Bring Back the Feminine
Ladies are you living in a masculine mask? Its time to bring back the feminine.
I have noticed recently an inner resistance to read articles about equality in the workplace and how women are still getting a raw deal and I realise I have lost the passion for the “cause” and starting some inner reflection to try and understand why.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it is very important to still have a strong voice to instil the change that is needed, but I was resisting thinking – does it have to be me? As someone with a corporate background I constantly felt the resistance to being a strong women trying to compete with the men around her to be able to get the opportunities. This was especially true in the Oil & Gas Industry and surprisingly not so much in the Investment Banking industry where I felt there was more “equality” in the workplace (at least from my perspective).
I realised my resistance comes from wanting to avoid how that push, pressure and competitiveness made me feel. I was putting on a mask to compete with my male colleagues and tried to act like them to try and receive equal recognition and the whole experience was all about survival, rather than genuinely enjoying what I was doing. I felt like I was constantly looking over your shoulder to see who is trying to stab you in the back this week and then trying to manage the perception of yourself in case “someone started to believe the gossip”. But all of that is around survival and competing and really the core of a woman is to be loving, open and collaborative and that part of me had been shut off as I tried to survive in a male dominated environment.
The whole energy around trying to survive in this kind of environment is just toxic and certainly does not help me or others. Having grown up with a male dominated environment it was very easy to learn these survival tactics and its amazing how quickly they come to the fore when you feel like you are under attack. Now “attack” is a strong word, however this is exactly how I felt on the inside. The one thing I didn’t realise at the time, this was my choice to live this way. I was choosing to react, choosing to mirror the behaviours of my male colleagues even though it didn’t feel authentic to me.
Another key moment for me was when I was doing my Executive MBA many years back and we had a fabulous Leadership Faculty member called Amanda who on the first day of her class really took us out of our comfort zone with her style and exploration of who we are. At the time there we 30 odd senior executives in industry (mainly men) who had come to this relatively new program and we were a bunch of mostly strong, influential and egotistical people and so we certainly had a voice. Some of the men really did not appreciate the content of this session and because it wasn’t clearly written in the scope of the program we had been provided, she was swiftly removed from our program due to strong voices complaining. I remember clearly feeling so angry that we were not going to get the opportunity to have some life changing experiences because a small group of strong men had bullied her off the program. In the end a small minority group still had sessions with her and she was amazing. I remember thinking that she looked less upset than I was feeling, I have since come to the conclusion that her “inner state” was completely different – she accepted and moved on and learnt from the lesson it provided.
She was also someone who told me to “get out when I can” and I remember feeling confused about this, but she could see my “inner state” and how this was stopping me from enjoying my career to the fullest. It took another 10 years for me to see it!
So fast forward to the present day. The resistance is more related to the negative energy I feel when I review my period of living in an unnatural state that did not feel authentic for me. I realise that the problem was not with others, it was within me. I was choosing to put on a masculine mask to try and succeed – I did that to myself.
So how do I feel about equality and women in the work place succeeding? I say its time we rise up and do what we do best. Women stop putting on your male mask to compete – support your fellow female colleague and collaborate. Show your male colleague how incredibly powerful living in your feminine can be – most men I know prefer a feminine woman. Its clear from a competency stand point their is no difference, so if there is going to be a point of difference it is your inner state and feeling like you can operate from your core feminine. It’s delivering the same competency in a way that is authentic for you. Take control of your inner state and how you interact with others and then it becomes effortless and enjoyable.
If you want to explore how you can remove your masculine mask, book in for a free 15 minute session via my website.