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Embracing the new normal as women leaders in business

January 16, 2020
Diversity & Inclusion

The time has come for women leaders to embrace our greatness. Today, more than ever before, women in business are taking their rightful places as global leaders.

According to 2019 Grant Thornton research, a record high of 29% of senior management roles are held by women today. Additionally, 87% of businesses around the world now have at least one woman in a senior management position.

As many of us know and have experienced, the climb to the top is often fraught with obstacles for women. I’ve found that many people in our society think of successful women as cold in business, while also expecting them to be warm and nurturing in the home. If that’s the case, is it any wonder that women face challenges as they work to reach the top?

Today, I own a company called Femme Sauvage Collective Inc., an enterprise dedicated to assisting women business leaders and entrepreneurs in becoming more financially and emotionally intelligent.

In her book, Women Who Run With The Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estés explores what I consider to be a femme sauvage: a woman who is integrating all of who she is through emotional intelligence to build a business that is highly successful and meaningful to her and the people she serves.

It’s time to break down taboos.

Forget the evil queen in Snow White who asks her magic mirror to tell her: “Who is the fairest one of all?” I believe the answer to this question is that we were all born equal.

According to the Harvard Business Review, science, by and large, does not support the claim that men and women are different: “We do see sex differences in various settings, including the workplace — but those differences are not rooted in fixed gender traits. Rather, they stem from organizational structures, company practices and patterns of interaction that position men and women differently, creating systematically different experiences for them.”

Knowing this truth intrinsically, it is time for women leaders to be unapologetically themselves. Embrace boldness, integrity, self-confidence, compassion, intuition and creativity — and remember, these are all traits readily available in both men and women.

We’re ready to challenge social norms.

Professor Keisha N. Blaine shared that: “What patriarchy has done is convince people that a strong and intelligent woman represents a problem; a disruption to the social order rather than an integral part of it.”

This resonated with me. I grew up falsely believing that I needed to be subservient to a man, despite the many university degrees I had attained and the six-figure salary I earned. I was massively codependent and thought I needed a man to validate my existence emotionally and financially.

As I started feeding into and claiming my self-worth, I was often called a witch for simply being in touch with my feelings and emotions. In being inspired to help other women succeed, I’d like to share three ways to embrace the women leader within (and around) you:

Create a positive legacy.

Live on purpose by using your past pain as fuel for positive social change and compassionate understanding. This is where empathy comes into play. By seeing yourself in every person you meet, you can stop yourself from judging. Understand that you live in your mirror, not a mirror. What you see in others is what you see in yourself. So, be the change you want to experience in the world.

Seek emotional and financial fulfillment.

Understand how you feel about money and why you feel that way. Don’t be afraid to dig into your conditioning to understand and overcome what might limit you. For example, when a feeling about money comes up, honestly ask yourself, “Who does this remind me of?”

In my experience, many women are taught to attach guilt and shame to money because we are told that money is a statement of self-worth. It’s possible to become less attached to money by shifting your thinking. View it as a tool to be used for the greater good, rather than the whole toolbox.

Feel greater intimacy with yourself and others.

Understand that your vulnerability is the key that opens the door to your self-awareness, which is an essential ingredient to building deep, meaningful relationships with yourself and others. Additionally, understand that there’s a vast difference between what is perceived and what is reality. For example, as discussed above, it’s important to realize that money is not the measure of self-worth.

Feed your self-awareness by examining every belief you hold: about your role, money, etc. When we develop our emotional intelligence, we are able to change our beliefs and self-worth. We no longer have to hide, which allows us to have greater intimacy with others.

Many of us were taught to view the “femme sauvage” as cartoon characters like Xena or Wonder Woman. Nowadays, however, we can find women leaders sitting boldly at their desks and using their powerful voices to lead businesses. Let’s embrace the new normal!

By Anne Beaulieu

Source: Forbes

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