When you think of someone who is “powerful” or a leader, what comes to mind? Do you think that it is what the person does that makes them powerful, the leadership position they fill? What if power and leadership are really expressed by who you are BEING rather than the task you are doing?
You are a powerful woman when you are fully expressing yourself in your own unique way, living from your values, sharing your gifts, being authentic. You are the leader of your life when you are creating your life from choice rather than reacting and living in default. The following eight touchstones will support you to be the Leader of your life.
1. Be real with yourself. Be totally honest with yourself about what you want, what it will take to get there and what you are willing to do to get it. Be willing to look deeply inside to see who you are and how you want to live your life. Ask yourself what you would do if you were given a gold credit card with no limit to use for creating your life and you could use this credit card for your work, your relationships, your home, everything. What would that look like? Don’t filter it; pay attention. Be diligent about telling yourself the truth. From that place you can then begin to explore possibilities, options, allies, opportunities to move you down your path. Where are you not being honest with yourself? Relationships? Work? Finances? What longings are knocking at your door wanting to be heard?
2. Be real with others. Be authentic and say what so is when it is so; speak the truth when you know it. Half-truths and superficial honesty take lots of time and energy. Waiting until the “right moment” takes lots of energy, is draining, makes you irritable and feel like you are walking on eggs. It is easier to be honest in the moment then to go back and clean it up later. Have the intention to speak from a place of respect and caring and be willing to speak up and speak out when you are clear about what is to be said. Where and with whom do you need to be honest and real?
3. Be selfish: Put yourself first. We are accused of being selfish when we are not doing what someone else wants us do. Selfish means self-care and that gives us the ability to care for others. Remember the oxygen mask theory on airplanes. Put yourself on your list first each day. Commit to time to care for your body, your mind and your spirit, even if only for fifteen minutes. What would being selfish, self-caring look like for you? What one selfish thing can you do for yourself today?
4. Be Courageous. Stretch outside your comfort zone, move outside your familiar box. Take risks, make mistakes, play hard, go for the seemingly impossible. You are only limited by your mind. Be on the edge, innovate and trust your intuition. Each “failure” is simply another piece of knowledge and deeper learning. Look for the learnings in what you might call mistakes. Trust yourself to say “Yes” to the next nudge and know the “How” will follow. What would you do if you knew you could not fail? What courageous act is inviting you?
5. Be protective of your time and essence. Learn to say No. Establish and hold clear boundaries; value your time and your essence. Gloria Steinem has said, “No is a complete sentence.” Practice that. You are not required to explain or apologize. How many times have you said “Yes” to a request and then regretted it? If a simple “No” or “No thank you, that doesn’t work for me” is difficult for you, try saying, “Let me get back to you on that.” Watch and see what happens when you have some time to think about the request. What is important for you to say “No” to today? Where is it important to establish/strengthen a boundary?
6. Be compassionate – with yourself and others. What does compassion mean to you? I think of compassion as honoring myself and others by giving space and grace to the other for our humanness, trusting that we each have done the very best we could at the moment. Walking in the other person’s shoes. In hindsight we might have made a different decision, yet at the moment of choice we always do the best we can with what we know; it is human nature. Be gentle with judgment of yourself and others. The Dalai Lama says, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” Where could you be more compassionate with yourself right now? With others?
7. Be quiet. Follow the signs. Listen to your heart. Listen to your body. Be quiet and connect with your own deep inner wisdom and let it be your guide. Your heart always knows best. Become aware of how you get your messages and pay attention. Is it through your body? Do you just know? Have visions? Hear a voice? Get a strong feeling? Your inner wisdom is continually sending you information; turn up the dial, listen and trust what you hear. Follow the signs. What is your heart yearning for? STOP, breathe and listen. What message are you getting?
8. Be childlike. Reconnect with the child part of you that sees the wonder, awe and beauty of the world. The part that believes everything is possible and lives in the joy of exploration and expression in the present moment. The part that giggles and laughs and plays. Remember we are here on Earth School to learn and play is an important part of learning. What is your little girl calling you to do? What is right in front of your eyes waiting to be seen through the eyes of a child?
You are the Leader of your Life when you are living in the present moment and creating your life from choices that support and nurture who you truly are. Begin practicing these steps and see how your life changes. Unleash your Powerful Woman; we need you.
©Carol McKeag, Coaching for Life & Spirit