Written by: Stacy Kehren Idema, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Why do women run from their power?
Yes, this is a real question.
It happens every day, all day, all over the world. Women run from their power and blame other women and men.
Running from your power may sound like a ‘we’ in an ‘I’ achievement. It also looks like perfectionism. You will celebrate your achievements when you finally get the end outcome right. In the meantime, you burn the candle at both ends because you don’t define ‘right’ and feel you have to keep going until it is, right.
These are the same high-achieving woman who complains that she never receives the accolades for which she generously gave to someone else.
Conversely, when women finally own their power, sideways comments and inappropriate names ooze from conversations. Words such as: cocky, bossy and bitchy are common.
Other opinions prevail by our male counterparts, including the statement, ‘Women are men. Many men believe that because she is in a position of power, she has to act and be like them to get to where she is today, so she is one of them.
Why would a woman want to fight her way to that position of power to be a man? Being a woman is a lot of work. There is no reason for us to take on being a second gender.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a lover of men and women. I’m a lover of people regardless of their sex, gender preferences or sexual identity.
What you have read thus far is from my own personal experience, business experience, coaching my clients and befriending amazing women around the globe who openly share similar stories of shame, fear and the desire to own their power.
Yes, I have been called all the names mentioned above, and worse. I was even reprimanded for being unapproachable by the same man who publicly humiliated me in a conference room with 40 peers and colleagues. That was the third time he publicly humiliated me for doing my job and protecting the company.
I was afraid. Women are afraid.
You fear failure, disappointing others, getting fired, losing out on something and all the things that would have an outcome that looked like you were not in integrity of providing for yourself, your family, and your future.
It’s confusing. One minute you’re told to stand up for yourself when you’ve got something important to say. The next minute; you’re told to stand down, take a back seat and wait it out.
There is a time and place for everything. But, that is a lot of energy to start and stop and restart and stop again.
An experience I've learned to love because of its teaching, was the day I spoke up about my colleagues' shady sales practices. They were financially and emotionally irresponsible and impacting an 8-figure program for which I was leading.
I stood my ground and asked for more information to understand what he committed to a non-committed, non-paying client. He screamed at me, calling me ‘crazy’ while jumping up and down like a toddler in a 10 square foot conference room in front of our department VP.
Yes, this really happened. It is a head-scratcher.
Real-life situations can be powerful anti-power tactics by those afraid of your power, if you allow.
My lesson. He was afraid of me and I didn’t know it. I had the attention and trust of our leader. I minimized my impact. I cowered and said nothing of his emotional abuse.
He was promoted a couple of months later.
Women internalize events that happen through them and assume responsibility for others' reactions. Which is another reason women run from their power.
Power is perception. A belief system. A limiting belief system.
There is enough power to go around.
Plenty to receive and give.
Women in their power don’t take from anyone, they only enhance the experience in business and life.
I could rattle on about the well-known statistics of gender diversity and the power to the greater good when more women are at the table. But it’s hard to go on and on about men, when women are often each other’s own worst enemy.
Women assume there is only one position of power, strap on all the linear masculine energy and go to the ends of the earth to bring another fellow woman down.
That’s a lot of energy for which to hurt someone else and yet, it happens all the time. I know I’ve been privy to the experience. It’s likely I’ve done it. I am excited for the day we can do all of this better together.
Women also run from their power because they are afraid of it. The feeling of power is unchartered territory. It doesn’t fit in their repertoire of self-sabotage and shame.
When you embrace the bold, creative, fierce, nurturing and inclusive being, you are met with an untapped, unknown, underrated, underexplored and underutilized power.
The impact to business and life is in the billions.
I know this because I’m one woman with two young adult children and it cost me millions in the lifetime value of lost promotions, raises, and rapid business growth. Not to mention the thousands of hours of emotional pain and burden which is an expense to the bottom line revenue of my home and business.
Enough stories and statistics.
Let’s talk about how to step into your power and use that energy for something beautiful and impactful.
Your comfort zone is not a good benchmark for something new.
Which means, this journey will feel uncomfortable and you may even feel less than whole for a moment. I’m confident that with patience and practice, you will become a natural.
Let’s get started.
1. Identify one outcome you would like to achieve that requires you to step into your power, speak up for yourself, do something out of the ordinary.
Ideas include: outsource parts of your business, raise money for your business growth, delegate, say Yes to exercise 4 days a week, something. Choose something for you.
2. Create an allyship. Women focus on relationships. Relationships are nurturing and giving. Allyships unite and combine resources for something bigger. This person is also someone with whom you can be accountable.
Man, woman, friend, acquaintance. Ask around. Talk to a former mentor and ask if you know of someone who would want to be an ally. This is a quid pro quo situation, not an ‘I want to make sure you are ok and I’m not going to ask for anything’ situation.
3. Communicate what you want. Ask for help. Put yourself in a position to be curious ‒ even if you don't know what you need. If their gift doesn’t make sense, speak up. Most often someone will give you what they know you need, not what you believe you need.
Women consider asking for help, a weakness. They believe multi-tasking is the way and checking boxes will move the needle. They either go all in with the big stuff until they burn out or they avoid the hard stuff because they fear getting it wrong. Yes, perfectionism is fear of getting it wrong, not fear of getting it right.
Start small. Use a friend, colleague or even your family for which to do the practice. If you are at your wits end and you want to compress time, hire a coach.
I do know this, when you practice, you better understand.
And if you decide you want to do this work with a coach, let’s talk. Using SPEAK®,
I help women be in their Strengths and values, live in their Purpose, practice
Empathy of self and with others, take bold Action and use their Knowledge for their power.
The truth is, no one will stand in your way more than you. When you don’t own your power, no one else does. Do you blame them? I hope not. If you do, you’re playing small, victim and nothing will change until you make the change for yourself.
You miss the ones eagerly waiting to join you in your power.
Stacy Kehren Idema, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Stacy Kehren Idema is a whole human business coach and mental wellness advocate. She has more than 40 years of business experience and has seen and experienced business from the inside out. As the daughter of two small business owners, the former spouse of a generational business owner, 26 years as a corporate leader, and 8 years of coaching – the most common themes and stressors she sees are: the fear of not being enough, doing enough, having enough time and/or money for business and family.
As the Founder and CEO of Stacy Idema Coaching, she uses a bespoke methodology called SPEAK®. Her coaching style is strengths and outcome-based with a whole human approach because she believes business is always personal.
Stacy works with women-owned, led, and co-founded businesses that are focused on business growth of $1M-$50M. She promotes and challenges women to self-empower and holds themselves to a higher standard of building their confidence and stepping into their power. She believes when women do better for themselves, they emulate how they want to be treated. Conversely, she challenges the male counterpart to be part of the solution by challenging outdated gender norms and business practices in support of better together.
In her spare time, Stacy enjoys travel, a good book, food, wine, pilates, sunsets, and water. She is a proud mom to two young adult men.