As a creative, leader, entrepreneur, or in a position of leadership, it’s no easy feat to navigate & run a business. You might already have a wonderful skillset as a coach, practitioner or creative – but the skill set of an entrepreneur is an entirely new ball game.
Honestly, I didn’t really consider that becoming a mentor & coach meant that I (most likely) needed to also become an entrepreneur.
But here we are.
A team of 7, myself included, work with our School doing (what we believe) is epic work. It’s my privilege & responsibility to steer this ship, and naturally, as a teacher & devotee of feminine embodiment, I want to run our company in aligned ways. Perhaps you do too.
In my own company & for those women around me, I see the old models of the masculine falling by the wayside as we make way for models of working that center feminine economics.
I’d love to share with you some of those principles & how you too might weave this feminine formula that’s been incredibly successful for me.
#1 The Direction of Your Growth
Q: Have you ever had a period in business (or life) where things didn’t seem to be moving forward?
Perhaps instead your business or offerings were moving sidewards, or (gasp) backward…?
When our growth isn’t more/better/bigger… it’s easy to feel like we’re doing something wrong or failing.
Many entrepreneurs I’ve worked with (& I’ve totally done it myself) worry this non-linear growth isn’t good enough.
In the masculine economy, the only growth that’s celebrated is linear growth.
But life isn’t all summer & expansion.
What about the winter & contraction?
If we only expect the sun to be RISING in business we’re going to fry ourselves to a crisp.
This kind of linear-constant-growth, when applied to our human body, is called malignancy or cancer. It’s not natural.
Why would we want our businesses to model this diseased system of malignant constant linear growth?
In my business, I know there are cycles of growth (summer) and decay (winter). There are times we’re ready to expand & grow, and there are times to pull back, prune & cut away.
As I write this we’re currently coming out of a phase of summer. We’ve recently launched a program & as a team we’re moving into autumn phase, ready for rest & short winter spell.
Honoring these cycles is the path of the feminine economy.
In my business, these periods of pulling back & letting aspects of the business die away have been critical for our subtle course corrections over the past 8+ years.
Without the willingness to destroy we have no new energy to create.
You’re not a failure if your business isn’t always moving forward.
Perhaps you’re just riding the cycles of growth that naturally ebb & flow – like the seasons
2# What Vision Do You Hold For Your Business?
I’ve got this idea of what our company could be. It’s big, bold, and stretches my ability to conceive how we would actually get there.
Q: What’s your vision for your work?
When we consider our vision, most of us think about one of 3 things:
- How much money you want to make
- How many people you want to serve
- How big your platform & reach will be
Q: If you’ve considered your vision, which of the above 3 is most prominent for you?
Interestingly, we’ll note that none of these options considers the primary feminine fuel – FEELING.
In a feminine economy, business is governed just as much by how you desire it to FEEL – as what you desire it to earn, reach or serve.
Recently I was chatting with our Operational Manager Joane who sent me this message…
It made my heart burst. For the energy that I so personally value (ease) to have infiltrated our business operations & team so deeply.
Our business prioritizes feeling first, trusting that when we attuned to how our hearts & bodies desire to feel the results will flow.
Consistent calibration to this unconventional vision of success is required across how you manage your money, create & deliver your offerings and sell your work to the world.
The problem most entrepreneurs have is that they identify the feeling, yet fail to follow through in the details.
The day-to-day doing becomes fuelled by what “should” be getting done, the stress of being productive & busy and the need to “follow the formula” or “strategy” of success.
Yet calibration to your feeling as success works. As a company we have over 6 months of business expenses & wages in the bank – all put there by holding the vision of ease over & above the goals of profit or reach.
#3 What is the Source of Your Business?
For many creatives & entrepreneurs, your business & work can feel like IT IS YOU.
YOU put out into the world in all your raw, vulnerable, exposed, imperfect glory. It’s risky to expose yourself in that way.
When I first started writing & expressing with more personal vulnerability (as a tool for teaching) I remember feeling 2 things…
- Sweet freedom to express authentically at last!!
- Worried about what people would think & how they would respond.
When WE are the SOURCE of our BUSINESS it feels like…
- The (natural) ups & downs of the business are YOUR personal ups & downs.
- The success & failure is YOUR personal success & failure.
- The criticism or judgments are YOUR personal criticisms or judgments.
This is not sustainable.
We live in an age that promises…
the harder you work = the greater your success.
What this system is subtle saying is…
the more of your life force energy you invest in something = the greater your rewards
This is a recipe for burnout.
