I have spent a lot of time in the last two weeks thinking of my 16-year journey transitioning from the masculine focused corporate world to the much more feminine leadership role I have taken on in my business. It is hard to believe I have now been “out of corporate” longer than I was in it. I keep thinking about how many stories, judgments, and agreements I had about other women, working together with women, and now being in a place of holding sacred space for women to share their triumphs and their vulnerabilities. I am finding I have a lot to say on the subject of taking your womanhood back after leaving corporate, or how to honor it if you remain in a corporate role, particularly as a leader. So this will be a 2 or perhaps even 3-part inquiry.
How many times have you said, “I would much rather work with a team of men, than a team of women.” I know I said it countless times. Because there were hurts and wounds inflicted upon me by other women; but now in reflection, there were men who stabbed me in the back as well, but perhaps it hurt more coming from another woman. And I am sure I hurt some women too, although it was always my goal, as it is today, to mentor other women towards their success.
Here is the deal, although there are some exceptions, Corporate America operates in an unbalanced way, heavily masculine and very little honor placed in the gifts of the feminine; this is true whether it is a male-led company or a female-led company and I have worked for both. So I am not talking about gender, I am talking about the energy of masculine and feminine leadership and processes. I am not saying companies should be led strictly from a feminine viewpoint but there should be a balance. And even after leaving the corporate environment, I find that women have difficulty transitioning back into a more feminine led perspective in their next endeavors.
WHETHER IT IS IN THE BOARDROOM OR THE CUBICLE WOMEN ARE FORCED TO LEAVE THEIR WOMANHOOD AT THE DOOR
So, whether you are leaving to retire, start a family, or start a new business venture, there is a period of WHAT THE FUCK DO I DO NOW?
We go through this because we have worked in a paradigm where the focus was on control over people and outcomes, where power and promotions came from dominance and not collaboration, where our creativity more often than not was squashed like a tiny bug, and where our voices were rarely heard. And so we decided we were not creative, our ideas were not good, and the only way to be seen and heard was through exerting control over others. We are constantly being given and doing tasks that often make no sense, the people giving them to us had very little capacity for being open and receptive and so we stopped using our voices.
Forget about being authentic, vulnerable or showing emotion, because if you that you are not capable of making good decisions.
THAT IS A BIG NO-NO FOR MEN OR WOMEN
And forget about sensuality, if you are in corporate and have an ounce of it, then everyone thinks you are using sex to get ahead…or the opposite happens if you stifle your sensuality to the point where you no longer know (if you ever did) how to listen to your internal Wise Woman and trust your intuition.
As a closing inquiry for Part 1- Ask yourself and observe in what ways you have stifled your femininity to be successful. I would like to hear from you!