Being Fiercely Feminine

Last week at a conference for Mortgage Bankers (MBA) in Denver, I saw the typical scene that I’ve known for the last 27 years in the mortgage business: a sea of men in black suits with just a few women scattered throughout the boardrooms, usually also wearing black suits to avoid sticking out more than they already do. Although having women in this industry at all is a sure sign of progress, it’s time to go further. Instead of trying to fit into the type of leadership already present, we as women can use our unique ability to collaborate and build trust in our teams, changing the way we approach problem-solving and communication.

On the day prior the conference, the MBA hosted an event for women called “mPower.” In attendance were 350 of the tenacious women in our field and even a handful of men (a reversal of the usual gender ratio). The event was sold out, demonstrating the desire to bond with and listen to each other. The time to create a world where women have equal seats is upon us. The keynote speaker Mika Brzezinski (from MSNBC Morning with Joe) shared ways to harness our own power and take risks. Her passion for supporting women learning to speak up and be seen was clearly felt in the presentation.

I would like to bring attention to how our natural tendency to fit into the status quo presents itself in how we present ourselves in business. In order to be taken more seriously, we mirror the ways men dress and speak, but if anything this only adds to the false subconscious conception that masculinity is more powerful than femininity. I myself am guilty of mimicking the masculine presentation, but I ask now: what would happen if I harnessed my own natural power as a woman and took the floor in an elegant dress and sexy red heels? We are equally powerful and fierce. The same unshakable strength that we use to protect our loved ones and support ourselves in a still male-dominated world can be taken anywhere. I’m not saying to throw all of your pantsuits in the garbage bin, but just as a suit represents masculine power, feminine clothing represents an equally strong and versatile strength.

Let’s be our amazing badass selves in every aspect of our lives. Whether in a boardroom negotiating a deal, presenting a proposal, speaking as the keynote or in our personal lives perhaps at a school function for our kids, a night on the town or hiking on the trails in Colorado, let’s show up fiercely feminine – and authentically us.

Taking the Big Leap

Ready to take a big leap of change?

I believe everyone in the world should take the BIG Leap and do something extraordinary with their lives and lean into their dreams. As an executive coach, I see this challenge occur over and over with my clients.

My niece Margo Hayes made history this year and she is now the first female in the world out of 3.5+ billion women to ever climb La Rambla a famous route in Spain rated a 5.15. For those of you not familiar with climbing- this is as hard as it gets- something you imagine Spiderman doing as he climbs up a glass building.

I wondered what was Margo’s secret that had her do something that no female had ever accomplished before and only a hand full of men? What was it that had her take that big leap both figuratively and physically? Can that secret be shared and everyone can apply it to their lives to lean into their dreams and make the ordinary extraordinary.

Is there a big leap you want to take in your life? Do you want to do something you have never done before perhaps because you went to fear? I do. In January, I was let go from my job after 26 years in mortgage finance and now is my opportunity to take a big leap and try something new. So I recently started my own executive coaching company focusing on women in the mortgage industry. Professional and personal development has been my passion for over 10 years But I will be honest with you…. I am scared to death!

When Margo decided she was going to do this climb La Ramble she didn’t think, “Can I do it?” She thought, “ How will I do it?” Think about the phrase… “ Can I….” it insinuates a bit of doubt. Asking it is possible. Whereas how do I … Instead it insinuates, “I will- and that you only need a plan. Margo decided …quote” If it was possible for them, it was possible for me”

Looking at the how there are two key elements that will get you to your dream:

The First Element: Preparation

In Margo’s case, she trained for years and spent hours of time in the gym and on the rock wall. I remember when we went on a family rafting trip and as all of the adults sat around the fire drinking wine Margo had set up a “finger” pull up bar on a tree branch and was doing sets with a 10-gallon jug of water tied to her waist. That’s is the dedication and that is what it takes. She had a map of the route on her wall and she studied it intensely – she said she went through the climb in her mind 1000 times. Visualizing the future. Now that I want to start my own company, I need to prepare. That may look like writing a business plan, setting goals, writing put action steps in place and Visualizing the future. I need to prepare

The Second Element: Persistence

The second element is persistence. Did Margo succeed on her first attempt? No, She tried 16 times and it wasn’t until the 17th try that she succeeded.

She is one of the most tenacious people I know. Unstoppable. Learning from mistakes and failure to be better the next time.  When I start my business I need to push through failure, get past rejection over and over learning each time to get closer to success.

The purpose in life for each of us…you and me … is to grow and evolve. We can each do this by taking the Big leap out of your comfort zone being prepared and persistence. Every one of us is on their own personal journey and we have a choice to take the big leap and follow our dreams and although it may sound simple – it’s not easy.