I had to give myself yet another talking to recently on the value of ‘softening’.
Working along side a lot of men in the fitness industry, I can get lost in a vortex of ‘doing’, ‘striving and ‘over achieving.’ Sound familiar?
I spend so much time hustling that the very heart of why I’m doing what I’m doing, to care for people, is sometimes completely buried.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s certainly times hustle can be a good thing. If you’re looking to build momentum on an idea or theme, it’s profoundly important. However, when the hustle completely takes over a situation, that’s where adrenal fatigue for women sets in, menstrual cycles stop and we find ourselves taking on the role of the men around us because we want to ‘keep up’. We harden.
Here’s the thing though – we’re women and we’re meant to be soft. I absolutely believe that organisations need the feminine just as much as the masculine and if women leading businesses lose that aspect of themselves, the business suffers.
I remember being at a Lululemon Ambassador conference in Whistler a few years back and one of the senior members of staff who had been employed to coach managers was querying why founder, Chip Wilson, had actually hired her. His response was, ‘To be a woman for this company.’
Wilson understood this concept, as do many men in business. If only we women could understand and own it also.
So recently I’d found myself over exerting, forcing, chasing goals, making promises to myself and others that are way too hard to maintain – all in the aid of perfection and chasing this illusion of ‘success’.
When it gets to the point where it’s all hard and all hustle and the energy of ‘doing’, that’s when I need to remind myself of what success truly is to me.
It’s a sense of fulfillment in giving back and ‘contribution’. It’s knowing that in some way I’ve made a difference to the people around me – either by leading a clear and effective yoga class in which students leave feeling grounded or taking one of my team members for a catch up over a tea. It’s also knowing that I’ve acted according to my own set of values and beliefs.
This sense of success is different for everyone.
Here are my top tips for softening and leading with ‘heart’:
1. KNOW YOUR VALUES
Write out, get clear on, or remind yourself of what you value. Perhaps it’s health, recognition, excellence, joy, passion, knowledge or leadership. Write them down and put them somewhere you’ll see them daily. They simply act as a road map for everything including what you eat, your choice of words and daily activities.
2. NURTURING RITUALS
Block out an hour at the start of your day for rituals that help you soften. It might be seated meditation, breathing exercises, yoga or a gentle walk. Note this is different to your usual sweat or strength session – which is still important to maintain bus separate from your ‘nurturing ritual’. Now this may seem scary and you may instantly react by going into scarcity mode by saying there’s not enough time. Let me tell you from my own experience, when you hit this mode – that’s when you need the morning ritual the most.
3. ADORN YOURSELF
Adorn yourself with things that make you feel soft and feminine. It’s all about softening yourself so that the energy you put out is the same.
4. MAKE A DATE WITH NATURE
Get out into nature once a week. Swim in the ocean, go for a bush walk or simply lie in a park under a tree. It does wonders for the nervous system and your cortisol levels.
5. GO SLOW
Slow everything down; the way you eat, talk, play, make love and work. This doesn’t have to be permanently, just until you find you softness again. When we slow down we allow ‘ourselves’ to catch up and we remember what’s important to us. Slow shifts everything.