Do you hold yourself back from speaking up?
How many times has your response been meek or perhaps too aggressive?
Where do you find the courage and confidence to be assertive?
There are many reasons for not speaking up. You might not speak up to avoid conflict, fear of hurting someone’s feelings, or the responsibility that comes with stating your truth and standing in your power. Assertiveness is often incorrectly confused with aggressiveness, but assertiveness is characterized by mutual respect and clear, open, and honest communication. Aggressive behavior on the other hand is disrespectful and shuts people down.
In order to have the courage to speak up and assert yourself, you must let go of your attachment to being liked by everyone. In order to be okay with this, you will need to develop your self-confidence, self-awareness and purpose. This will require you to be in tune with yourself and engaged in the world, physically, mentally and emotionally.
I believe that women have refrained from speaking up for so long that there are now slogans such as, lady boss, (fill in the blank) like a boss, and badass or badassery being used to describe empowerment programs for women.
There’s a lot of energy around getting women to speak up and take more action towards living life on their own terms. I believe this recharge of energy is much needed, however I think that it can often come with a lot of drama. Unfortunately this can diminish the powerful message that is trying to be conveyed without a positive impact.
Speaking up and being assertive, for women as a collective, is absolutely necessary for a cultural shift. To make a positive impact with our messages of being in our power, we must first heal the wounds that have kept us falling victim to life’s circumstances and not speaking up and embracing our power in the first place.
If you don’t take the time and necessary steps to heal, you can easily move into a power-over, self-righteous energy that results in a negative impact, because it puts others down in order to raise ourselves up. Not only does this not give you the opportunity to embrace your power, it may cause you to lose your power in the end. It is very important that you learn to understand your relationship with power.
Taking a power-to approach to speaking up is about knowing yourself by growing your self-awareness, intention, integrity and confidence. A leader is someone who gets something done and is changing the power paradigm from power-over to power-to. We can intentionally change the meaning of power in order to embrace it authentically and comfortably as a woman. Glora Feldt, author of No Excuses, states, that Power-over is the old, oppressive power paradigm that is dying. Power-to is the new paradigm and innovative power and leadership paradigm that is emerging, if we make it so.
Speaking up and asserting your self to claim the lead is essential for you to make a greater impact as a woman. Katie Orenstein, Founder of the Op Ed Project said, “It is important for women not just to have the power to choose; but to choose power.” When you take an assertive stance you directly say what you mean and ask for what you want.
When you leave your feelings unexpressed, anger and frustration can come out sidewise, or not directly. This type of behavior is often termed “passive-aggressive.” Here are some potential scenarios where passive-aggressive behavior plays out. You might respond to your co-workers request to stay late with her to finish a project with a silent treatment or eye roll. Passive aggression in asking for a raise might include sending a complaint about your heavy workload in a long, detailed email, without specifically asking for what you want. While passive-aggressive behavior might make you feel momentarily relieved, your goals won’t be accomplished. By returning to an assertive stance and directly saying what you mean and asking for what you want, you have a better chance of getting your needs met.
Speaking up and claiming the lead in your life will require you to learn about leadership. I knew little about leadership when I chose to become an entrepreneur. I have since soaked up every leadership course I could find and I found the following networking tips to be the most impactful to this day.
Most women love to network, because networking is seen as primarily relational. I think you would agree that it’s essential to be friendly, authentic, and generous to others, but networking must also be done with purpose and intention if it is to be effective. To speak up and network with purpose, two exchanges will usually occur, an ask and an offer.
Asking for what you want by name is a practice women must learn, and to learn you must practice, if you are to build a life and career that you want. It’s part of owning your power and knowing your worth.
Give it a try and see what happens. In every networking opportunity, identify in advance what you want from the interchange. Then at least once during the conversation, “Ask for it by name.”
Make an offer. What do you have that the other person wants or needs? If she or he does not tell you, ask for that information by name too. Is it something you can offer to provide? If so, say so, and be sure to follow through. If not, say so, and offer an alternative that is something you can deliver on.
