Power From Unexpected Places ~ Femininity Doesn't Just Have To Mean Being Sexy
Coming off the high of an amazing personal and professional development conference, I joined some new friends for a parting dinner. Joining us was a Slovakian woman, Andrea, who’s lived in the U.S. for18 years. At first take, she was pretty and I ASS-UMED I knew why the guys invited her (shame on me). Sitting down next to her, she immediately leaned in and fully engaged me in conversation.
She was closer than I am traditionally comfortable with, but she had a warmth about her. A short time later, I couldn’t help but confess to her that her sensuality and femininity were breathtaking. I had two options; I could retreat, pull away and give her even more space to glow, or I could shine in my own way and work to mirror the confidence and warmth that she exuded. I chose the latter and I engaged. We hardly ate dinner because we were so deep into meaningful conversation.
Her energy was so strong, I couldn’t resist complimenting her – even highlighting her femininity to the table. We unanimously agreed- she was both feminine and powerful!
The gentleman at our table asked if he had permission to coach (a theme of our event) and he said to me, “You are feminine. I can see it in you… but you hide behind a mask of masculinity.” He nailed. 15+ years in a male dominated industry and all my role models have been men.
So what made her so feminine… some things were obvious as she flipped her hair back, leaned in close when listening and often would touch her face or neck (drawing attention to features like her lips, jawline and eyes). But more than anything it was her flow and constant sensual movement. My movements on the other hand reflect traditional corporate America; cold, stiff and lacking emotion and passion. As she flowed thru conversation, I kept the same strong position; shoulders back and down, legs crossed and arms and hands close to my side with conservative energy and facial expression… I realized I was holding back! But why? Why had I created this persona? I started to realize my limiting belief; that women aren’t as powerful and need to be more like men to complete in this world.
But Andrea defied that. Her business of nearly 2 decades is built on the proven concept that a well trained and skilled sales woman can deliver 150-700% higher lead and sale closure rates than men in the same role. She explained that the more feminine her team, the stronger the connection to potential customers in male based industry, and inherently the stronger their ability to influence. She confidently stated that her femininity has been a strong asset in her arsenal in working with countless Fortune 500 companies and top executives.
I can’t think of a time in my past that I have ever received that message. On the other hand, I can think of numerous times I was told to mirror the leadership I aspire to be, most of which are positions held by men. Talk about an eye opener on the power of femininity. Not that I am going to do a 180-degree flip… but as I watched her and mirrored her, I could feel the mask coming off. In the days and months since then, I notice that I have more passion; feel more connected and live with more joy when I welcome the natural flow and sensuality of being a woman.
Can you relate? Do you recognize ways you’ve covered up your femininity to be more masculine? How has it impacted your relationships? How do you feel when you are exuding femininity?