Being embodied, powerful and creative in the workplace.
We have just had International Women's Day, celebrating all that is beautiful about being a woman; our bravery, adaptability, ability to multi-task and juggle, and our unique resilient skills.
And as women we come together in sisterhood to share and support in open conversation. We like to express and share how we are feeling; the difficulties of hormonal times and transitions, of juggling family and work life, the different demands we have as the predominant primary caregiver, yet wanting to carve a career for ourselves.
As original natural homemakers and nurturers, I would like to venture that we have these honed relational skills:
1 We like to listen attentively.
2 We try to be understanding and compassionate
3 We are conscious to respect others' opinions and feelings
4 We like to be supportive and encouraging
5 We want to encourage others to pursue their dreams
The way that we can share our stories, and the power we have to support each other is one of our strengths, and reflect our innate soft skills.
Yet when we enter a male-heavy work environment, for example in traditional STEM industries such as finance, do we have to dim down our softness to be taken seriously? Luckily I have personally had scant exposure to this, but I have spoken to women working in higher positions in banking for instance, who feel they find it harder to be taken seriously if they are too feminine. If this rings true for you, do you find yourself writing letters in a more clinical way, or even avoiding revealing your gender in your signature? Does that sound extreme or familiar?
As women we aspire to be beautiful and feminine yet still be powerful and taken seriously. Instead of having to hide our curves and softness, we should be able to feel comfortable without the risk of feeling exposed as a potential sex object.
Finding our Authentic voice
Enter the quality of 'embodiment.' When we become 'embodied', we feel grounded and ‘present’ in our bodies. We are comfortable in our own skin, 'in touch' with ourselves, connected. When we feel a certainty of who we are, our presence and our magnetic field can literally expand. (Think of any successful confident female that you admire, and think of the magnetic aura she exudes.)
When we are 'embodied' we also have the confidence to speak up for ourselves from an unapologetic place. To find our true voice, we have to 'dig deep', or more accurately 'journey deep' within our living body or 'soma', so that our voice can resonate from the flesh and bone of our living being. So that it comes from a grounded strength and surety.
I am a first-generation Western born woman from an ancient Eastern culture, and I have had to fight and claw for some of my freedoms and to find my voice. This is a culture where having a son is still considered most auspicious, and where they will inevitably be treated more favourably. Old traditions die hard.
In my culture women can be quite embarrassingly loud, or quiet and unassuming (which is considered polite and respectful). Doubtless I have been guilty of both in trying to find my own authentic voice. And that was in part from not being entirely comfortable in my own skin when growing up (experiencing racism on a regular basis was naturally rather soul-destroying).
In life, our challenges become our lessons and our jewels, and I can only now be grateful for all the difficult experiences I have had, to help me to grow and learn. And certainly what one may perceive as a weakness can also be seen as a strength. I now am proud to say that I am Chinese, but it has taken all my life. And so it is the same with being a woman.
We can use our feminity as a strength, and embrace our soft skills in the workplace, to foster good relationships. We can use our femininity as a strength in order to be successful in business. We are good listeners and are good communicators. We have a lot of empathy and are good at problem-solving. We process information quickly and we can take criticism well, dare I say it, not being so consumed by 'ego'. We are more aware of how to communicate with others effectively and respectfully.
Next week I will be at the Health and Wellbeing at Work Conference in Birmingham, where I would love to meet with you and have an authentic wholesome conversation about any issues you may have with your employees that can be solved with the Creative Teambuilding Days I am offering.
A combination of embodiment, art, creativity, movement and dance, with a strong dash of light-hearted playfulness, I want to empower not only women, but enable both genders (is that politically/numerically correct these days?), to be more grounded, centred and calm, and to help create a co-operative and compassionate workplace environment.
Details of the event are here: https://healthwellbeingwork.co...
See Creative Teambuilding Days I offer: https://www.niiodance.com/team...
Really ready to release some stress and have fun? Enroll in a FREE mini course here, to get into your body in preparation to dance: https://www.niiodance.com/cour...