When it comes to business I was taught I had to have thick skin and keep my feelings or emotions to myself. I was told if I worked a little harder I would be recognized. You may not know but for ten years I’ve been consulting for publicly traded mining companies, a very male dominated industry. My quest to be respected and prove myself as capable as any man revealed a side that some may interpret as harsh or blunt. Like many women I've spent years striving for equality in every aspect of my life. But a few years ago, I realized that I’d been so focused on this that I’d lost a part of the traditional feminine side of myself.
I’m a huge advocate of work & life balance. Yet for years I had been denying myself the balance of my femininity. I filled every second of my day with work or tasks; I had zero patience for small talk and chitchat. Except for my close friends I was detached and had very surface conversations and relationships. I couldn’t watch TV without channel surfing yet I could watch hours of football (the sports part hasn’t changed) but most importantly I did not allow myself to feel empathetic towards myself or others.
If you find yourself struggling with some of these situations, here are a few simple tips I personally use to help nurture back my feminine energy:
1- Enjoy the process: First and foremost, you don't have to be Wonder Woman and you don't have to do it all, RIGHT NOW. I’m working full-time and building a new business. Maybe you’re working full time and going to school. Maybe you’re a single mom working and raising kids. Whatever the situation, you’re out there busting your ass and hustling to make your dreams come. But ladies, cut yourself some slack, there is no final destination, so what’s the point if we’re not enjoying the journey?
2. Take time for yourself: Before if I had a crazy day, was irritated with a situation or felt stuck on a project I'd force myself to work through it, figure it out, come up with a solution. This would just make things worse. These days I take a deep breath, pour myself a large glass of wine and get in the bathtub. With a clear mind I’m always able to tackle the problem in a more creative and effective way.
3. Morning ritual: Every morning (before checking my phone or emails) I take 5-10 minutes to practice gratitude, this helps to keep me in check when unforeseen or negative situations pop up during the day. Once I have a coffee in hand I take another 5 more minutes to prioritize my day. I list out EVERYTHING I need to do and then narrow down the 3-5 things I MUST DO, this helps me navigate my day and stay focused on what matters most.
4. Activities: do things that embrace traditional feminine energies such as watching a romance movie, going to the spa or getting your nails done. get dressed up and have a girl’s night out or take yourself into nature. I also find engaging in creative activities can really get you in touch with your feelings: painting, drawing, music, writing or even reading a book of poems.
5. Accept compliments: when someone say something nice, accept it wholeheartedly by simply saying "Thank you". Feel grateful that someone recognized your beauty and spoke up; these days most people are so busy and consumed with themselves they don't notice anyone else. Reciprocate, a kind word can make all the difference in someone's day!
6. DRESS THE PART: It was only about three years ago you’d only find black and grey clothes in my closet, which I thought I needed to fit that thick-skinned, all-business persona I was trying to keep. Floral prints, pinks and pastels were for "girly girls"... and I surely was not one of those. But as I embraced my feminine energy I let myself dress “How I’m feeling”. This started by infusing my wardrobe with colorful scarfs and shoes. As time went by I found myself feeling lighter and overall happier when I was wearing color and that gave me the confidence to be more daring. Now I have a rainbow of dresses beside my "little black dress” in my closet.
Stepping outside my comfort zone and reconnecting with my feminine energy did not happen overnight, and it took time and courage but conquering a fear or challenge always makes me feel FIERCE!
"I don't mind living in a man's world, as long as I can be a woman in it." - Marilyn Monroe