Historically, the world of business has been viewed as a man’s game, played by men’s rules. And throughout history, women have had to figure their way over, around, and through some of these obstacles. So, in the business of wellness and beauty—predominantly run by women entrepreneurs and consumed predominantly by women—why does it feel like we are still playing by men’s rules?
In the spirit of not engaging in a gender war, let’s rather take a look at this quandary in terms of masculine and feminine aspects of human beings. The principles of duality teach us that we all have masculine and feminine aspects to ourselves. Masculine aspects might be defined as yang energy: direct, bold, or aggressive. Male language may speak more in terms of math and logic. Feminine aspects may be defined as yin energy: subtle, nurturing, or empathetic. Female language may speak more from intuition and feeling. If we blend and balance these aspects, isn’t that a more well-rounded approach? Why are we denying our female aspects as though it were a weakness?
This year’s Green Spa Network, held at Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, Colorado, included a session on Women in Leadership—Women as Game Changers. This discussion was led by Carolyn Parrs and Tara Grodjesk. I was eager to be surrounded by amazing women willing to share their best practices. Here are some of the highlights I took away.
Own Your Voice. Many times women will contribute or offer an idea by first apologizing. Maybe it’s from a place of humility, but the set up often starts by apologizing or that it might not be the correct suggestion. One woman observed that when she spoke directly, like a man might, her advice was taken with little question. When you set it up like it might be for debate, then guess what? It’s for debate.
Step outside your conditioned response. In spirited situations, rather than meeting force with force, allow men to come into balance and harmonize and compromise. Female power is in the heart-based approach. If we know that everyone has a desire to create, connect, and prosper, then embrace your female ability to listen empathetically and work to find a mutually beneficial solution.
Market from love. When you grow your business from love, you transform yourself and the world. This has a triple bottom-line effect: people, planet, profit. This becomes especially important in a business like wellness and beauty, where consumers are primarily women. Women often make heart-based decisions, so tailor your language to your why and less on your what. Women connect with a feeling about a product or service. And a majority of women are influencers over purchasing behavior in the household. Remember who your consumer is.
Embrace female thinking. In the Industrial Age, led by men, the thinking was very much linear. Women, however, are always multitasking. Women tend to think in systems, which often helps us understand how interconnected a situation might be. Exploring how one thing affects another could very well lead to the solution.
Lead by example. Women have an opportunity to lead by uplifting others as compared to leading from a top-down approach. Having the ability to be an empathetic listener and to help people find and utilize their own strengths is a powerful tool. Celebrate this unique style and lead by uplifting others.
As the session ended, I was left with one big, yet challenging question: “If women had to the ability to change the rules of the game, what would that look like?” Now is the time to step into our power and look at the game differently. Let’s embrace female qualities rather than deny them. This is the time and place to blend and balance both sets of rules and still profit.
To learn more about Carolyn Parrs and Mind Over Markets, click here.
To learn more about Tara Grodjesk and Tara Spa Therapy, click here.
To learn more about the Green Spa Network, click here.
Read part 1 of this blog series here.
Read part 2 of this blog series here.
—Angie Parris-Raney is director of affinity relations for Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals.