.
Finally breathing, fully, again.
Until this week, when I realized there was a DEEPER RECLAIMING to be done. This week, I finally looked at WHY I had been feeling so incredibly exhausted lately. And doing so has made me realize how deeply engrained masculine patterns of behaviour have become for women (in general, yes). How deeply steeped I am (personally) in actions, words, and thinking, especially when it comes to DEFINING SUCCESS and measuring PRODUCTIVITY and EFFECTIVENESS in my business.
And here’s the point I’m getting at:
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Productivity and effectiveness and success are important to measure in any business.
But for women who desire to create a business that is founded on values such as Purpose, Meaning, Giving Back, Authentic Expression, Soul-Guided Creation and Mutual Respect, the way we measure and label will determine how much JOY we find in our results, progress and growth (which for many of us is one of the CORE REASONS for wanting to run our own business in the first place).
On a deeper level, the more masculine drive for “getting things done” can result in an unending PUNISHING PUSH – and it calls for a balancing with the more feminine flow of creating and evolving.
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May it serve as a roadmap towards a different perspective on FOCUS, SUCCESS, PRODUCTIVITY and EFFECTIVENESS. And may it bring us back to a kinder, more gentle, feminine and flowing experience of creating and sharing our work in the world.