How you know you’re hitting it and how to break through
We are living in exciting times! Never in our 7,000 years of patriarchy have women had so many opportunities to lead and shape society! More women than men earn a college degree. More women than men are in the American workforce. More women than men start their own businesses.
Yet all this success comes with a high price: women’s stress-level is higher than it has ever been. Women die from maladies that previously affected mostly men, such as heart attacks. Women still earn about 78 cents for each dollar a man makes, and widowed women and single moms make up the majority of people living below the poverty line. Plus, most top executive positions in corporations and in government are in male hands.
Society’s glass ceiling – which had kept women living as second-class citizens – is shattered, yet something prevents women from living up to their full potential. What is holding women back from living their dreams?
The Neuroscience of Female LeadershipTM offers some answers. Based as it is on scientific research on how the human brain works and its capability for rewiring itself, its findings can be combined with gender studies looking into the differences between male and female hormones. Those hormones foster different brain types and, therefore, different leadership styles.
Inside the human brain are two faculties: the conscious and the subconscious mind. The conscious mind of a female executive might decide “I’m ready for a raise,” plan out her arguments, and set an appointment with her boss to discuss her salary. When the important meeting is about to start the subconscious mind, where the female ego resides, kicks in with thoughts like: “Be careful! You don’t want to come across as too demanding. That destroys your likeability as a woman” or “Don’t ask for too much! If you make more than your husband, you emasculate him and endanger your marriage” or “Who do you think you are? Remember your roots! You already make more than your parents combined. Don’t be disloyal to your family.” Thus, the perfectly prepared, brilliant woman starts to sweat, stumbles, forgets her arguments, and performs way below her usual capabilities!
What just happened?
Our brain is an outdated model around 25,000 years old. Its most important task is to keep us alive and safe. The ego is our most devoted ally looking out for our safety. It awakens each time we attempt to step out of our comfort zone. The problem is that the ego, part of our subconscious mind, gets programmed during our early childhood years. When as mature women we make conscious plans to grow and expand our sphere of impact, the ego kicks in, and we regress into little girls who perceive danger. When we were little girls, we wanted to please, we wanted to honor our parents, and we didn’t want to attract unwanted or even dangerous attention.
Every time a woman feels insecure and doubts herself, she is being dominated subconsciously by old programming, creating an inner conflict between her conscious goals and her subconscious safety programming. This “lid” on her potential is a glass ceiling between her own ears!
How to shatter this inner glass ceiling:
1. Repeat internally in stressful situations: “I’m safe,” “I can do this,” “I’m a mature woman.”
2. Work with an expert to identify the specific programming of the subconscious mind and to reprogram it with modern methods like Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP).
3. Ensure the biological foundation (sleep, nutrition, oxygen, movement, etc.) is strong through self-care – so the ego trusts that the body is safe.
When a woman’s subconscious supports her conscious goals, her brain is in alignment, and her power is unstoppable!
About Your Columnist
Sylvia Becker-Hill is a featured columnist for Women Taking Charge, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence, where she covers the topic of women’s empowerment. An award-winning executive coach on both sides of the Atlantic since 1997, she is also a published author and professional speaker. Sylvia is the founder of Über Women International Inc., a global empowerment company on a mission to turn more professional women into powerful leaders shaping the world.