Women and Leadership: Who Me? Part Two

Leadership appears in our everyday lives when we engage with our children, spouses, friends and colleagues. Leadership is present when we attend social functions and do our jobs as homemakers, doctors, volunteers, lawyers, business women, or whatever roles we have.

silhouette of women going up the leadership ladder
The Leadership Ladder

We do not have to define leadership as “dominant” or “superior.” Nor do we need to dichotomize leader vs. follower or superior vs. inferior. In fact, when we behave aggressively and try to dominate, we generally feel less good about ourselves and there is a decrease in self-esteem. When we behave passively and do not use our voices, there is also a decrease in self-esteem. When we express ourselves with our own personal truth in combination with compassion for the other, our self-esteem is likely to soar and we are in leadership mode. The more we become leaders in our own lives, the more we transform our personal, social and economic realities.

So, how do you tap into your inner leader? Many women believe that we cannot lead in our own lives and that external forces are somehow responsible for shaping our experiences. The myth is that we have little control about how things play out in our lives. The truth is that we are the leaders of our lives. So, if we believe that we are leaders of our own destiny, then we are. If we do not believe that we are leaders of our own destiny, then we are not. Whether we stand to lead or not lies within the powers of our own mind.

Sometimes when we feel stuck in an unhealthy relationship, a bad job, a situation that consistently brings us down, it’s hard to imagine that we have the capacity to make choices and that can affect the course of our lives. When we are ready and truly allow ourselves to dig deep into our inner self, the answers are there. They present themselves with naked clarity. The choices are ours to make.

When we lead effectively, we express our true character with compassion for ourselves and for others. The more we lead from the inside out, the happier and more fulfilled we feel in our lives. When we take charge and care for ourselves in this way, our energy flourishes. We become better able to care for the important people in our lives, “our tribe” without feeling minimized or depleted.

Visualization exercise for promoting leadership from the inside out

  • Think about a wonderful memory in which you felt loved, loving and a sense of inner peace and compassion.
  • Take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing initiates changes in brain wave activity, promotes relaxation, while at the same time enhancing the ability to concentrate.
  • Visualize yourself with “your people” or “your tribe,” the people that you care for in your personal or professional world.
  • Choose to detach yourself from the energy of these people and take some deep breaths again.
  • Think about “How can I serve these people?” You don’t need to do anything but consider how you might best be of value. There is no action that needs to be taken, just ponder the options.
  • Notice how you feel. Are you relaxed within yourself? Are you being compassionate with yourself? With others?
  • Observe how others react to you when you are responding from a position of calm compassion.

What do you notice about your own energy level when you are calm, compassionate and connecting with others?

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