I was speaking with a man I trust and respect. He’s honest, direct, and a highly skilled relationship builder. He picks up the phone, every time, instead of flicking off an email. So rare these days.
He’s also a good bloke. Such a lovely, kind man.
We were chatting about women – as I do. He knows full well about my mission to help women develop their power and leadership by learning how to express themselves powerfully.
In his experience, he said, so many women are artificial. He said they try to be who they think they should be, and behave the way they think they’re meant to, in their business and career.
As I reflected on his words, I thought about all the times I’ve tried to fit what I thought was the ideal. It was more so in my younger days, but it still happens, and I’m glad I’m quick to catch myself. It’s usually when I think I’m out of my depth, or in the company of someone “more successful” than me. I get caught up in that ridiculous notion that I have to pretend. And pretending diminishes power.
I thought about some of the women I used to work with in the media, and clients I’ve supported, especially those who are in leadership positions.
One woman comes to mind – a CEO – who’s extremely driven, controlling, and often referred to as a smiling assassin. Her hardness alienates her from her staff and erodes her ability to truly connect with people.
I’ve seen the other side of her. The strength of her genuine care and passion for her mission. Her warmth. Her true power that’s imbued with heart.
And yet, on the public stage she frowns and her jaw is hard and she pushes and pushes her message, like hammering a rusty old nail. Her words don’t land, they don’t hit the mark, they’re not felt. She’s so busy trying to be the tough person she thinks she’s meant to be.
I’ve witnessed this often. I’ve heard women who start expressing themselves get stuck in a voice that’s false, even when they’re talking about something for which they care deeply. It’s a voice that sounds like it’s trying to be masculine. It’s heavy with the facts of the matter, and light on feeling values.
It’s a voice that doesn’t have the shades, tones and richness of being a woman that are so incredibly powerful and have the capacity to change minds.
As women, we’re called to come to our own voice. As leaders, we’re called to come to our own voice.
We’re called to share our messages, our wisdom and intelligence, our experiences and stories – to benefit those who most to need to hear them.
Your voice carries your unique brand of power and leadership.
Please, use it wisely and well. Be real and true. Important opportunities to influence and motivate are being wasted.
About the author
Tricia Karp is dedicated to helping women develop their power and leadership through powerful self-expression. She’s the founder of www.TriciaKarp.com, where she shares her strategies and wisdom for becoming a world class speaker and communicator.
To find out about Tricia’s latest Australian workshop – Unprecedented Confidence – come over here.
Photo credit: qsimple