The woman who’s a partner in a law firm – one of just a couple of women in a team of a dozen partners – and avoids using the word equal because the other partners don’t like that. She turns her focus to fair and just. She bills more than everyone else and shows it can be done, even with as many kids as the fingers on one of her hands.
The woman who doesn’t want to do it the way she’s been shown by men whose wives have never worked outside the home. She chooses the path of authentic leadership, knowing full well she’ll push buttons along the way. She has the courage it takes, fuelled by a deep knowing that matching the way it’s usually done – angry outbursts and fists on the table and shutting down conversations and shirts bursting with big, fat egos – isn’t the way for her. She knows there’s a better way, and she’s discovering it for herself.
The woman who was told she’s too attractive to step up the corporate ladder, and needs more presence when she speaks if she wants to be taken seriously. The feedback was hard for her to swallow. And she’s committed to moving forward too.
The woman who discovered the message that’s hers to share and changed jobs to claim a bigger stage for herself. A stage that’s aligned with her true purpose.
The woman whose position was filled by a guy who was paid tens-of-thousands of dollars more than her the year she was on maternity leave. There aren’t many female leaders where she works. She wants to be one of them, and she wants to do it consciously and mindfully. She wants to define what powerful leadership is for her, and do the inner work required to be a truly effective leader.
The woman who thought she didn’t have anything very interesting to say as a public speaker, only to be told by an Olympian that she couldn’t possibly speak after this woman because she was so amazing, so inspiring, so powerful.
The woman who’d sat silently in meetings at work for too many years and had lost any sense of confidence, and then learnt the skills and found the courage to speak up. What she had to say was so interesting to one of her colleagues that he invited her to be part of a new committee.
The woman who used to get so distressed about presenting that, at times, her hair fell out, and now can’t wait to get to the venue because she’s so excited about speaking to large audiences and sharing her message.
And there are more. So many more brave and inspiring women who’ve said yes to themselves. To their purpose and power. Their vision. Their message. Their genuine confidence. Their authentic leadership.
So many brave and inspiring women who’ve confronted what’s held them back. Their habits, beliefs and assumptions. Their fear. Their comparisons. Their perfection. Their pleasing. And the costs of it all.
So many brave and inspiring women who’ve unlocked and discovered the power of their message. Their voice. Their wisdom. Their intelligence. Their innate self-confidence.
I’m touched by them all, these women, and enormously grateful. Their commitment to be their best selves holds me firm to my own.
I honour them. I honour you.
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