Once you have made an ask and an offer in a networking situation (it doesn’t matter which comes first as long as both are done), you have created a mutually beneficial relationship. Relationships that are mutually beneficial are more likely to be sustained, grow over time, be more egalitarian and make a greater impact.
I hope this post will encourage you to speak up and not be afraid of your own power and the impact you can make when you assert yourself with purpose and intention.
What is happening right now?
Why is this happening?
What do I want to make happen?
How am I going to make it happen?
Above all when it comes to claiming the lead in your personal and professional life, you must develop your self-awareness. Certainly if you want to reach your fullest potential in your personal life and your business matters.
Effective leadership requires you to look at yourself and how things occur in your daily life. This is due to the internal issues to overcome when you have people follow you. Remember that human life is meant for growth. Consequently, this will require you to get out of your comfort zone more often than you’d probably like.
As a leader, you’re responsible for huge potential in your life. Not living up to that potential can eat away at you. You strive to always go towards greatness and excellence. It seems like most of us live well below our potential. Finding out what it is you need to be doing in life is essential to fulfilling your purpose as a human being. For the reason that people lead in different ways, it’s important to find your own leadership style.
There is a high level of responsibility that comes with being a good leader. I believe that everyone can learn to lead if they are willing to be awake, accountable and responsible for leading. Leading is to embrace your power and claim the freedom of being true to who you are. Leadership is something you earn; it’s a path of growth and we all want to grow. Certainly, it’s not easy, but it’s a choice. You need to decide to be it and step into owning it.
First of all, to help you step fully into embracing your power and owning your choice to claim the lead in both your personal and professional life – I highly encourage you to develop your self-awareness in the following key areas:
#1) Managing Your Mindset
Developing your self-awareness to manage your mindset will allow you to refocus your mind. Leadership is like yoga in that it means taking charge of how the mind works, by redirecting how you think and act.
Peter Koestenbaum, the author of The Inner Side of Greatness, A Philosophy for Leaders says, “A leader must wrestle with inward issues. He or she is expected to have great aspirations, confront great frustrations, achieve great self-control, suffer great betrayals, and manifest great compassion. Addressing the personal side of leadership also requires attention to vision and to scope, for the leader’s mind must be all-encompassing.”
This addresses how leaders think differently. It can make you look at yourself and how things occur in your daily life and how you chose to respond or react in such a way that promotes growth.
#2) Mastering Work-Life Balance
Developing your self-awareness is essential to master work-life balance, which is constantly going up and down like a teeter-totter. I don’t believe that it can stay in the middle for a long time. You must become clear and self-aware of which side you are teetering on.
Furthermore, you need to be able to be aware of when you are spending too much time working and when you’ve spent too much time on your life and not working. The process of becoming more self-aware is a journey of self-discovery. It will require you to look closely and deeply at what you need to do to stay focused on returning to balance over and over again.
#3) Leading Without Old Patterns
The truth is, when you step into leadership, you step out of your comfort zone. Hence when you step out of your comfort zone, old patterns will inevitably come up for you that could prevent you from reaching your fullest potential if you’re not aware of them. Therefore, you must be aware of your old patterns in order to change them, as well as to get in touch with your higher qualities. You have to learn to lead your new life and not lead with old patterns – this is where self-awareness comes into play.
Claiming the lead in your personal life and business matters will not be easy. I recommend you begin to gather key players in your life to support you along your journey of self-discovery. One of your key players should be a personal leadership coach. Above all you will accelerate the development of your self-awareness by working directly with a leadership coach, because they can help you navigate the choppy waters that come with getting out of your comfort zone.
Effective leadership requires self-awareness. Your self-awareness will become your greatest asset and support you in taking responsibility and accountability for claiming the lead.
Here are 7 guidelines to help you get yourself unstuck. Maybe you need help to find your way if you feel lost in life. No matter where you were trying to go these steps will help move forward.
