What Women Intuitively Know About Success
Discernment — the other secret to success.
Did you know that women have an innate wisdom about the kind of success this world we needs so much more of? While our world, and its patriarchal systems and structures might not fully appreciate and honor who and who we are, we can begin with first, appreciating it for ourselves.
What women learn to do from early on
All the women I know, have been encouraged to nurture a range of “agendas”. How or why we’ve learned this isn’t the focus of this email, rather, it’s that we have.
In observing women, whether they have a partner or otherwise, have children or pets or live on their own, are formally employed or are active in the community or running a household they know how to value and care for a number of agendas.
These are just some of the agendas I’ve observed they care about: (and go ahead and notice just how many of these you hold yourself)
- Tending to the daily needs of growing humans; their children, nieces, nephews, kids they teach or are caring for the community;
- Add to the above, care of fur babies!
- Offering care to aging parents or family members walking an end of life journey;
- Supporting family member or friends with health challenges (seen and unseen) or ones going through a difficult chapter in life;
- Working in ways to earn money to meet the practical needs of their loved ones;
- Expending effort for creativity or impact or to live out values or for a host of other intrinsic or extrinsic rewards;
- Engaged in their communities and the broader local and global collective — in our kids schools, contributing to causes close to their heart, volunteering in a range of capacities…
- Personal goals to achieve, contribute and effect impact.
How many of these did you say “yes, me too”? And what would you add to your list?
This is certainly not exhaustive. I’ve written this out to help you see that you probably care about more than just a “career” or your own kids.
I see that you care about a lot. In both quality and quantity.
Note: I am not implying men don’t care about many things. The intention is to shine light on the fact that women have a full spectrum of caring.
Why it’s amazing we care about so much
Every single on of us knows we live in a world that is in hard times — locally and globally it’s everywhere.
Personally, I have a long list of issues that matter to me. And it feels burdensome. I wonder if you do too. Whether it’s wars raging around the world, women’s rights, our Indigenous communities, the environment, mental health, there is much suffering in our world now. I’ve only just scratched the surface…
And while the experience of suffering, pain, feeling burdened or helplessness or futility, or burnout from doing too much is really hard, I do believe our capacities as women to care about a lot is exactly what our world needs right now.
We can’t afford to not care.
So, what’s the problem?
What’s clear is that our way of success, one that values a range of agendas is NOT the problem.
The problem is a world with cultural messaging about a certain “vanilla flavor of success”. It is constantly emphasizing some agendas (power, status, fame, wealth, accomplishment) over others.
These agendas are good and right in their own way. Power can be yielded for good. There are many famous people who are entrenched in urgent agendas.
But telling us to prioritize our list and to force rank the issues isn’t a helpful way.
Picking, choosing, and then prioritizing by it’s nature, suggests some issues are most important and some are less.
This approach perpetuates an endless cycle of pitting agendas off of one another, and by extension neglecting issues that are also important.
It means some agendas win, some lose.
There are lots of agendas that matter right now — and it’s not clear one is more important than the other.
Our world is endlessly grey…
The impact of this problem.
This way of prioritizing and saying one thing matters more than another has a range of impacts for us as women:
- Given we naturally hold a range of agendas (see the list above) we often feel we have to choose others over ourselves or leave out attending to things that matter to us. If we do get to the rest of the list we’re often tired or burnt out and short on time.
- As a result, we may live with a constant sense of dis-ease because we’re never fully attending to what matters to us, or are feeling guilty or responsible or resentful for our way that thinks of some many others
- We continue to live in a world that tells us our way of caring isn’t right or to choose, choose, choose.
- And so we’ve learned how to prioritize and force rank what matters but that’s the extent of our skills.
As a result, we’re neglecting a key skill.
Instead of continuing to prioritize one thing over the other, of force rank or over-attend to one thing and neglect another, we need a different way.
A new way forward
If life feels messy, like you’re holding and caring for all the things — maybe that’s just right — you’re life is nuanced and full of shades of grey.
If you desperately want to attend to your own care but feel guilty and overly responsible, I get it.
If life feels challenging, void of joy, crammed full and lacking spaciousness or any amount of ease, I see you.
And if your heart feels pulled in all the directions and like it’s hurting, I honor your way of caring.
If you feel exhausted holding it all, you’re right, it’s heavy. Very heavy.
What I truly believe our world needs now, and that women already know so much about, are capacities to hold more as important, and the wisdom and discernment to do so.
Let’s shift from a world who is constantly using either/or and this or that agenda to a world that says — all these agendas matter — and let’s learn how to tackle these things together, and discern — with lots of wisdom and compassion — what needs care now.
We can learn to discern.
We can learn to include our own needs in this mix, without guilt and with more joy and ease.
We can and must bring our way of caring into this big world.
And while this new way isn’t fully formed, imagine that when we live this new way together, where we share the burdens and no one is left behind, that it will be a great day.
Thank you for being the big hearted, incredible woman you are.
In service of you, and the success you’re calling forth!
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