This month marks International Women’s Month where we celebrate the accomplishments of women and inspire women to be their best. This past weekend I had the privilege of speaking at an Empowered Women’s Seminar where we all shared our expertise and encouragement. It was very satisfying and exciting. However, one thing that stood out to me was the topic of safety. As many of the women in the group were business women who consult and sometimes travel to different locations for work, the issue of keeping yourself safe on the job came up. It struck me in that moment once again, how different men and women really are. I somewhat doubt an issue of personal safety would have been at the forefront of a business seminar for men. For women, however, no matter how successful you are, it is still a real concern. When I came home I mentioned that part of the seminar to my husband and he said, “That’s something I don’t usually think about.” Of course not, it’s just not something men think about as much.
Have you ever heard or seen the slogan “Think like a man, act like a woman?” I have always been slightly uncomfortable with that slogan, but it wasn’t until I heard my husband’s response that I figured out why. As women, we are NOT men. We are not female versions of men. We are women, completely different beasts. We do not have the same issues, the same bodies, the same minds, or exactly the same drives. Sure we share some things, but there are many, many things we don’t share. I love men and I don’t think women are better than men. On the contrary, I think it’s important to honor and leverage what makes each of us unique. Therefore, it is not my goal to think like a man, but rather to think like an intelligent woman. A man doesn’t worry so much about personal safety, however, a smart woman does.
As a woman, and especially as a woman in business, the reality is you are pulled in many, many different directions. I’ve read all the research about the downside of multitasking. However, as women, in most circumstances, you are called upon to juggle more than the average man. Men, please don’t get me wrong, I think you work hard too! It’s just that our attention as women is more divided, especially if you are also mom. Not only are you managing your business, you are also managing your household and the lives of any little humans running around your abode. On any given day you could be working with clients, packing lunches, doing your accounting, and setting up playdates. Not only do we usually juggle more domestic responsibilities, we are also programmed to “take care” of other people. Which means, if someone in our life is not doing well, a child perhaps, it deeply impacts other areas of our lives. This means our emotional energy is divided too. I don’t see this as something bad, however. I would not want to “fix” it by thinking more like a man. Being empathetic in business is something that helps create the all important know-like-trust factor, which is a feminine strength!
As technology changes and advances it is giving women entrepreneurs more and more flexibility to mold the kinds of work/home life that suit our needs. We are not tethered to a desk all day, nor should we be. I would suggest we take advantage of this and create more fluidity in how we structure our work life. I think many of us feel guilty for not working 9-5. We feel like we are cheating or our work isn’t “real” if it doesn’t occur on the corporate clock or a more masculine timeline. Our lives are full of work, school, doctor’s appointments, dance lessons, and bedtimes. If we were happy with a corporate life, we would not have become entrepreneurs. I for one would not WANT to exchange those things. It is a matter of managing your time to fit your feminine life, not managing your life to think and act like a man. So stop feeling guilty or disqualifying how you work and live. Who’s the boss? YOU, the woman are in charge so start thinking and acting that way. When you do, you will succeed like a woman which will be authentically gratifying.