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When you create your own path, rather than following the old leadership model, it helps to regularly take a step back and assess if you’re still on track.

Use The Power Of Community To Help You Create Your Own Path!

“To watch people push themselves further than they think they can, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s really human.” ~ Abby Wambach

It’s month two of the new year already! Is your year going as planned or have you hit some turbulence that has slowed you down, or even stopped you? Perhaps it’s time to breathe new life into your goals or reinforce the good start you made?

As women leaders, it’s common to run into obstacles on our chosen path. Sometimes it becomes so difficult you may want to give up. Yet we urge you to keep going. After all, if it’s easy, you wouldn’t be growing, testing the waters outside your comfort zone and extending yourself fully.

It’s helpful to take a step back and look at your path, regularly and often. This constant reassessment, which allows for course correction, is the key to moving forward. People who sail on the open sea know this very well. When the wind becomes strong, they don’t continue to try to reach their destination in a beeline. Rather they employ a skill known as tacking. The captain turns the bow toward the wind so that the direction from which the wind blows changes from first the left side and then the right side, allowing a zig zag progression toward the desired direction. The obstacle, the wind, is then turned into an asset, propelling them forward with much more speed than if there were no wind or obstacle at all.

Are you on your path, or someone else’s?

One of our favorite books is WOLFPACK: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power and Change the Game, by Abby Wambach. She’s a two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA World Cup champion and is noted for her leadership skills as she helped transform her soccer teammates into one of the most successful, powerful and united Wolfpacks of all time.

She reminds us that the old rule, the one we grew up in, is to “Stay on the path”. This model is not designed for women today. The new rule is to create your own path. 

Take the time to consider if you’re on the right path for you. Especially, if you have set goals for yourself based on something you read, advice from an “expert” or a conversation with a friend without ensuring that it’s the right goal for you. Is it getting you nearer or further away from your destination?

We believe that it’s important to base your goals on who you really are, instead of who you wish you were. This takes a lot of grace, compassion and self-knowing. Truly accepting who you are helps you set routines and systems that help you succeed. So, as you step back to reassess, ask yourself: “Is this goal designed for me or for someone I wish I were?”

Create your own path, but don’t walk it alone.

As in the case of Abby Wamback, successful leadership involves not only claiming our individual power, but also uniting our Pack or community and forging new trails. Your power to create your new path doesn’t come from trying to go it alone. The new path embraces accountability. As women, the power of the collective is a potent source of accountability. 

We, Maria and Louise, turn to each other quite often to hold our work in an accountable frame. We also ask questions of each other that push and stretch us out of our comfort zone of repeating old patterns. We don’t only do power different, we approach goals in a different way. We like to create routines that have accountability by creating a buddy system. It’s not only important to know what you want. It’s also important to have a community that is cheering for you, is excited, and holds you accountable.

Who is in your community of allies that help you stay true to your goals? Who are your accomplices who will support you when you veer away from your goal? How can you develop more allies in your accountability plans? We invite you to become part of our community at our next annual retreat — Women: Bring Forth the Leader Within. Among other things, we’ll help you develop your leadership style so that you can lead from where you are instead of reaching into a style that you are not. (Pssst…We’re extending the Early Bird Pricing through the month of February!) If you have any questions or concerns, we invite you to contact us so we can address them.

Both men and women can use the traits characterizing the feminine leadership style to enhance their leadership skills.

We Do Power Different — The Feminine Leadership Style

“The way in which we think of ourselves has everything to do with how our world sees us and how we see ourselves successfully acknowledged by the world.” ~ Arlene Rankin

Perhaps you think feminine means something girly girl — things that are sweet and pretty. So in your mind, a feminine approach has no place in business, politics or leadership, because it lessens your power. After all, these arenas have long been dominated by men and you have to be tough to survive in them, right? It isn’t possible to be tough and feminine at the same time, is it? Well, the answer to these questions may surprise you…

In the context of business and the world scene, we believe the feminine leadership style can effectively be used by both men and women, as it refers to developing the behaviors, characteristics, and skills that women have quietly used for centuries to successfully guide their families. It’s a powerful, yet subtle, influence that brings out the best in each member of the family or team to create a synergy of the whole accomplishing so much more than any individual effort ever could.

What traits characterize the feminine approach to leadership?

