On Leadership or on Being a Woman
When I put my coaching business “She Leads Fearlessly” on hiatus, I thought it would always be there, waiting for me to pick it up where I left off when I decided to go back for it.
I had just accepted a brand-new executive position. I wanted to give my new leadership role all the attention and energy it deserved.
What I didn’t know, like the rest of the world, was that there was going to be a pandemic, that we would be isolated within the four walls of our homes for months on end. I never thought I would lose the fire in my belly that fed my desire to lead fearlessly. But that’s exactly what happened.
Isolation and the sorry status of our world left me so discouraged that I donated all my leadership books to the library when we made a cross-country move eight months ago. I thought I would concentrate on my job, provide the best leadership I could, and leave the women’s leadership and coaching stuff to others.
I didn’t have the words anymore when so much suffering and pain were around me. It felt trivial and pointless to talk about women’s leadership, especially when women were being stripped of their rights in one state after another. We were losing ground. We were not just going one step backward. It was a giant step to another century. Never in a million years did we think this could happen. How naïve of us.
I couldn’t put my finger on it for the longest time, this thing in the pit of my stomach, gnawing at me, waking me up in the middle of the night. And then it dawned on me: I was becoming indifferent to the ideals I was once committed to with a passion. That made me profoundly sad.
While I was busy having my pity party and lulling myself into thinking that no one was thinking about women’s leadership, women were donning arms to fight for their country and freedom. Grandmothers were arming themselves, defiant and determined. Mothers were telling the enemy to go fuck themselves. Young girls were singing their hearts out in bomb shelters, mothers leaving their sons, brothers, fathers, and husbands behind to fight the occupiers. Young women were rescuing dogs and cats and zoo animals, putting themselves in great danger and dying in some cases. Women in free countries were opening up their hearts and homes, creating safe places for the people fleeing the atrocities of war.
In a country under siege, women were leading with unbridled ferocity and great courage — and here I was, unable to shake off the feeling that leadership was a tired and trite topic. How was I going to get myself out of this “no one cares” thinking? I had no idea.
After enough sleepless nights, it finally dawned on me that there is so much more to being a woman than a narrow understanding of “leadership.” What I wanted, I finally realized, is for us to talk about “being a woman” in a broader sense — not to tell you what to do, how to think, or how to be, but simply to tell you my stories while creating space for your stories to emerge and unfurl, too.
We, as women, have the inherent ability to lead, and there are enough people talking about that. I want to start conversations that matter to us all– to me and to you, the woman reader.
So, I begin.
How does this land for you? What do you relate to here? Tell me everything you want me to know.