Even in the show, Friends, verbal/emotional soft skills are targeted. Joey says, "It's not what you said - it's how you said it!" and Chandler accuses Joey of becoming a woman.
He should be so lucky. Women have a grasp on words and their subtext that is natural for us as the group of people who have had to "read the room" every day of our lives in order to survive, navigate, and avoid. The same can be said of all people of color - our partners in the less-than world - but women and feminine references continue to bear the brunt of ridicule at the same time as those intuitive readings are now sought by Corporations everywhere.
It's time we understood what power we have in these so-called soft skills, and take pride in them. Taking pride in them will help our self-confidence and unlock many doors to our appreciation of our own wisdom.
Feeling and Communication
Reading below the surface of words and their meaning is called Emotional Intelligence. What you call a thing is important because it speaks to the understanding of the person you're speaking to. For example, in a corporate environment, if you say you "have a feeling", that is an easy phrase to dismiss. If on the other hand you speak of "Emotional Intelligence", you are getting your message through the front door where the guards are now not at attention!
Feeling good is the key to my week, and to my life, though I have only just begun to actively practice it. Up to now, confidence, and leadership were based on my spiritual and ethical beliefs and experiences only. Now, I can actually choose feeling good as THE potent tool in bringing me to where I want to be.
See, even horrific people like dictators and power-mongers get what they want - at least for a while. Why is that? They are hardly one's model for good leadership of the kind that serves all in positive ways.
I think I've got it. It's their certainty - that energy of positivity even in the midst of darkness - that they can have whatever they want. It is also, in the case specifically of dictator and power-monger types, their willingness to do anything at all to get what they want.
But their self-doubts, whatever they may be, seem to be silenced by the gushing river of their certainty.
Well, I'm not a dictator type, so I'm not willing to do anything externally to get what I want. But I am more than willing to do anything internally. And that is where leadership begins.
I received an invitation to a new email app so I took a look at it. When I got to the bottom to the founders, they were three young men and I thought, "Why is it always men? Why, when I get information about some big new product is it always men?"
Even given what has to be the truth - that my email box is simply not receiving the information about the women-owned businesses - there is no doubt in my mind that we women are still standing on the sidelines.
There is also no doubt in my mind that this is not our fault, but is our call to action. Big time!
There are reasons we don't know how strong we are - reasons we have not made the strides we are destined to make, and those reasons are cultural, and social, and conditioning, and they are deliberate. We have learned to live within them and navigate our way around and through them in order to get what we can, do what we can. But in so doing we have limited ourselves.
It is women who think in win-win modalities.
It is women who usher life onto this planet.
It is women who multi-task our lives to attempt to hold family and work in win-win positions.
It is women who have natural access to empathy and communication in a well-rounded life.
It is women who have not been socialized out of intuition and instinct, but who have been shamed for them.
It is women who have natural access to emotional awareness, but who have been shamed for having it - even now when emotional intelligence is deemed important in that male bastion of superiority: business.
We have to be aware of some things if we are to break out of this self-minimalizing prison.
The thing is, new faces of courage are not really new in the world. But they are absolutely shiny and new when they are new for you, new in your consciousness, an epiphany, a realization, a Big Wow!
It's what I call a Kabir thing. Do you know who Kabir was? A 15th Century Indian mystic poet who spoke - oh hell, he continues to speak! - a lot of spiritual truth. One of his poems speaks of the great truth that nothing is true until it is true for you. In other words: experience allows you ownership. I have followed that truth in my life and work for many decades, because it has proven to be oh so true!
The new face of courage which is issuing its invitation to me these last few days is that of Insisting on not just the experience of creating a new life, but the internal experience of creating a new life in joy, through joy, with joy!
What an incredible idea!!!
I am, by the way, answering in the affirmative:
I talk a lot about rule breaking, because it is what we must do inside our own consciousness if we want to create lives reflective of our own values. On Friday, June 25th, mental/emotional rules were broken with the help of a woman who asked me the questions I needed to hear at exactly the time I needed to hear them. They were questions I had been circling, and she brought them forth.
And then she made me answer them.
Friday, June 25th, my life changed. Amazing shifts in understanding gave me freedom, and grounding at the same time. And at the end of the day I watched a movie that is sweet and deep and - perhaps unsurprisingly - in alignment with my day. At the end of the movie, two words were spoken...and they struck my heart chakra, and I burst into tears of gratitude.
I hadn't seen the movie before, and to be honest I wasn't expecting a lot from it, even with all of the name actors: Oprah, Chris Pine, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon. A Wrinkle In Time, a Disney film. It's one of those things that I do - go deeply into films and feel what about them speaks to my spiritual journey.
But I'm putting the cart before the horse.
I have worked for corporations. You have too, right?
