My friend Theresa was just introduced to Brené Brown for the first time, and she was captivated. The part she repeated to me had to do with vulnerability and courage - courage not being necessary at all unless you are actually being vulnerable. Brené reportedly said that if you are going to be vulnerable, you are in fact going to be hurt.
Well at first blush that doesn't sound particularly desirable, does it.
It is, in fact, good news. It means you are going to step out from the rank-and-file behaviors that keep you safe from the new.
You are going to be alive now. Much more alive.
The leader who embraces her, or his, feminine leadership qualities is vulnerable, open, and necessarily courageous. She has to set boundaries without simultaneously setting up walls. She has to live according to her highest ideals, while forgiving herself for having to bend in the face of unyielding circumstance, or the unchangeable. She has to walk into the unknown and learn how to deal with the consequences; to define her own rules instead of constantly trying to adhere to others'.
Leadership does not mean that you know everything. Leadership means leading people to their best, their highest, for the good of all. That's true leadership.
Leadership means to invite, and then work from a vision of something more magnificent than the norm.
It means a willingness to be wrong, to not-know, right out loud and in front of everyone.
It means a willingness to be the one courageous enough to gather the troops and find the answer together - to give up the ego-stroking of finding the answer all by yourself. To be visible, to be talented, and also to not know.
Leadership is to be as nakedly present as the great actor on the stage; the actor who doesn't pretend but instead walks, emotionally naked, in front of the crowd beyond the footlights. The actor who throws her arms open wide, her head tipped back, her heart in her work, in her throat, in her actions, and says: "Here. I. Am."
We are terrified of this kind of presence. We are afraid of what it demands of us. We are afraid that we have to do it all alone.
We don't have to. You know if you're a leader. You know if you have that "setting". But don't think you have to do it alone.
When we do leadership with the feminine aspect activated, we don't lead alone but in concert. We make agreements to co-create environments that support growth and exploration, mutual care and holistic goals. Avoidance of failure is no longer be the goal. Getting the most money and the most toys is no longer the "thing". Instead, we are leaders responsible for holding the vision, keeping the ship on track, and communing with the troops to make the big decisions.
Kind of like Captain Picard's Star Trek meeting room. Kinda.
But with heart and cooperation. With the kind of freedom, and the kind of vulnerability, that draws people to you for the community and guidance without control that you offer.
I am walking into being the leader of my own life now. Now in the third act of my life. I am ready and it is time. Whatever comes out of this is going to be grand. Absolutely amazing.
So when you see me standing on a stage - whether I'm giving a performance or giving a speech - don't be surprised to see me standing there with my arms wide, my head back, my heart open, and tears running down my cheeks from the sheer pinnacled joy-and-terror of being fully, openly ALIVE. And when you see me there, join me there. Walk up those stairs at the side of the stage, feel the lights hit your body and warm you, and know that everyone in that audience can see you and is feeding off of your ability to simply. be. seen.
Come up there and take my hand. Please. This kind of leadership is not solo. It is community. It is shared energy. It is loving and fierce and challenging and tender.
And together ... we can turn the nature of our world around.
©2019 Lori Kirstein
Emotional Linguist™ and Feminine Face of Leadership Coach for Mission-Driven Businesswomen and Entrepreneurs, Lori is a rabble-rouser for women leaders, the host of Awake TV Network's show, "Goodbye Good Girl: The Feminine Face of Leadership", and author of The Human Solution: The Feminine Face of Business.
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Do you like the idea of breaking those social "should's" that have held you back for too long? Do you like the idea of successfully changing your modes of communication, your business structures, your self-image, and to your quality of life?
Lori Kirstein, Founder
The Goodbye Good Girl™ Project LLC
The Feminine Face of Business
Cincinnati, OH 45205