Women bring a passion to their leadership. This trait enables you to put heart into all that you do. We’re invested in the outcome, it’s not just a job.

Women have learned how to be flexible and resilient as we balance home and work life. We often care for multiple roles of responsibility simultaneously so we know how to quickly collect and assemble data into complex patterns as we weigh all the options to make the best decisions. (Most moms do this every morning when they get their children off to school with clean clothes, backpacks, completed homework, lunches, and pick-up and drop-off schedules all in order.) 

Women tend to see the big picture, because they pay attention to the human element not just the cold, hard facts. Yes, they’re comfortable acknowledging “feelings” within themselves and others.

The feminine leadership style relates with others, while keeping ego under control. It looks for ways to connect, to hear, and see others. We seek to inspire and build, which multiplies our impact, rather than separate and diminish our efforts. People respond to this caring energy. It fosters creativity and excellence, as others feel accepted and valued.  

Feminine leaders are natural collaborators and can create and motivate teams, because we do it every day within the family unit. We’ve learned to hone our sensitivity to assess the mood in a room and have the courage to say what needs to be said. We know that men and women think differently; work to understand each person, rather than being dismissive of their contribution.

Feminine leaders are authentic in all they do. We know who we are and we’ve grown comfortable in our own skin. We’re not afraid to follow our dreams and be the author of our journey. We’ve learned how to speak what we believe and have the strength and presence to be ourselves, while welcoming everyone around you to do the same. 

The feminine approach takes advantage of the power that comes from softening your stance. It’s no mistake that a ball is round. Rounder objects handle stress better. This is well-illustrated by what engineers have learned about designing airplane windows. Airplanes, at first, used square windows. However, when jets began flying faster and at higher altitudes, two planes fell apart in midair. They came to realize that sharp corners of the square windows were natural weak spots where stress concentrates. Curved windows, on the other hand, have no focal point, so it distributes the stress. Feminine leaders don’t let everyday stressors make them rigid in their thinking and physiology. They’ve learned to soften the body and roll with the punches both literally and figuratively.

As you looked at these traits, how did you feel? Do you feel like you’re fully utilizing them in your approach to leadership. It’s not always easy, is it? Some women have felt that they must adopt leadership styles that make them acquiesce to the status quo or become ‘one of the boys’. Sadly, this reduces your effectiveness, as they don’t allow you to use your strengths and skills fully. 

We appreciate what Mary Beard said in Women & Power: A Manifesto ,“You cannot easily fit women into a structure that is already coded as male; you have to change the structure.”  Let’s be at the forefront of this change! When we chose the phrase, “we do power different” as our tagline, we wanted to emphasize that we are moving beyond the divide and conquer model of leadership that has been in use for much too long. We invite you to take this journey with us. Start by filling out our thought-provoking PADLE questionnaire. It’s a leadership model that makes sense!

When you add resourceful routines and systems to your life you can do amazing things!

Why Resourceful Routines and Systems Are Better Than Resolutions

“By being systems oriented, I felt myself growing more capable every day, no matter the fate of the project I happened to be working on.” ~ Scott Adams

Have you noticed how many goals and resolutions are based on not liking yourself? Most New Year’s Resolutions are approached from a scarcity mentality based upon negative thinking…”I’m not skinny enough; I’m not smart enough; I don’t have enough money; I don’t have the life I want to live”? This can be so discouraging! The thing you dislike about yourself can easily overshadow all of the wonderful things you are.

After all, a resolution or goal is a closed-end objective that may occur sometime in the future. It works outside of the reality of who you are today because if you were that person, you wouldn’t be making that goal.

And with a goal or resolution, you either make it or you don’t. If you don’t make it, your brain may register it as a “failure.” If you do make it, you can celebrate the victory, and you have to make a new goal to keep moving forward.

We have discovered that our yummiest transitions occur when we create and live with resourceful systems and routines. This is so powerful! It allows you to be happy with yourself today, because you accomplish what you intend to do — you followed your system! When you adopt this different perspective, you’ll see a substantial shift in your ability to maintain your personal energy and power.

