Cath Daley, Transformational Women’s Senior Leadership Coach, talks us through her concept of ‘leading like a woman’ and her story of being “Superwoman.” As Cath explains, we need more women to authentically lead as themselves, with their own energy.
Did you know that women are twice as likely as men to suffer from anxiety, 1 in 4 of us are going to be diagnosed with depression compared with 1 in 10 men and 61% of us feel like we’re not getting enough sleep?
All of which lead to an increased risk of heart disease, adrenal fatigue and burn out caused by overwhelm and stress.
And I am one of those women.
About 6 years ago I was diagnosed with coronary heart disease and had to have heart surgery. The consultant told me I had been a heart attack waiting to happen. It came as an enormous shock because I didn’t have any of the usual trigger factors. I’d never smoked, always exercised, had a healthy diet, an occasional glass of wine, no family history. I’d had a stressful job, then started up my own business and had a second business with a partner that failed but I thought I was dealing with the stress. In my head I was but physically I wasn’t.
How did this happen?
Because every morning for over 30 years I’d wake up, have a shower, brush my teeth, get dressed, put on my makeup, do my hair and then…..I’d put on my cape and turn into “Superwoman.”
The woman who can have a full time high flying career and be the superb gourmet cook and be the sex goddess in the bedroom and be the gym bunny who works out six times a week and be the brilliant mum who bakes the best cakes for every school fete and be the one who takes the best care of the family and be the one who handles everyone else’s breakdowns.
“Superwoman” pushes through. She can’t switch off or ask for help because that would be seen to be weak. She wants us to survive and the only way she knows how is to compete and fight because we want to be taken seriously as women and we don’t want to be seen as second-class citizens. We’ve modelled the men around us who have been successful because that’s the only model of leadership we have.
In her book “Thrive” Arianna Huffington says:
“It would be futile to attempt to fit women into a masculine pattern of attitudes, skills and abilities and disastrous to force them to suppress their specifically female characteristics and abilities by keeping up the pretence that there are no differences between the sexes.”
And yet that is exactly what happens. The sorts of behaviours “Superwoman” shows – the aggression, the pushing through and the focussed go-getting – come from a masculine energy that is fuelled by testosterone. And that’s great for men because they have lots of it… but as women we only have one thirteenth of the amount that men have and when that runs out we run on adrenaline and cortisol instead. And it’s exhausting!
Superwoman is ok for about 15 mins to get something done but many of us have been in her for 15 years or more. I’m grateful to her because she helped me achieve a lot and she has got us to where we are today – but at a huge cost to our health and well-being.
When I wasn’t full on in “Superwoman” I’d turn into one of her Sisters :
- Bitch – sniping at my husband and children and then feeling guilty afterwards
- Martyr – the only way to get something done properly was to do it myself and moan about it while I was doing it
- Victim – it’s not fair, why does everything happen to me?
“Superwoman” and her Sisters are examples of archetypes, patterns of thought and behaviour that we unconsciously click into. They are not good or bad, but these have little to offer in helping you to achieve your outcomes in life. They are examples of disempowering archetypes and they can have a detrimental effect on our health, our relationships and career.
But it doesn’t need to be like that.
This can be avoided and even eliminated when we learn to do things differently. When we get rid of the existing models of leadership that don’t work for us as women and instead tap into our natural strengths, talents and abilities as women and appreciate and celebrate our differences.
As Jacinda Ardern and others have shown it is possible to lead with compassion and collaboration using their feminine energy. The energy that taps into our intuition, awareness and knowledge as women to bring a new dimension to leadership – to lead in a way that is authentic, energising and extraordinary.
It’s time to retire “Superwoman” and adopt a different way of leading that is empowering rather than depleting.
It’s time to Lead Like a Woman!
Cath Daley is a highly sought after Transformational Women’s Leadership Coach, Speaker, Trainer, Mentor and Author, Cath is passionate about helping women to move from surviving to thriving to become the extraordinary leaders who can make their bigger difference in the world.
Her innovative Lead Like a WomanTM and Speak Like a WomanTM Programmes are specifically designed for women who are serious about realising their untapped potential and who want to reach a much higher level of fulfilment both personally and in their business. Her global clients, across a variety of sectors, range from Senior Leaders and CEOs, to Business Owners and Entrepreneurs.
If you feel stressed out or overwhelmed by all that you have to do because there never seems to be enough time to do it all or you can’t switch off or maybe you’re not sleeping properly… grab a free Overwhelm Rescue Plan session with Cath.