The next step for empowered women

In the years I’ve spent building a body of work around the topic of visibility, it’s become obvious to me that the journey of visibility is the journey of embodying personal power.

Because of this, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the link between communication and marketing approaches, and the embodiment of personal power.

Here’s a non-exhaustive, and not necessarily linear, grouping of some of the stages I see in relation to being visible as you build your business:

  • A fear of speaking about your business
  • A feeling of sickness in the pit of your stomach when people ask you what you do
  • Learning, learning, learning about different business and marketing approaches trying to work out what fits and what doesn’t
  • Attempts at marketing, launching etc in ways that don’t really fit your way of doing things
  • A realisation; ‘Oh, perhaps I can do it my own way!’
  • A settling into ‘your thing’ – what you’re here to share in the way you’re here to share it
  • Playing with different ways to communicate, share, express your thing
  • Sharing what you’re learning as you do
  • Embodying that new way.

From an empowerment perspective what really interests me is how the good girl archetype seems to show up at every stage except the last.

For a long time, I would have said the good girl dropped off much earlier in the process, but the more I reflect on it, the more I think she’s still hanging around in one form or another until almost the last.

Here’s how I see her involvement; initially she isn’t sure whether she should even be in the room. Then she gets busy being the good student. Then she starts to rebel against that because what she’s learning doesn’t work for her. Then she starts to realise that perhaps she can use her voice to influence change.

And that – the phase of realising you can use your voice to influence change – is a critical moment in the process of empowerment. It’s the one we focus on a lot at the School of Visibility because I know it’s the gateway to really stepping into your power.

But it’s not the end of the journey.

Often the good girl is still there, pushing against what is. She’s not yet embodied in something new. She’s embodying glimpses of it, while still finding a way to voice her concern about what already is.

And if you look closely, you might just find that she’s doing that because she’s not really sure of her own legitimacy in the space.

On some level, she still feels she has to justify her place or her perspective.

Of course that’s natural when you’ve grown up in a world where the systems created didn’t accommodate you.

Let’s just not get stuck there.

There comes a point where moving against (even subtly) is less about empowerment and more about the entrenchment of identity. It becomes a signifier that you haven’t yet become the change (see stage 3 in for more on that).

When you embody the change that you’re here to create in the world, you’re not pushing against anything or anyone. You’re in an entirely new world of creation. The direction of your energy and your attention is towards. Towards what you’re creating.

  • You don’t have to prove the worth of your approach (or yourself) anymore.
  • You’re not questioning yourself anymore.
  • You’re not trying to justify your ideas.
  • You don’t need to sell yourself or work to get people to love you.

Rather, you’re showing up as you are. You’re thinking about the needs of your community (rather than about how your community might perceive you).

You don’t have any particular story about marketing other than seeing it as a mechanism for communication with your community about what you’re here to offer the world.

Your attention has stopped being directed toward self-expression and has become about service; being of service to your community.

I’d love to see more women step into this space in their businesses and lives.

No doubt pushing against what is, is an important stage in the process of evolution. (The caterpillar needs the cocoon to become the butterfly and all that.)

But what if you could step beyond that now?

What if you could claim the new space and live and work from there, irrespective of what others are doing?

If we can do that first within our own businesses and in our own marketing, then we can do that in society as a whole. And that, my friend, is a wildly important step in the creation of the new world that’s slowly unfolding before us.

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