Featured image taken from https://the-artifice.com/mulans-analysis/.
It doesn’t matter if a woman is running an entire business, or just heading a department, women in leadership positions are often required to be more cunning at getting things done.
Their battles often consist of people projecting their insecurities on those they think they have control over, or could be easily manipulated into doing their bidding. Women being the “fairer sex” and often groomed to be people-pleasers from a young age, the journey of healing their masculine means taking longer to get to the top. Additionally, women who behave otherwise often face significant challenges to their authority.
Because these women do not behave in the “expected mannerisms” of patriarchal leadership, and most certainly do not look like one, any strong, assertive moves could as easily be misinterpreted as being “too bossy”, “having authoritarian tendencies”, or outright “dictatorial”. What would have been conviction in men, would be seen as arrogance in women.
For the longest time, leaders use strategies that are based on masculine qualities rather than feminine, strategies that often employ brute force and violence to get what they want. These are not only the go-to methods, they are also the more respected methods. The lesser known counterpart to masculine leadership – the feminine style of leadership – is seen as weak and too compromising.
On the surface, this might look true. In practice, I certainly do not believe that it is true. I am saying this not only as a femme, but also as a chinese-descent returning home to her roots. In the works of ancient Masters like Sun Tzu, the great strategist of war, and Confucius, the great poet and philosopher, lie centuries-old wisdom that reflect the feminine nature of leadership in China. These wisdom are used till this day in military and business affairs, as well as those internal battles we constantly have with our Egos.
Below are some strategies of feminine leadership that I had been fortunate to acquire in the last few years, particularly since the times of my Great Crash of 2018 (everybody has those years). This list is not exhaustive, and I am not an academic expert on matters of warfare. But if this could help at least one person in unblocking a particular hindrance in his or her life right now, I am happy to put it out there.
Avoid drama, strike right into the heart of the beast
The best war is a war that never occurred.
This strategy requires the leader to be in tune to his or her surroundings beyond the five physical senses, and notice the conditions of the battlefield. Are they the conditions for trouble? Or are they the conditions for peace? Even for leaders who have been trained to be sensitive to the realities on the ground, this is an incredibly difficult skill to master.
It can be very tempting to immediately react to an act of war with another act of war, either against oneself or others. Too often, this leads to the situation of missing the forest for the trees, and adding diesel to the fire. There is great wisdom in waiting for the most opportune moment to strike your enemy, if that moment even comes at all. Most of the time, one does not have to lift a finger. The incompetence and stupidity of mediocre people would simply be punishment enough. They will naturally crumble under the weight of their own idiocy.
Pro-tip: Ignore the haters, bullies, and others who declare themselves your enemy, overtly or covertly (you will know). Focus on your work and the tasks at hand. Do them well. Sharpen your skills. Do as the Bible says, “do not cast pearls before swines”. Then, pay attention. When the time is right, you will have the kill shot in sight, or even the head of the enemy handed to you on a silver platter. That is when you will know that you have killed (or tamed) the beast.
How to hone: grounding work.
For women particularly, our lower chakras (hip-pelvic and below) are very likely to be in need of healing. Years upon years of being denied our access and ability to activate the chakras around that area have the effect of damaging the sensory networks that send vital signals to our brains. If the trauma is especially severe, pay special attention to the root chakra in grounding exercises.
The most important acceptance is accepting all of who you are
Shed the need to perform. As my mentor and good friend, Meghana Bahar, likes to say, “leave the theater to the performance artists.” Indeed, a leader’s stage is bigger than those of small minds.
Though Jon Snow seemed weak at the beginning, he proved to be a formidable force as he grew into his destiny. Nobody likes being the person who “knows nothing”, though Socrates might be rolling in his grave laughing at the pretenses people suffer through just to be liked, validated, and approved by society.
The true wall of ignorance is made out of an inflated sense of Self and an illusion of grandeur. Too many times, leaders attempt to appear strong by having an answer to everything and falsely project the persona of a walking encyclopedia. This usually backfires badly when the leader is put to a real test. Against actual stress to prove substance, the leader finds himself or herself in a trapped situation. Fight or flight mode gets activated, and this is not a healthy or sustainable way of living for long periods of time. When this happens, the nervous system gets dysregulated so frequently that it becomes a normal routine, resulting in the sufferer perceiving dangers that are not materially there. This is also how a toxic work environment gets created and enabled. A person with such high levels of nervous system dysregulation would pick fights even when there are no issues, and feels easily threatened by those who are more in control of their lives.
Pro-tip: In all likelihood, you have all the information you need to succeed in your blood. It is in your DNA. Do not suppress or deny your inner urges, no matter how macabre or diabolical, and simply acknowledge the monster that lives within you. Be clear about what you want. If you can’t do that right now, then be clear of what you don’t want. Gradually relax your nervous systems for longer periods of time until your trauma points no longer trigger a response.
How to hone: shadow work.
Enhance the perception of the five physical senses, and then gradually expand on the other senses. To do this, one must be prepared to die. The death of the ego is necessary, and this is done by knowing the shit out of yourself, and accepting all aspects of it, warts and all. Remember how toxic Peter Parker became, to himself and others in his presence, when he was in denial of how Venom came into existence? Yeah, that. Stop doing that. Accept your demons and they will fight alongside you, instead of fighting against you. This is how you become a more integrated person, hence, a better leader.
Strengthen integrity: slow and steady is better than fast but inconsistent
Well, if you are going into battle, your ability to carry heavy armour for a sustained period of time is as important as the sharpness of your sword.
One of the reasons why I love doing taichi is because of the philosophy behind the movements. Other than being a good source of exercise, the Cheng style in particular emphasises the importance of training the body to be okay with slow, but steady, pace. The focus on building strength and stamina before speed is crucial to the strategic, long-term leader. One does not want to find oneself running short on breath in the middle of a hike up Mount Everest, or halfway though a marathon. This can also be difficult because of the fast-paced world we currently live in, but train we must.
When the feminine is healthy, one forgoes the patriarchal leadership structures that promotes unhealthy competition and the treatment of others as inferiors. This is especially true for women, who often find ourselves in situations where we are the recipients and/or perpetrators of the wounded feminine. Under the guise of doing it for “the greater good”, wounded leaders often dim the light of others in response to the fear of being out-shined by other (female) colleagues, in the service of their individual agendas.
Pro-tip: Just because it is shiny, that doesn’t mean it is gold. Always look at the long-term benefits of a venture, rather than making it about quick dollars. Trust that the money will come, but not before your body is ready to receive it. You must go through the process of training your body to be safe around a shit-tonne of money, otherwise, rich is something you will never be. Even if you do somehow earn the cash to show for it, you won’t have class, and it will likely be temporary. Don’t forget: be brutally honest, even if it costs you. The damages of ignoring this principle is far worse than the temporary pain of heeding it.
How to hone: embark on your Heroine’s journey.
As opposed to the outward nature of the hero’s journey, such as leaving the village and coming back full of victory with a beautiful bride by his side, the heroine’s journey turns inward. For muslims, we are familiar with the concept of jihad, or the struggle, and the greatest jihad of all (Imam Ruhallah Musavi Khomeini) is the combat of the self, i.e. the ego. Not only it is a rewarding journey materially, it is also a rewarding journey spiritually, for any path to be more at one with yourself is a path of Godliness.
Hope this is helpful, however little. Do you know of other feminine strategies for life and business? Please share!
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