1 – Always take adequate time to rest and restore if you are tired, confused or overwhelmed.
2 – Acknowledge how far you have come and celebrate even the smallest wins.
3 – Challenging circumstances are really lessons in disguise.
4 – Recognize when you have lost your way.
5 – Learn to trust yourself.
6 – Know your deeper purpose.
7 – Stay connected to your passion.
It’s not always easy to move forward, when you feel stuck and want to give up. At this crossroads, you have two choices. Either hit the pause button to rest and restore before pushing forward. Or hit the go button and use all of your effort to push through the feelings of wanting to give up. There is no right or wrong way to proceed. You do, however, have to make a choice and I highly recommend being conscious about the choices you make.
I have learned to choose to hit the pause button and take a rest to restore before pushing forward. Taking time to rest and restore is essential. Because you need to be able to stay committed to why you are traveling your path in the first place. If you over effort you run the risk of not listening to your heart. Hence, you end up in the wrong field and off the wrong trail. You’re so turned around to the point you are disoriented and confused.
If this happens to you, pause, rest, recount your steps and do whatever it takes to get back into alignment.
You’ll know when you are there, because the uncertainty and confusion will turn to certainty and clarity. This is a moment to celebrate. Take a few deep breaths and look around at your surroundings. Feel into your body, to stretch out your arms and your legs and begin to acknowledge how far you have come.
In this moment of celebration, it’s not about where you’re going. It’s an opportunity to acknowledge how far you have come. Take a pause. Take it in. Let it marinate in your cells. Enjoy the nourishment and journey of your life. Breathe it in. Share it and be the light.
Playing small only served me when I was physically small and meek. My stature motivated me to grow bigger and stronger so that I could have more energy and stamina. I wanted to feel energetic and strong and accomplish things. Be engaged with others in ways where I felt included and not excluded. I was inspired to keep up, to grow up, and to fit in at least enough not to stand out.
Now, as I am older and much wiser, I prefer to stand out. I don’t want to be like everyone else, but rather to be perceived as extraordinary. To inspire others by the risks that I have taken to succeed. When I say succeed, what I mean is to have had the courage to follow my dreams. To continue along my journey (with rest breaks), even when it got tough and I wanted to turn back.
The reality is, where was I going to turn back to? I had to learn how to keep moving forward and adjust to the different circumstances that I faced. These challenging circumstances were all lessons in disguise. They helped me develop my personal stamina. As a result, I became more resilient, flexible and adaptable in a world of drama, chaos and constant change.
Along my personal journey I would at times get derailed. I would forget my deeper purpose and disconnect from my passion. I was good at chasing bright shiny objects that gave me the illusion of a short cut. Usually I would fall for this illusion when I neglected to take a rest break. Therefore, I became tired and hungry and fearful. When my resistance to move forward was challenged, I would see the bright shiny object and blindly follow it. Unfortunately, sometimes for years before I realized I was completely off course.
The hardest part about getting back on track for me, was not realizing I had lost my way. I had to also learn to trust that when I got back on course, I would know what steps to take next. I wouldn’t feel lost and vulnerable and scared forever. Initially, I would be very uncomfortable, but after a few steps forward my traction would be regained. Hence, I would know in my bones that I was back home, trailblazing in the right direction on the right path.
If women leaders want to embrace their power, we must first reject baby elephant thinking. We have to throw off the shackles of learned behavior that no longer serves us.
It’s said that when a baby elephant is being trained, she is tied to a post almost immediately after birth. During the first few weeks of life she attempts to break free of her restraints, but she’s not strong enough. So she comes to believe she can’t get away from what is holding her back.
Hence, even after she has grown large and plenty powerful to uproot the post entirely. As a consequence she remains tied to the post even as an adult. Unfortunately this is due to an internally motivated behavior that is no longer rooted in external reality.
