People of all cultures, religions, and races should recognize that women are strong individuals who deserve the best that life offers. Unfortunately, women are often viewed as weak and unreliable to a certain degree. This idea must be debunked because the reality is that they are resilient and tough in so many ways. In this episode, Lesley Michaels shares in-depth insights on the importance of inspiring women to uplift one another and explore their powers. Gender stereotypes have a huge impact on a woman’s self-confidence. Tune in and learn how to shape the world to be a better place by recognizing women’s strength and power.
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Crossover Episode! Exploring Power With Lesley Michaels
This is a different kind of episode. This is a crossover show with me and my great friend, Lesley Michaels. She has an sensational show called Women We Should Know. If you have not listened to it yet, please check it out. Today we are combining her show and my show, The Cost of Not Paying Attention, as one.
How fun is that? Women who have been subscribing to Women We Should Know and have not checked out The Cost of Not Paying Attention yet, what are you waiting for?!
Yes! And, likewise, any of you readers out there, men, women, or otherwise, who are subscribers or readers of The Cost of Not Paying Attention, if you have not checked out Women We Should Know, get on it, people. It is an awesome show. Lesley is a great friend. She has an amazing book that is coming out called The Shoulders of Mighty Women, and I am a contributor.
Janine wrote a wonderful section on an important topic that we will touch on. You are going to want to check out what she contributed. I am so grateful to you, Janine.
It was truly my honor.
We met years ago, didn’t we?
Yes, we fell in love years ago.
We fell in love pretty fast! In part because of what you stand for: when women come together, uplift each other, connect and band together, we are so much more than the sum of our parts. You saw something in me and I saw amazingness in you, and we immediately started getting the idea that there could be cool things hatched in this connection.
I looked at Janine and said, “That one right there.” I knew that was the audacious woman I wanted to create big things with, so we would see what we could do.
We are well on our way!
Part of what I would love for us to dive into as we think about Women We Should Know and The Cost of Not Paying Attention is there are so many women out there, including you and me, who have been harmed by this idea that exists that there is not enough space for strong, powerful women, and women cannot be collegial. We must be dog-eat-dog.
You and I have been eaten by dogs, and I am sure that there have even been times when I was a dog who ate another. As I have trod upon this Earth, I realized that in partnership with women like you is one of the things to which we are not paying enough attention is the power and the difference that women can make in organizations and workforces when we show up as women as opposed to showing up as men by trying to model ourselves after who they have been in the workplace.
One of the things that you and I were talking about is that there are so many women who have either been the dog and do not want to be the dog anymore, who have been eaten and do not want to be eaten anymore, or women who have been wounded or who were smart enough in the beginning to realize, “I do not want to play that game,” and they took their marbles and went somewhere else.
If all of us women who have figured out what it is like to be a strong, powerful woman in the workplace can come together and create alliances, platforms, and power stages for each other, that is where an enormous amount of transformation, juiciness, fun, verve, and many grand things in the world can exist. I want to explore that idea with you.
I can hear in my mind those women who are out there saying, ”I am not a powerful woman, but I did have that horrible experience.” If you had that horrible experience, may I suggest that you do not know how powerful you are because those experiences cause us to hide away ourselves. If you were harmed in that regard and can still be seen, you are, in fact, a powerful woman.
If we have women in every level of business along the way who are working in collaboration with each other, it becomes not only a kinder and gentler environment but a more successful environment. I am sure you have seen the numbers. The quarterly reports come out and quarter-after-quarter women-owned, women-founded, women-run businesses are outdistancing the majority of the male-owned and male-run businesses in terms of stability, quarterly gains, and turnover.
They are able to create solid communities, and that is what women can do because men biologically, psychologically, and sociologically are transactional. Women are relational. I am suggesting and putting it out there to let us use our inherent talents of being relational. Let’s use the inherent gift of having a 70% higher empathy quotient. Let’s bring those instead of letting them be used against us in silly ideas like women are “too emotional”. We have heard them all. I do not need to repeat them. Let’s bring them together and recognize them for the power base that they are and share and build something bright together.
As we are thinking about both Women We Should Know, the power of Women, the things to which we have not paid attention to in the world of business, and what the cost is of that, there are so many types of jobs and whole categories of roles that used to be transactional and are having to become more relationship-based.
Right before COVID happened, literally the month before the lockdown happened in March 2020, I heard a tax guy who used to work for the IRS. He does a presentation about how the whole world of accounting, which used to be very transactional, in part because of what is happening with AI, is having to become much more relationship-based and the challenges that that is creating for those professionals in that field. I do not have a warm, loving, high emotional, intelligence quotient accountant. Let’s face it. Many are not.
