The Empowered Woman: Part 1

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“I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband, was in public life.”
- Hillary Clinton

Modern women struggle with multiple roles and responsibilities. At work, they are expected to exercise leadership and be productive. At home, they are expected to be nurturing mothers, supportive wives, and caring daughters. At the same time, national policies encourage women to have more children because of the declining birth rate.

With all these demands, expectations, and responsibilities, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Yet, there seems to be a small but growing group successful women leaders who have managed to find balance and alignment in all the disparate roles they need to juggle – the Empowered Woman.

An Empowered Woman Vs. A Superwoman
An empowered woman’s happiness isn't tied to any one role or identity; working professional or stay-home-mum. Their happiness is connected to what makes them feel fulfilled or whether they are living out their purpose in life.

An empowered woman isn't a superwoman, trying to do everything equally well in every area of their lives so that they’ll be considered successful. No, the empowered woman declares she is a blessed, successful woman FIRST. Because of that belief in an overflow of blessings in her life, she is able to give and contribute, becoming a blessing to others as well. Instead of building your life around working endlessly to pursue success, build your life around being the right you, the authentic you, and let success find YOU.

What Empowered Women Do Differently
They understand that leadership doesn't come from a title or position. They understand that leadership is influence and the ability to influence others and be a leader is born out of leading themselves first.

Empowered women think differently. They know that there are 3 mindsets to avoid if they ever want to gain credibility as leaders.

“I MUST BE COMFORTABLE.” Practicing self-leadership requires a woman to step up, and step out of her comfort zone. If you are a junior executive, you may have to express your views in a meeting despite your natural tendency to keep your views to yourself. As you expand the size of your comfort zone so too will you grow as a person.

“I MUST BE LIKED.” Seeking the approval of others or the other extreme – intentionally rebelling against others’ opinions in order to be liked is NOT purpose-driven, but opinion-driven.

“I MUST WIN.” or “I MUST BE RIGHT”. For me to win, you must lose or for me to be right, you must be wrong. Both mindsets function from the premise of satisfying the ego – it doesn’t come from a powerful place where you first serve others or put the needs of the organization above yours.

How can women be the “right you”?
Being the right you is about authenticity. And the first step is to be aligned with who you are. As you align your strengths and purpose in life, other aspects of your life will fall into place effortlessly.

These 5 questions will help you on your journey to discovering your purpose:
(1) What do you do best? It could be natural talents or skills that you feel confident and at ease with.

(2) What makes you feel good? What do you enjoy doing? What makes you feel fantastic about yourself? When you engage in a particular activity, be aware of your response to that activity. Do you feel fulfilled, or is it merely something you do out of obligation?

(3) Ask for feedback. Those who are closest to you know you best. They know how you will react to a situation, your highlights, and your blind spots. Try asking your spouse, family, working partners, or mentors to describe you in five words and they don’t have to be glowing testimonials to how fabulous you are! Ask them to be honest in their assessments.

(4) Define and refine. Once you discover your purpose, it’s important to define and continuously refine your mission. Don’t expect changes overnight, because it will take some time to reap the benefits of the new you. Ask yourself, if I am the CEO of my own organization, would I follow me?

(5) Set accurate priorities. Determine and define the most important things you need to accomplish each day. The first daily priority has to be you! Once you begin your days focusing on you, you gain clarity on how to align your day with your purpose and mission.

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