Most of us at some point in our lives, have repeated patterns of behavior that have only limited us. Maybe you became aware of your patterns and did something to change it. Or perhaps your lack of awareness has kept you stuck playing victim to life’s circumstances.
How many times have you remained stuck in your thinking?
When I was in my early 30’s, I moved to the lower 48 after spending nearly a decade living in Alaska. The remote region where I lived was physically separated from any source of civilization by the enormous ice field. I became used to the fact that I couldn’t easily leave my surroundings. The only way in and out was via float plane or boat on a really good weather day.
I then moved to a small yet highly populated island. I could drive the length and circumference of the island in under an hour. Although my years of living in Alaska were breathtakingly beautiful my ability to easily break away from living a remote lifestyle was limited and I was stuck thinking and living small.
With that said, when I moved to Colorado, I was stuck in thinking that I was confined by the boundaries of the town I was living in. I didn’t even consider taking a road trip to the next county over!
While living in Alaska, I also got used to being nestled between the mountains and the ocean. In Southeast Alaska the mountains rise right out of the ocean. So when I would hike in the mountains along the front range of Colorado and look out over the plains, I would see water or perhaps what used to be underwater.
This is an example of how my limited thinking became very conditioned by the external environment in which I lived. I was living in Colorado, far away from any ice fields or islands. Although some would argue that Boulder, CO is 10 square miles surrounded by reality.
Even though I was no longer living in remote Alaska, I still felt a sense of confinement and limitation towards embracing my power to expand my thinking and way of being.
Today, when I recollect that experience, I can see how much I struggled. During the 8 years that I lived in Boulder, I was on a journey of self-discovery. Unfortunately, I was still stuck in baby elephant thinking and living a life with limits.
Fortunately, I was able to gain enough self-awareness and the inner strength to throw off my self-imposed shackles. As a result, I reclaimed my power and decided to relocate to Denver, where I now teach women in business personal leadership development so they can embrace their power and drive business to earn their worth.
The risk you face, if you want to continue to think like an elephant will be a life where you always see your limitations. They will begin to define you and you will feel powerless to change.
The very first step to release the shackles that are holding you back is awareness. You have to become aware of the learned behaviors that are no longer serving you. Commit yourself to develop your own personal leadership. This will help you to become authentically confident, powerful and free to make a greater impact in the world.
Whether you are training a baby elephant, or going through your own training called life. I encourage you to pay attention to your self-imposed limitations. The limitations that are no longer rooted in external reality.
Please don’t think like an elephant. Unleash your power by rejecting what no longer serves you. Learn to embrace what will lead you to live a life without limits and stop thinking like a baby elephant.
First, let’s take a closer look at what it means to be feminine. Most of us have a particular image that comes to mind when we think of a feminine woman. Maybe it’s a woman with long flowing hair with a slender figure with just the right curves. She wears a sleeveless floral print dress with open toe shoes. She’s perceived to be soft spoken, kind and giving.
Then we think of the word powerful and a very different image comes to mind. This same woman might have her hair pulled up and back. She’s wearing a full sleeve dress that’s a dark solid print with closed toe shoes. She’s perceived to be outspoken, affirmative and driven.
Here’s the truth, being feminine and powerful doesn’t really have anything to do with the way we dress or the style of our hair or shoes. It has much more to do with our physical and energetic presence.
The more a woman is able to be grounded in her hips and pelvis the greater her presence will be. She’ll naturally be more influential in her interactions. This is true whether she is speaking to others one-on-one or in front of a large group. All without pushing or trying too hard to make an impact.
In a nutshell, being feminine and powerful is about how we show up as women both physically and energetically. We can show up disconnected from our power center, which puts us up into our heads. This is when we can come across as either intimidating and demanding on or shy and submissive.
However, when we learn to embody our feminine and drop into our power center we can hold an authentic confidence. We can lead with more ease, and have a greater impact. All with just the magnetic power of our presence.
