07 Nov Authenticity is the Key to Success for Women
I had the honor of speaking last week at the Women’s Council of Realtor’s National Conference. It was a high energy learning environment. Many of the participants were eager to learn about a leadership model that is intuitive to how women step into their power.
According to the American Express 2018 State of Women Owned Business Report, over the past 46 years, the number of women-owned businesses has grown from 402,000 to 12.3 million – representing approximately 40% of all businesses! Yet the growth of women owned business is much slower than their male counterparts. I believe that much of this has to do with the fact that women are trying to do business like a man, instead of finding their authentic leadership power. Let me explain.
What is leadership?
For many of us who have worked in a male business environment, we have come to know leadership as defined in the dictionary – “the act of leading people”. So, for many women who are working alone in their business, they don’t see the relevance of leadership to their success. In fact, I assert that leadership for women is not so much about leading others, but rather the ability to lead oneself. For women, leadership is a mindset, a driving force that comes from within that is the foundation of her individual success. Female leadership comes from a place of passion and purpose. This is a much deeper awareness than the understanding of what is important. It guides us to leave a meaningful and profound impact on the lives of others.
When a woman is very clear about her purpose, she becomes unstoppable and surpasses her goals.
Let’s face it, men and women are different. In general, men are driven by money and status, women are driven by helping others. Women have been trying to fit into the male leadership model for decades. When we try to replicate their behaviors, we’re called “bossy”, “bitches” or “bad mothers”. It’s time to stop trying to work like men. It’s time to start owning our leadership authenticity.
There is a better way for women to lead!
The ATHENA Leadership Model® was developed from researching over 400 strong female leaders. Eight common attributes were found that were categorized into three areas of leadership:
- How women leaders understand and develop themselves
- Live Authentically – know their values and purpose
- Learn Constantly – mesh their knowledge with experiences to gain wisdom
- How women leaders act out their convictions
- Advocate Fiercely – stand up for what they believe, with respect and compassion
- Act Courageously – challenge the status quo, regardless of the outcome
- Foster Collaborations – gain the insights from others to expand their perspective
- How women leaders embrace and encourage others
- Build Relationships – building meaningful connections without self-interest or status
- Celebrate – honor the good or hard times of others
- Give Back – serve others to leave a legacy
These eight attributes are so simple. When women hear them, there is an immediate connection. And as we can consciously living them – we quickly see the importance of really knowing ourselves and living true to our beliefs. Women start to notice that they lose their power, when they are standing up for someone else’s issue to be liked, accepted or fit in. Our authentic self is a fragile commodity. From a young age, women are more apt to alter their beliefs to be accepted by others. This, over time, distances us from our authentic self. Therefore, every woman’s leadership development should start with working on their self-awareness. This starts with knowing your true core values.
One of the easiest ways to start this exploration is to notice when you are having deep emotional reactions to a situation. Those rages of anger or fits of elation are signs that your true core beliefs are being triggered. Take time to investigate these feelings and look at why they are happening. You may be very surprised at what you learn.
Women are natural and powerful leaders. Leadership opportunities can be small tasks that get accomplished without realizing or major situations that take drive and determination. Every woman has the potential to make a difference in the lives of other, has the ability to build highly successful businesses. Let’s stop selling ourselves short. Take time to connect to your true self and you’ll find an unrelenting energy to step out of your comfort zone and be the change you want to be, to make your dreams and goals come true.
Cindy Gordon is the owner of Business Rescue Coaching. She provides coaching and leadership development programs to help women enhance the financial success and growth of their businesses. To contact Cindy, email her at Cindy@BusinessRescueCoaching.com