I’ve long been fascinated with power. Who has it, why they want it, what they do with it. So much so that I started a PhD on the topic. What I really wanted to investigate was women and power. How was the power that women hold when they are most aligned different from that of men in the same domains. I had seen nearly every woman I came into contact with in my working life deeply entrenched in the dominant power structures and behaviors yielded by the successful men in the workplace: ambitious, political, hungry, self serving – decidedly masculine power. The women were in some cases more masculine than the men (for a long time I was one of them). I thought that this was just the way it was in the world of work.
But as I left that world to embark on my entrepreneurial journey, including writing more books, doing more research and developing my own identity in the world independent of the corporate hierarchy I had grown up in, I started to ask different questions about what success models and power structures could really look like.
Could women hold power differently from men? Should they? Was there a difference in gender deeper than what we see on the surface that influences our authentic power models? Was this misalignment with power one of the reasons why so many women leave workplaces when they hit upper management, because they no longer feel like themselves and no longer want to play the game, even if they can’t name that as the reason?
The answers seem so obvious to me now. After so many years seeking those answers, researching them, watching the stories unfold with my clients, coaching literally thousands of women in my programs, it all seems so clear.
And the answer is, of course. Of course women, when in alignment, hold their power differently to men. Of course women, when most authentic, sit deeply into their feminine traits rather than solely in their masculine ones that are so dominant at work and in business. Of course women want to show up as themselves, in the truest sense, and have that be accepted and not changed or fixed.
There is another side to power. A softer, more intuitive, collaborative and more holistic side. Call it feminine power, authentic power, personal power or aligned power – the words don’t matter as much as the intent. To be true, caring more about the whole than the self, using power for the greater good not just as power over others. Caring, period.
Feminine power can still be fierce, and indeed it is. But it’s fierce with purpose, just not because power makes it so. It’s a power that we could all use more of. It’s a power that is, and will continue, to create revolutions and change the world for the better. And the truth is, it’s the only power that can.