Throughout the month of January, I’ve been discussing the concept of power across all my social media platforms. Why? I chose power as the theme of the month for January because I want the mompreneurs in my community to stop giving their power away, to know what real power is, and to learn how to be more powerful in their lives.
Believing in one’s own power determines things like happiness and success–two things I’m committed to in my own life. I know I’m powerful enough to achieve both. And I’m committed to helping the mom entrepreneurs I coach do the same.
But there are some hurdles in the way. We have all sorts of mindsets and beliefs that limit our power. There are positive and negative connotations of power, and the negative ones can sometimes cause us to give away our power. This quote from Margaret Thatcher on leadership is one of my favorites, but it can be co-opted by a woman who is fearful of being a leader or being powerful:
“Being a leader is like being a lady. If you have to go around telling people you are one, you aren’t.”
Is it impolite to declare you’re powerful? Does believing you are powerful make you arrogant, and then less powerful? Are you only powerful if someone else tells you that you are? How does power look on a woman? Do women wield power differently than men? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.
Power is a very subjective term, full of positive and negative connotations. What’s more, being powerful means different things when applied to men vs. women.
Here are some of the takeaways from our conversation today:
Women often have trouble accepting our strengths, our power and our success. Instead, we tend to downplay them.
Women (and especially mompreneurs) define terms like “power” and “success” differently than their male counterparts, AND those definitions are likely to change over time (for instance: when we start a family).
Some definitions of a “powerful woman” include: the ability and commitment to help others, being responsible for our choices, owning our happiness, and a woman who is vulnerable and inspiring.
The first step to empowering ourselves is self-acceptance.
There were some great comments from the listeners and mompreneurs joining in the discussion on Twitter and Facebook. I’d love to hear your definition of power and how you feel about being a powerful woman.
Want to listen for yourself? No problem. You can listen here or download it to your mp3 player to take with you!
I have had many conversations about the definition of success over the last four years since I became a life coach. At the risk of making a sexist generalization, I truly believe that women, especially moms, define success differently from men.
My definition of success completely changed once I became a mother. Prior to that, I defined success like this:
by working hard
making a lot of money
travelling constantly for business and pleasure
being able to make purchases simply because I wanted them, when I wanted them
having a nice car
owning a nice house
dating and then eventually marrying a super guy
the completion/delivery of a big project
being “needed” by my coworkers and clients
receiving rewards, promotions and acknowledgement from my coworkers, bosses and clients that I was doing a fantastic job
Now that I’m a mom, that list looks a lot different. It took me a long time to realize that my old definition of success simply didn’t work when I applied it to my new role of mother (and later to my role as mom entrepreneur). I was frustrated, sad, angry and resentful because I no longer received constant praise and acknowledgement for “my work” (mothering my three children). My Mondays looked just like my Sundays, and there wasn’t any way for me to judge my “progress” as a mother, other than how far I’d managed to get through the mountain of dirty laundry. And I certainly didn’t make any money at this new “job” as a mom–in fact, I felt a huge loss of power when I no longer earned an income myself, something I had done consistently since I was 12 years old.
With the help of my husband and my life coach, I learned that the definition I was using to measure my success (and to feel satisfied with the life I was creating) fit me about as well as a size five shoe (I wear a 10). I learned how to redefine success on my own terms by starting with a clear understanding of my core values and priorities.
Here’s how I now define success for myself:
I am healthy and take care of myself.
I am a mother of three well-adjusted, confident, friendly and compassionate children (well, almost–the two-year-old is working on the compassionate part when she’s not stealing her brothers’ favorite toys and beating them over the head with them).
I am a wife who is committed to her husband and a strong, satsifying marriage.
I am loved and supported by my extended family and many dear friends.
I do work that fuels my passion and totally satisfies my creativity, ambition, and natural talents.
My work makes a difference in the lives of others.
My clients inspire me.
I recognize that I have choices, and that it’s up to me to make life happen the way I want it to.
I just interviewed Nicola Ries Taggart, The Executive Moms Coach and founder of True Insights Coaching on Tuesday as part of my WoMEN: What Mom Entrepreneurs Need teleseminar series about the need for mom entrepreneurs to redefine success for themselves. We discussed this topic in detail. You can listen to the call by clicking here.
Looking for some inspiration? Check out this list by Michael Dunlop of incomediary.com.
Women more so than men I find do not measure success by money alone but by a lot of things such as happiness, love, friendships, family and the list goes on.Â So in recognition of the great numbers of female entrepreneurs out there and in particular those who are active online I have decided not to rank the 30 women listed below by wealth alone but simplyÂ as my list of the â€œ30 Top Female Internet Entrepreneursâ€.
Gina Trapani is a technology blogger, book author, and programmer. The founding editor of Lifehacker.com, a daily weblog on software and personal productivity, Gina authored a book based on the web site which is in its second edition: Upgrade Your Life: The Lifehacker Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, Better!
Kim Karin Polese is CEO of SpikeSource, and was one of the most prominent Silicon Valley executives during the dot-com era. In 1997, she made Time Magazineâ€™s list of â€œThe 25 Most Influential Americansâ€.
Xeni is the editor of one of the top 5 blogs in the world, Boing Boing.
So how do you define success for yourself? Have you outgrown your old definition? Did your definition change once you became a mom? If so, how? Please leave a comment below, and share this on twitter and facebook with your friends who might be trying to figure this out for themselves.