This Is Not A Trend
Writer's block had the best of me. As 2018 began, I was focused on continuing moving forward with my intentions for the year to come. One of those intentions was to promote the new direction that I've taken professionally as an author, speaker, and leadership facilitator.
My plans included writing articles about women's leadership on LinkedIn, which differ from the personal and philosophical musings I share here. The trouble was, I didn't know where to start. I needed a spark. Then, Oprah took the stage at the Golden Globes, riveted the world, and ignited the embers that had been quietly, patiently, burning in me.
I watched, and re-watched her speech and felt its impact on me and on others. Nothing was going to be the same again. #thisisnotatrend
I was reminded that I cannot force anything, that creativity and expression are divinely guided. Sometimes the only thing we can do is wait for the inspiration, and be prepared to act on it.
I am humbled by the response that I've received and even opportunities to write and speak. I had to overcome doubts and many moments of fear as I took a leap of faith in changing my career direction to follow my heart onto a path that simply feels right. Finally.
The following was published as a series on 'the need for more women to lead' on LinkedIn. Here, I've included it in its entirety:
THIS IS NOT A TREND
There will be no more forgetting, turning away, denying or suppressing it. There is no going back. The only direction is forward, with full force and conviction.
It is not only Oprah Winfrey's poignant Golden Globes speech or the insistence of #metoo and #timesup. Recent history is shedding light on centuries of misconduct, misappropriation, and mistreatment of women, minorities, children, animals, resources and our planet.
The collective shadow, pain, and suffering are on full display and are being brought to the surface in order to be healed.
This time, the light is not going to be turned away or turned off. The shadows are not going to be glossed over or stuffed into repressed memories. We are not going back to 'life as usual.' We are not going to numb out the injustice and inequality that besieges our society. We are not going to be silent or play small.
WE ARE GOING TO LEAD
We are not going to ignore the fire and fury within us or blind ourselves to the unprecedented opportunity to make a difference. To be the change we want to see around us. To create a life and a legacy that we are proud to leave to our children. To feel safe and secure in our own skin and in our ability to direct the course of our own lives.
It's time to step up. It's time to speak up. It's time to woman up!
Yes, there are centuries of emotional, psychological, and cultural baggage to release. What ifs and unknown consequences. Backlash, criticism and fear-based judgment. Then again, when hasn't there been? When has it ever been easy to make a monumental change? When has significant progress ever been achieved by stepping onto the well-worn path?
There is more support than ever for women to gracefully step out of old stories and into our most empowered selves. The outrage, the wildish nature, the feminine fury is reverberating across the globe and within every single person. Every woman. Every man.
The decision is in our hands. And we are heeding the call. We are questioning purpose, vocation, and meaning. We are seeking more.
We are in the midst of incredibly powerful change, which we can personally direct by virtue of the belief in ourselves and in our inherent self-worth, gifts, abilities, and intentions. Courage, resilience, grit, and faith are required now. And community. And collaboration, peer mentorship, sisterhood, and the support of other women as we each rise to fulfill our potential.
I’m consistently inspired and in awe of the women who are creating equality by demanding it. By expecting it. By modeling it. In the process, they are creating infinite ripples of change. Despite the odds, which are not always moving in the right direction despite rising awareness, women are persisting with dogged determination.
Many women are turning to entrepreneurship and creative endeavors that enrich communities over themselves and make an impact on society based on sustainability, social good, and advancement of the collective. Others are initiating new projects at work or taking on bigger roles to steward positive change within their workplace, organizations or industries. Still others are being called to advocate or be more active in their communities and neighborhoods or through coaching, mentorship or support groups. In so many different ways, women are being called to lead change, taking action, and inspiring other women to do the same.
Because the truth is, if one can do it, we can all do it. We can all lead, each in our own way.
THE QUESTIONS WE NEED TO ANSWER
We are each born with the potential for greatness. Creative expression and fulfillment of the Self is our personal journey. Happiness is our collective birthright. Abundance is our natural state. Our journeys are unique yet the destination is the same.
We are fortunate to live in a time where we have immense power right at our fingertips. We have influence. We have options. We have a choice. We have our voices, individually and collectively.
What do we do now? What will I do now? Why am I called? Where do I begin? Who am I? How will I BE?
These are the questions that we are asking ourselves. The world needs us. Society needs us. Our children need us. We need us. There is an imbalance, plain and simple. Inequality is an imbalance. We can correct this imbalance, but no one is going to wrap it up in a bow.
It’s going to take everything we’ve got to ensure that equality is reached, and maintained. It’s going to require each of us to stand our grand, stake our claim and state our intentions. Then to steward them.
BEING IN SERVICE TO A BIGGER CAUSE
The decision to dedicate my life to helping to correct this imbalance is the most exciting professional and personal decision I’ve ever made. The decision to take everything I’ve learned, experienced and executed-on for 20 years as an entrepreneur and executive, and pouring that into working with women on recognizing and activating their individual leadership, on empowering entrepreneurs as they create their purpose-driven brands, and on working with communities, organizations and companies to create integrated, balanced and inclusive workplace cultures.
Once I realized how much I had disowned myself to conform, everything shifted and reclaiming my feminine leadership capacities became my personal work. This led to the decision to step into a different kind of leadership role. Personal leadership. Owning my story and fulfilling my deep, driving desires.
This is a choice. I’m choosing purpose and meaning. I’m choosing to serve others. I’m choosing to create change, and direct the course of my life. I’m choosing to help others do the same.
Sometimes, we need help digging ourselves out from under our egos, our limiting beliefs, our irrational fears, and our past conditioning that is no longer conducive to present fulfillment.
We can move from a life of chasing to a life of creating. We can move from surviving to thriving. We can flourish by pursuing our deep, driving desires. We have the potential, the ability, and the leadership skills to create the life, society, culture and World that we want and that we all deserve.
WOMEN CAN LEAD CHANGE
Through personal leadership and role modeling, women are claiming their personal power and using it to benefit both themselves and the collective. There is no competition. This isn’t about winning and losing, or about us versus them. This is about applying more of the proven qualities of leadership that have the biggest and most sustainable impact on people, productivity, and profit: co-operation, collaboration, people development, participative decision-making, inspiration, empathy, and role-modeling.
There is no difference, at the level of humanness, between a man or a woman. Outward appearances, personality traits, race, religion, beliefs and any other label that we have created with our analytical minds hold absolutely no bearing on the value of a person.
Once we can all see, understand, and act on this, we stand a better chance of creating an inclusive society and an inclusive culture. Not just the workplace culture, but the culture of being human.
There is no difference in abilities, skills, and capabilities between men and women— other than what we believe or what has been ingrained in us by school and by society as we grow up. What any boy or girl is “suited for” is not dictated by gender. It is dictated by effort, passion, and mindset. And by the right supportive environment.
When we speak of masculine or feminine traits, we are not speaking about a man or a woman. We are speaking about yin and yang, left brain and right brain. We are speaking about differing yet complementary parts of a whole.
The way to achieve the harmony we seek is for women to step into leadership roles, and to acknowledge and accept the support being offered by a lot of good men who also seek change.
We cannot do this alone. We must create change together. We must overcome the old stories holding women back, and the limiting beliefs and biases that have plagued us all for too long.
This is not a trend. This is the future. This is happening now.