Systems work because you do them consistently. They embody your values, beliefs, and vision. For example, Maria has a system for exercising at the gym with her CrossFit group. Did she start out with the goal of attending an international competition like the Cross Fit Open? Far from it! Her system is to get up early, make her bed (yes, this ‘little thing’ is important, because it creates structure in her life), show up at the gym, and push herself to the next level when she was ready. She chooses to only consume things (physically and mentally) that make her feel good. And guess what? She competed on an international level at the 2019 CrossFit Open! (Read more about this on her website.) Her system for healthy living got her to where she never dreamed it was possible to go.

Life is a journey that’s supported by individual habits, which form routines, that either support you or they don’t.

A woman has to be fierce to live fully in today’s world. She has to make smart choices and have grit!  She routinely does things that nourish, support, and empower her. She has a good health regime — eating what makes her feel energized, strengthening herself through exercise and restorative sleep. She’s mindfully aware of her accomplishments and is proud of what she’s achieved. She feeds her mind and spirit on things that keep her up-to-date in her chosen profession, as well as, inspired and motivated.

Are you that woman deep inside, but external forces have sidetracked you from bringing forth that powerful person from within? Has life brought you down, and you need to be lifted up again? Then we urge you to mindfully and intentionally start today! Make resourceful routines and systems your go-to way of being. Here are some things to remember as you do this:

  1. Do small things well, instead of one thing not so well.
  2. Learn from past resolutions and see what’s working and what’s not working.  
  3. Review your mission and stay true to it.
  4. Mindfully look over the past and acknowledge each small win and CELEBRATE!
  5. Intentionally build toward a big goal over time.

Resourceful routines and systems are based on who you are, not on who you think you’re supposed to be. You can use intentions to tweak who you are and get yourself back into balance. For example, if you intend to be happier, you’ll feel and express gratitude. If you intend to be healthier, you’ll choose to do things that give you energy. Intentions are grounded in the present and they honor your effort and the process, not just results.

A number of years ago, we set the intention to empower women via an annual retreat. From that day forward, we established systems for getting all the pieces pulled together. There were times we didn’t think it would happen. But by taking one step at a time, we’ve now conducted a number of annual retreats. If we can achieve our dreams, so can you! We invite you to join us for our upcoming Bring Forth the Leader Within retreat. You’ll be able to tap into your wisdom and experience and we’ll help you hear your own inner wisdom more clearly so you can design the life you’ve always dreamed of.

When you use these five self-leadership skills, you’ll add to holiday happiness and be proud of the way you handle holiday stress and pressure more easily.

5 Self-Leadership Skills to Help You Have a Happier Holiday Season

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The year-end months are hectic, yet we’re so grateful for the holiday season! It lets us reconnect with family and friends. It’s a time for relaxing, reflecting and assessing how we’ve done over the past year. Then we can do course corrections as needed. 

While there’s much joy this time of year, don’t you find that there are also added pressures from crowded stores, roads and airports? Plus there are many more internal pressures, too. Sometimes we get caught up in trying to meet expectations of providing the perfect holiday experience, or being the perfect daughter, sister, wife, and mother. The house has to be just so. The meals must be absolutely delicious. We may find ourselves pushing to perform on a lot less sleep and a lot more stress.

It doesn’t have to be like that! Start planning a strategy now that will make you proud of the way you handle yourself at all times. We’d like to share a few self-leadership suggestions that can help.

 What self-leadership skills will help you have a very happy holiday season?

1. Learn from past years. You know yourself and your emotional buttons. And you know your family dynamics and how they push your buttons. You know it’s coming, so how do you want to respond?

We read a great suggestion on Brenda Bence’s website — if you were to have people describe you at the end of the holiday season, what five, positive, descriptive words would you want them to use? This is a time to be very intentional. For example, if you intend to be calm, peaceful, fun, pleasant and loving, then those are the qualities to daily remember, recite, and practice now and on through the season.

2. Predict difficulties. During the holidays, you’re more likely to let your guard down. You might let someone pressure you to do something you really don’t want to do. It may be that extra glass of wine or a second helping, or getting drawn into an old family squabble. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Bump up your practice of mindfulness so you’re highly aware of the messages your body is sending you. Are you feeling pressure in your shoulders and neck or churning in your stomach? Do some deep breathing and stretching, as you consciously release the emotions causing the tension. If that doesn’t do it, go for a walk or just step out of the room for a moment to collect yourself. As Jane Austen so wisely said,

“We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.”