As a result of deeply thinking about the problems inherent in this system, I have been using a variation of this word for a while now to describe what corporations do in putting women and PWP's (People Without Power) "in our place". The entire system is based on treating the people "below" you as if they are your children; instruct them, punish them, but never ever treat them like fellow adults.
And I felt like a voice calling out in the wilderness. I'm really not, but the feeling persisted. Then, yesterday, I came across an article on LinkedIn and it's fookin' brilliant!
Here is an excerpt:
"Eisler argues that until western societies abandon hierarchical, unequal, male-dominated societies founded on acquisition and consumption far beyond our needs, in exchange for equality and sharing the earth’s resources sustainably and equitably, war and its crushing toll will continue without end.
War, concludes Eisler, is not the rule. It reflects a recent arrest and reversal in social development. Humanity is currently locked in infantilism, fascinated with bobbles, squabbling over toys. With such insight, a return to the peaceful, egalitarian garden of our Neolithic forbearers is neither crazy nor naïve. It’s entirely possible."
Do you know that moment when something expresses your very thoughts with such elegance and matter-of-factness that you jump up and start yelling YES! YES! YES!
Yeah, that's what happened with this article! It has inspired me to dream EVEN BIGGER!
I was moved by my new friend, Pete, to undertake doing a daily blog.
This does seem to require some humility, as I have no idea what I will be writing about other than what is happening right in my NOW. And now is all about keeping to this new routine even though I'm thinking that control is a bit like the impossible mission.
But it seems that that is the point right now for me in my development as a spiritual being with a body.
In about 3 weeks I start a job. It's a good job, but it's not entrepreneurial which means it scares and saddens me. Just being honest. I know the holy grail these days - or any days of any regular kind of person, which I have many times wished I were - is security.
These are weird times, to put it mildly, and the idea of having a job with a good company where the possibilities abound is usually seen as a real success. And so it is, even for crazy me!
So - I ask myself as I emotionally flip about like a landed fish - what is the actual challenge here? It's not to "get rid of" emotion but to let myself learn and be moved by my experiences and take them on in new ways.
That leaves these questions: Is the challenge to change my perspective and accept all with gratitude and see where it all takes me? Is the challenge instead to change my perspective around what I am capable of, which as a human being is anything and everything - and see if I can't make things explode in my business in the next 3 weeks so that I don't need to do the job-job?
I choose Door #2 first, and Door #1 second.
What I've been doing for about 2 months now is a daily Creative Visualization in which I stand in my joy. This is something that is taught very well by Mike Dooley of Tut.com, and I recommend listening to any of his daily Facebook Lives. The point of what he teaches is to stand in your desired outcome for just 10 or fewer minutes each day - Monday through Friday is what he does - and to let that energy guide you.
"Wrong" is what I fear, and "wrong" is what I love to break through. That's why I love acting.
See, we women have been socialized to think that we are second-class citizens and to behave with great care lest we "upset" people around us. We have learned to strive for perfectionism.
It's a survival tactic. We know it well, and we too often think that there is no alternative, so we get very stiff in what we will allow ourselves emotionally, behaviorally, even mentally!
Acting, however, is all about being wrong, with permission, with approval, and with a whole bunch of "musts" around it. That makes me so happy! It carries the opportunity of being absolutely free!
If you're saying, "Sign me up!" - or even if you're saying, "Sounds interesting but what the hell are you talking about?", keep reading.
There is only one thing I know of that will help us begin to break out of our perfectionism brainwashing: actually experiencing its opposite: unapologetic self-expression, pride, confidence, unhidden humor and opinion, and emotional truths.
Have you ever worked too hard, pushed at yourself to be better, and found yourself miserable? I have.
That's when "What's blocking you?" just feels like another moment of more pushing, and no allowing. And allowing is the lane change our world is inviting us to take.
I am a leader, but I am not a controller of other people - much as I would love to be, in my egoistic moments of thinking I Know All. You know what I mean, I'm sure. I'm not alone in this insanity. So here I am, a leader, and what I need to understand most of all is how to allow. Guide, yes. Control, no. And allow, most of all.
This lane change is both subtle and inexpressibly large. It has taken me many years to even begin to turn my wheel, and that's not for lack of trying. As women, as leaders, as human beings, our lives completely shift when we do.
I was scrolling through Facebook today and I saw a course advertised by a famous man promising to help you allow your dreams to come on through by "clearing" the "blockages". And I couldn't just leave that there. I had to write this post because I have experienced the other side of "clearing": the self-punishment of clinging to this idea that there is a "something" of myself that is not-okay and that needs to be regarded as negative and undesirable. That viewpoint has been painful, and I think that on the whole it needs to be confronted and questioned.
Women's Leadership Coach and Speaker Lori is the author of Call Center Crazy and The Human Solution: Human Solutions to Every "Unsolvable" Business Problem,
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