The first big issue I see women struggling with in leadership positions is they’re trying really hard to gain or maintain authority and superiority as women leaders by operating from a place of pushing and over-efforting to make things happen. Unfortunately, this often comes across as demanding and abrasive. It often negatively impacts other areas of their life. Such as ones health and intimate partner relationships.
The second big issue is that this more aggressive style of leadership often stems from one being addicted to being right, which puts one on the defensive stirring up more conflict than a powerful impact. This is not only exhausting to maintain, but it has a tendency to turn people away. Particularly those who don’t want to feel confronted or intimidated by others, which is most people that I know.
The third big issue is the opposite of this, where women with big personalities become submissive and soft spoken. To avoid confrontation, they over accommodate to ensure that they’re liked. They actually draw attention away from themselves by not ever rocking the boat. Unfortunately when we play small like this our presence is weak and our influence is not very powerful or impactful.
In summary, women with BIG personalities who are in leadership positions can fall into two different camps. Camp one is when you’re stuck in a pattern of playing small and struggle with communicating what your really want. Camp two is where you’re stuck in a pattern of constantly pushing hard to get what you think you want.
The truth is, both camps cause women to feel frustrated, confused, depressed and even anxious. They struggle to get what they want in their career, life and love and feel satisfied and successful.
The one thing woman can do is invest in learning a different approach to leadership. To commit to shifting our focus from being purely results and strategy driven to presence and power driven. I teach the art of feminine presence practices and leadership skills to women to help them drop out of their heads and into their bodies.
This is where they can hold an authentic confidence. From here they don’t have to push so hard to be seen and heard. It’s amazing the shift that can happen, just by learning how to show up differently both physically and energetically.
Personal leadership develop is key for effective leaders. Strategy, tactics and concepts are actually secondary. Presence must always precede strategy. Particularly if you want to have less conflict and a more powerful impact at work and at home.
You constantly engage in conversations with others, including children, spouses, business partners, and customers. Hence, even though we are in conversations every day, research shows that 9 out of 10 conversations miss the mark.
Are you avoiding difficult conversations?
Do you want to improve your listening?
Do you want to learn how to connect better with others and build trust?
Conversational Intelligence (C-IQ) clarifies the conversational dynamics and patterns that are present in all conversations in every language around the globe. Based on the newest research in neuroscience, conversational intelligence can be used to elevate partnering, create healthy culture, and develop human potential. This is done through a combination of coaching and neuroscience to permanently improve the quality of conversations and relationships.
You may feel like you don’t have time to spend in deep conversations with others, because they take too long. As a result, Conversational Intelligence will teach you how to make conversations easier even when they are difficult. When you learn to talk in a way where people listen to you and you listen to them, you can create extraordinary results.
Conversation’s have the potential to catalyze change and growth in relationships. By learning how to communicate using the most advance parts of you brain you can better align individual, team, and organizational aspirations.
Conversational intelligence activates the pleasure-induced neuro-chemicals in the brain. As a result, we can successfully navigate life’s most important, and sometimes difficult and challenging conversations.
Conversational Intelligence was recently listed as one of the top five business trends by Inc. Magazine, and Microsoft has called it one of the most powerful methodologies of the past decade, even of this century. Conversational Intelligence enables coaches to bring a fresh new conversational approach to leadership. C-IQ helps transform cultures, elevate trust in organizations, build world-class leadership teams, and foster higher levels of teamwork and partnering.
If you’d like to learn more about how this can help you and your team succeed, please email Certified Conversational Intelligence Coach, Teena Evert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have always had a difficult time relaxing or sitting still for any length of time. This was the case when I was young and it lasted throughout childhood and into my college years. I drove my parents and friends crazy with my anxious energy and need to constantly be doing something physically active.
Although, I was naturally coordinated and strong, I lacked confidence and mental focus. I also felt like I was never quite good enough at anything, regardless of how much effort I put into it. The chronic feelings of never being good enough had a very negative impact on my emotional well-being.
