Wednesday, October 17, 2012
"Hey Lady, Can You Fly This Thing?"
Today, I'm talking to you ladies - yes, you; the ones in the wrong career or settling for a position below your ability. Neither of these options honor who we are and what we can contribute. I have no doubt that plenty of misplaced women are still contributing plenty, but what are we capable of when we're actually pursuing our heart's desire. Rather than an administrative assistant, Gail researches viruses at a university. Libby goes on digs in South America since she left her department store sales job. Jennifer quit running the radio station's front office, so she can write her own radio programs. Did your parents tell you to play it safe, but you wanted to fly airplanes?
Women hire a personal coach for many reasons, but it often comes down to: "I don't feel fulfilled by what I'm doing" or "I like my work, but feel like there's something more for me." Our society gives woman plenty of subliminal messages about what we're supposed to like and not like. Aspire to leadership? Well ok, but you'll have to exhibit more masculine traits, you know, to convince everyone that you're capable and up to the heavy challenges. How many overt and subliminal messages say femininity and leadership roles are not compatible?
I love coaching woman who want to lead. Leadership is an exciting, complex and fulfilling path to walk. If you have that calling - listen to it. The most effective leader is an authentic one, not a masculine one. We've become jaded by the manipulative behaviors of leaders in politics and business. I encourage us to not look away from the pools of deceit, disgusted and discouraged. Rather, pour the fresh waters of compassion, creativity and collaboration into the stagnant ponds so they thrive again.
Ladies - if you want to lead, then learn to lead and lead well, honestly and passionately. We are past the time in history where we should settle for a position that makes everyone comfortable. If you can run the company, then don't settle for being one of the VP's. If you can improve your state or federal government, run for office. Woman are not being beaten by men more often at the polls, they aren't running as often. Less than 25% of elected politicians are woman and yet we are 51% of the population.
The world needs more female leaders; we need to stop wasting our talent because we're following old patterns. Creating new paradigms takes concerted effort and cannot be accomplished from a settling, rationalized mind-set. Coaches are in the business of complacency busting. If you know you are settling, I hope you will work with a coach. If you want to be a pilot, I hope you will fly.
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