Your business & work doesn’t want you to bleed or burn for it. It wants to nourish you, feed you & love you.
The promise of the feminine economy is very, very different. Try this on for instance…
the more sincerely you show up in your genius & in ways that feel good = the greater your rewards
But that requires you (& your ego) to get out of the driver’s seat.
It’s a mark of maturity when a business owner realizes their business is not about them. Rather they are just one contributor to this entity which has its own spirit, it’s own destiny & its own soul.
This realization came for me as I began to hire our first team. Letting more of the doing & operations be handed over to free up my time for creation & coaching. The idea that someone else could do the job as well (or better!!!) than me was foreign. The idea that someone could care for our clients as deeply as I did was utterly foreign.
But the business isn’t me. I’m just one contributor to it.
The energetic implications of this principle are wide & complex. We examine them, in detail, in the Expect Ease: The 6 Principles of Feminine Leadership for Entrepreneurs Workshop for women who want to grow their work in new intuitive & easeful paradigms – you can learn more & RSVP for the free workshop here.
#4 Is Your Business Perpetuating Oppression?
It’s common for entrepreneurs to seek offshore help, particularly during the startup 1-5 years in business, we certainly did.
In a masculine economy which values capitalism (the pursuit of profit) above all, of course, you would look to minimize contractor wages with hiring cheaper offshore labor.
But does that practice support the type of business women you desire to be?
The deeper I dived into examining the impact of privilege & oppression in my life & leadership the more I questioned how I was voting (& oppressing) with my dollar.
Personally, I desire to dismantle oppressive practices. That includes examining the harm my business causes to different groups & identities, directly & indirectly, intentionally & unintentionally. It’s an ongoing multi-faceted practice.
But one of the key changes has been to the pay rates of our offshore worker(s).
A feminine economy doesn’t rest on the oppression of anyone.
It’s not my intention to make anyone feel bad for employing offshore workers. Rather this is just one example of how the masculine economy principles of capitalism unchecked can lead to oppressive practices becoming the norm.
#5 Intuition & Logic
Logic is the process of making a linear decision based on facts.
Intuition is the process of making a non-linear decision based on feelings.
I use both in my business.
Operating in fluid, feeling, feminine economies doesn’t mean we have to abolish all masculine traits in our business. If we do we’ll be just following our intuition all day long, confusing ourselves and never moving forward.
Sometimes too-much-feminine can keep our ideas swirling, chaotic & perpetually without form. This can be a problem.
Just as much as too-much-doing to the point it becomes dry & devoid of feeling.
Yin & Yang.
Light & dark.
Day & night.
Masculine & feminine.
Intuition & logic.
All are needed.
For me, I believe the play of intuition & logic is best when done in exactly that order. I personally use an Embodied To-Do List (you can download a free copy here). It’s a simple (& life-saving) tool that helps me to tap into the energy & creativity of my day first, before stepping into the doing.
#6 Competition or Collaboration?
In a masculine economy everyone ‘else’ is competition.
In the feminine economy everyone ‘else’ is collaboration.
I remember when we first started training coaches in the model of Feminine Embodiment Coaching. My mother said,
“but if you teach them to do what you do, won’t you lose all your clients?”.
A reasonable question to ask if everyone ‘else’ is your competition. But our students & graduates are not our competition. They are our peers, our collaborators & there is MORE than enough for all.
Competition can sneak up in subtle ways:
- Feeling like other people are “doing a better job”
- Seeing others blogs or expressions & fearing “it’s all already been said” and “there is nothing original for me to contribute”
- Not wanting to talk about our successes or failures
Any faint or subtle thread of competition is an invitation for us to re-define our uniqueness.
Mother Nature doesn’t create two flowers alike.
While they might be in the same garden.
Or one has the same shape & color.
They are utterly unique.
Occupying a never-to-be-repeated space & flavor in the world.
The same is true of your work.
Dismantling competition begins with acknowledging that you’re not standing where anyone else is. And no one is standing where you are.
It’s your responsibility to go all the way & find the subtle nuances, distinctions & genius that makes your work utterly unique & beautiful. This is an ongoing exploration that will lift your work higher & take it deeper.
These are a few key principles of the feminine economy that I weave into my leadership & entrepreneurship.
If you’re an entrepreneur & you’re interested in cultivating the doing less, achieving more in your business check out the free Expect Ease: The 6 Principles of Feminine Leadership for Entrepreneurs here www.jennaward.co/ease