Unfortunately, none of my natural talents in the physical fitness arena helped me to develop my emotional fitness. This was a skill and a practice that I learned much later in my life. I wish I would have been taught these tools and practices in grade school and college. It certainly would have been a game changer!
You’re probably wondering exactly what is emotional fitness? How do you strengthen it? How is it different than your physical or mental fitness? These are all great questions and I’ll do my best to answer them for you here.
If we increase the movement of our body we can become more physically fit. For example, you can join a gym and hire a personal trainer. Or attend a group fitness class, learn to eat more healthily and mindfully. All of these actions have the potential to improve your level of physical fitness if done correctly and consistently.
Your mental fitness will also be challenged with your improved level of physical fitness because you will be moving out of your comfort zone on more of a regular basis. Overall, you’ll be challenged to move into a zone of greater possibility. However, In order to sustain this new level of fitness, you’ll need to be aware of how you’re feeling emotionally.
The truth is, how you feel emotionally is vital to achieving optimal health and well being. A high level of emotional fitness gives you the capacity to hold a greater vision for yourself. You will feel amazing from the inside out.
If you’re working hard at the gym to improve your physical and mental fitness, you also need to improve your emotional fitness. This is key to achieve long term success. Feeling your best will help you to stay inspired, motivated and engaged in your life.
Emotional fitness is about creating optimal positive emotional energy. It’s not always easy to be in a pure positive emotional state; however, we can condition ourselves to access this state more often and stay longer with ease.
The more positive an attitude you have, the better your life will be in every area. This is NOT the same as positive thinking, and nor does it ignore the downsides. Positive emotional energy enables you to see what is really going on. This is also the way successful people learn to generate success.
Positive emotions give you energy, while negative emotions deplete your energy. An electrical charge is sparked in your brain with each thought (whether this is positive or negative). This releases a hormone which in turn affects all of your mental and physiological well-being. If you think a negative thought, it is as though a sluice gate drops down and prevents any feelings of well-being. Conversely with a happy thought, memory or holding your body in a physiological state of well-being, your brain produces chemicals. As a result, you feel good.
When you are excited and happy you sparkle with energy and enthusiasm. When you are angry or depressed, or negative for any reason, you feel tired and frustrated, and eventually, burnt out. Emotional energy is a far more refined form of energy than the physical energy that it takes to move your body. Emotional energy is absolutely essential to healthy emotional functioning.
You can conserve your emotional energy if you don’t consume all your energy units in the expression of negative emotions such as fear, doubt, anger, guilt, and resentment. If your energy is conserved at one level, your body continues to refine it into higher and better energy. One hundred units of emotional energy thus conserved will be refined by your body into 10 units of mental energy.
Learning to become calm and relaxed is key to boosting your emotional fitness. When you’re more relaxed, you tend to be more genuine and more in control of your emotions. You’ll become more aware that expressions of negative emotion deprive you of the energy you need to be effective in the more important things that you do. Getting upset or angry over little things, or even large things becomes a waste of energy. By remaining objective and detached you’ll be able to view things as they are without becoming emotionally involved.
I strongly encourage you to learn how to stand back and refuse to take things personally. Don’t allow yourself to get drawn into arguments or other people’s problems and save you energy for more productive purposes.
The whole purpose of physical relaxation is to allow yourself to recharge your emotional and mental batteries. The aim of rest and relaxation is to build up your mental and emotional energies.This will in turn improve the quality of your life.
In summary, if you truly want to boost your emotional fitness, then here are three simple actions steps you can exercise right away:
First, keep your thoughts on your dreams and desired outcomes, and keep them off the things and people that cause you stress and negative emotions. This is not easy but it is very important.
Second, preserve your emotional energy by staying calm and positive in difficult situations, rather than allowing yourself to be upset and angry.
Third, take ample time to rest completely so you can recharge your physical and emotional batteries. The better rested you are, the more effective you will be.