3. Have more than one plan. Disappointment can cause you to spiral into negative thoughts and feelings. Resilience will help you absorb any disappointments and help you to calmly choose the next best thing to do, without internalizing the change as a slight to you as a person.

4. Schedule time away to rest. It’s not selfish to practice self-care. In fact, it’s the only way to build your resilience so you can bring out your best self under even the most trying times.

5. Avoid the holiday blues. There is a let down at the end of the season. A great way to counteract this is to plan a really empowering activity in the upcoming year. And we have the perfect suggestion. Why not attend our Bring Forth the Leader Within 3rd Annual Retreat? It’s going to be held in beautiful Costa Rica in a setting that will relax and stimulate you to dig deeply and find the way to live differently, love fully, and profoundly impact your community and the world.

No one should have to go it alone. Here are a few ways to help create more community and connection to empower women and girls in your part of the world.

5 Ways to Build Your Own Community of Empowering Women

As women, we have an advantage over most men. Do you know what it is? Are you taking full advantage of it?

A woman’s advantage

Many women grow up with a built-in community. Ages of wisdom have been shared from grandmother to mother to daughter, from aunt to niece, from sister to sister. We know that this community of sisters and elders anchors us to truths that others don’t yet know. We can turn to one another, wherever we find our sister or soul sister, mother or elder.

This message of community is powerfully expressed in Margaret Wheatley’s poem, “Turning to One Another*.” She tells us “There is no power greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” She reminds us that we MUST turn to one another. That is where we find the strength to discover “what’s possible” and know that others “share our dreams”.

How can you help build community and connection to empower women? Even if you haven’t grown up with an empowering support system, you can build your own, by being open to making new connections, reaching out, conversing, and sharing your hopes, dreams, and ambitions. For example, we, Maria Connolly and Louise Santiago, met and connected at a coach development program. The more we talked the more we discovered our values and vision were aligned. Since then we have been working to build this business to empower women to be fierce leaders.

No one should have to go it alone. Here are five ways to help create more community and connection in your world. Notice that within each area, you give to yourself before you can give to others. 

Shine a spotlight on other women. Don’t be afraid to verbalize or write your gratitude for the things the women in your life do and the way they are in the world. Think about how positive acknowledgment has impacted you. Make time every day for this and never be “too busy”.

Recapture your essential nature. Generations of people have learned to suppress and disown their true selves. They give away their power by hiding behind a persona and showing the world a censored version of self. It’s time to bring back your authentic self! When you reconnect with your purpose and values, you’ll embrace what and who you are now AND actively unlocking the full potential of what and who you can dynamically become through mindful, personal growth. 

Model healthful living. A healthy body is the powerhouse from which we attain meaningful aspirations and dreams. Without clean water, nutritious food, and energizing exercise, the human body can’t function properly. When you practice and model wellness, you empower women to be the best version of themselves. Also, it’s essential to nurture a powerful spirit that lets dreams soar and won’t give up. A practice of mindfulness and self-awareness is the basis for creating harmony in this mind/body/spirit connection. 

Promote lifelong learning. It gives you a competitive edge in today’s job market. Women who know they can learn new skills when needed won’t feel stuck in a profession. It makes you a highly sought after as an expert in any field.  It slows cognitive decline and makes you a happier and more interesting person. You’ll always have something to talk about, so conversations can be more deeply meaningful.

Invest in yourself. Before you can give to others, it’s vital to have a continual commitment to developing oneself in order to be a stronger part of the community. This can be challenging because as women, we’re often juggling multiple responsibilities and end up lacking the time, energy, or focus to do deep personal work. Make a commitment to yourself to get away and seriously explore and clarify what you want. Visit lovely surroundings where you can de-stress and think deeply without distraction.

We, as women, have the privilege, and responsibility, to use our community to empower each new generation to come. At Newave Leaders, we offer an Annual Retreat where you have the opportunity for turning to one another. We’ve developed a community of empowering women who share a passion for developing their internal leader, incubating their dreams, and turning their vision into a new reality. 

We’re getting ready to announce our 2020 retreat in Costa Rica. We invite you to sign-up at the bottom of the Bring Forth the Leader Within page to stay up-to-date on the details.

 *For your convenience, here’s a link to Margaret J. Wheatley’s “Turning to One Another.”

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