Developing an understanding of Gender Physics and putting it to use is a journey not unlike the heroic quests of ancient mythology.
Heroes - They're Just Like Us
Each of those heroes were just like us- they started as an ordinary person who answered the call of greatness. In mythology, it may have been to help save people in danger or to rescue an important artifact. In our case, it may be going away to school or starting a new job. But it goes without saying that we are all called at some point to step outside our comfort zone and grow.
Our mythical heroes first had to be aware enough to hear the call. Then they needed the assistance of others (such as a traveling partner and mentor). And finally, they had to become autonomous and go at it alone. That’s how they developed a deep inner-core of resilience.
Heroes are made from people who went for it, and were willing to mentor others on their journeys, carrying on their winning legacy.
Follow the Ancient Wisdom
Their process is ours as well. If we are going to find the Golden Fleece or Holy Grail, we have to follow that ancient wisdom and develop our awareness, assistance and autonomy. We need to become aware of our individual energy and figure out when it’s advantageous to cross from the energy of our dominant gender into the other. We need the assistance of a mentor to garner that wisdom, while at the same time not expecting them to do it for us. We need to autonomously push through, gaining the strength that only self-reliance brings.
By following the mythical journey we’ll naturally step from one energy to another using both masculine and feminine energy to reach our goal. And here, dear readers, is how it works:
Awareness means that you are actively paying attention to what energizes you and what has meaning for you. That comes from the feminine energy of the heart. Like the hero’s call found in ancient mythology, I believe that you will hear the call if you are aware and open to hearing it. Those who work at something that they find meaningful are able to step outside time and space to find internal reserves they didn’t know they had. ‘Meaning’ is what gets us out of bed in the morning and propels us forward.
Each time we check in with ourselves we need to measure if people, activities and situations to measure if they are giving us energy, or taking it away.
We should be do more of the things that energize us and get rid of the rest. I’m willing to bet that the things that give you energy are the things that are meaningful to you.
Managing your energy is just like the 80/20 rule of business that says 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. If you’re doing what you are meant to do – the things that give you joy and energy – you’ll get an 80% return from 20% of the effort and you will avoid burnout.
When you accept what energizes you (and gives you meaning) you’ll find a certain confidence in knowing who you are living as your authentic self everyday. Others will sense that authenticity and will want to be around you because no one likes a phony. That charisma will motivate them to help you reach your goals and their assistance will be important, and necessary, on your journey.
Assistance comes from others because they feel a sense of connection with you. Women especially benefit from the assistance of others in order to progress in a male-dominated system. So we need to develop mentors to provide advice, sponsors to promote their strengths, and a support system of friends to call upon when the going gets tough.
Every hero in ancient mythology had a mentor just like in Luke Skywalker had Obe Wan Kenobe in Star Wars, Harry Potter had Professor Dumbledore, Frodo had Gandolph in The Lord of the Rings, and Dorothy had Glinda the good witch in The Wizard of Oz. Women can learn from their example.
In the workplace, we women are often outsiders and in the minority, so we need people to open doors for us, share information with us and include us in meetings. A mentor can do that.
Additionally, women face the “no win” situation when society expects leaders to tout their attributes; but frowns upon a woman who does. In turn, women need endorsement by those in positions of power to ensure that we are recognized and rewarded.
Your network is basically a friendship group. Make friends by getting to know others personally. I like to ask people what they do in their spare time – their passions can be a real point of bonding. Then share what has meaning for you and you’ll connect on a soul level. Once you have bonded, do something for them without asking for anything in return – as working for others will build your relationship.
If you follow this pattern, you’ll first use your feminine energy to connect on a soul level but then use your masculine energy to turn that relationship into assistance. Like the heroes of ancient mythology, these people will help you cross the threshold for you to autonomously develop your inner core and become a true hero.
Autonomy comes from pushing through once you accept an opportunity and take a risk. Every mythical hero had to learn to frame the world positively by sticking to their mission, even when the days looked the darkest. They built self-reliance as they went.
To build resilience, women have to put bad experiences behind them and not dwell in negativity when things don’t go as well as planned. If one of your projects has problems, consider it temporary, make a plan to execute differently next time and do something you enjoy to restore your energy.
Women also need to speak up on their own behalf and make their voices heard. To be recognized and rewarded, you have to talk about your expertise, which takes masculine energy to differentiate yourself.
Remember that your skill benefits the group and it is to your benefit to remind everyone that you add value. Women too often sit in their feminine energy, politely listening.
Women also have to access their masculine energy to be courageous enough to take risks. Those that sit in the safe zone can’t take advantage of opportunities. In my experience, women are naturally more risk averse, often needing the encouragement of a mentor to step forward and stand fully into their power. But the results can be worth it - like the old saying goes, “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.
Christine Osekoski, publisher of media brand Fast Company, was quoted in Little Pink Book saying that the best advice she ever received was, “Keep learning not to be careful.” She credits her mentor, a big person in the publishing world, to encourage her to step out on the ledge. He advised, but she did it herself and that’s autonomy.
Doing It For Ourselves
Gleaning the experience of a mentor is important, but a mentor never finishes the journey with you. Each of us will be tested and we must prove that we are able to do it for ourselves. It is no different that when Luke Skywalker was facing the large, dark form of Darth Vader and dropped his light saber. He had no one to depend upon but himself. And it was that experience that transformed him from an ordinary boy into a hero.
Appreciation is how we feel when we have successfully completed our journey. In ancient mythology the hero comes home from the quest to a celebration where they share their stories. We too, are ready to share our experiences and that’s when a protégé becomes a mentor. It happens now and it happened then. Luke Skywalker’s mentor was Obe Wan Kenobe but before that Yoda was Obe Wan Kenobe’s mentor. It is the cycle that keeps on giving. And with the awareness and experience of Gender Physics we are ready to take on another challenge and begin a new journey.