There is a whole field of people who are having to get retooled and retrained. It is happening in the world of IT. Another whole sector where folks used to be very transactional and very male-dominated. They have to become more relationship-based and face the challenges that are part of doing that. One of the great opportunities is to get more women into these fields.
As you and I both know, there are incredible women leaders who are training young women in the STEM fields to be technologists who are incredible in math, science, and engineering. There are great advantages to having more women in these fields who are naturally, biologically, genetically, inclined, oriented, or designed to be more relationship-based. Having women in these fields, over the long-term, will have the impact of having these professions be more relationship-based.
As we think over the short-term, there are enormous skills and transformations that can be created by women leaning into their own power. If you are out there and a woman who thinks, “I am not all that powerful.” Like you, Lesley, I would challenge that. Think about the things that you have been through in your life and the resilience that you have had to create and develop. I do not know a woman who is not powerful in her own realm.If we have women in every level of business along the way who are working in collaboration with each other, it becomes not only a kinder and gentler environment but more successful. Click To Tweet
One of my favorite stories to share is related to the idea that women are not as good at negotiation. There are many women who I hear support that idea. There is real cost of procrastinating in terms of helping women to realize that the skills they have developed outside of work are some of their most marketable skills. For example, who is a better negotiator than the mother of a sixteen-year-old girl who absolutely committed to wearing that prom dress that is so low cut that her navel is exposed? The mom knows better, but she also knows she must negotiate or there is going to be a huge battle. Who is a better negotiator than that?
That is such a great point. We undersell the skills that we have developed, and there are many women out there who spent decades as chief technology officers or chief domestic officers but the captains of the house and all of the things that needed to be negotiated in that world. It was not always, “Wait until your father gets home.” There were a lot of things that needed to be dealt with in the here and now, especially with kids, but sometimes also with dad. She would have to negotiate things with her partner.
It has to be taken care of at that moment. She has made executive decisions.
One of the many places where you and I ally is we both think of leadership as having zero to do with a title or letters that might come after your name or where you went to school, but about choices that we make to be a leader. I have told this story many times and several of you may have already heard it, but I was talking with a hospital CEO, and he was talking about walking in his hospital. He came up to one of the hospital employees and he asked, “What do you do here?” The gentleman said, “I clean the floor.” The CEO said, “Thank you very much for your work. I appreciate everything that you do.” He carried on, and then he came across another employee and he said, “What do you do?” To which, the gentleman replied, “I make the floors sparkle so that my patients heal faster.”
The second gentleman is a leader. His job is to clean the floor and he is an organizational leader in that hospital who understands how his role connects to what the organization is up to. One of the things that women do exceptionally well is to help people figure out how what they do connects to the whole. How do you see that idea playing out in the allyships that you are up to creating among women?
The thing I see that is happening that is so inspiring to me is the women I support to create these alliances and relationships are acutely aware of the cost of their experiences that resulted from their former company’s procrastination in developing gender equity. They are proactive in bringing those lessons into their new environments and in making sure that that is not perpetuated.
As they move into leadership, it is not perpetuated among their team and, in many cases, in the team next door because the team next door is seeing what is happening over here. It is a more acutely aware and in touch woman’s team, and they are going to their team later and saying, “I wouldn’t.” It is spreading like a good kind of virus.
I was not necessarily planning on talking about this. As you were talking, I started to think about the way that you show up in the world. The way that you show up is, “I am here. I am excited. I am ready to partner with you to uplift you and be of service.” As a result of the way that you show up in the world, you have amazing people come and want to support you.
Many of them, probably not by coincidence, are women who also have amazing platforms and want to raise you up, hold you up, and help support what it is that you are up to in the world. I want to hold that in contrast to the way that so many women of our generation have been taught that we have to operate in the world of work, which is that old dog eat dog dynamic. The younger generations, the Millennials and the Gen Z, are coming after them. Innately, they have more of a collaborative viewpoint. That is excellent because, in a couple of years, the Millennials and the Gen Zs will be 75% of the workforce.
Yet it is still us, the X-ers and the Boomers to a large extent unless they are startups, who are in the C-Suites. There is a great lesson to be learned from the way that you show up in the world and the things that have been happening with and for you. We did not talk about this beforehand, so I do not know how comfortable you are talking about what some of those things are, but they would make incredible examples.
Even if you do not want to name drop, though you are welcome to name drop. It would be great if you could talk a little bit about your upcoming book and the experiences that you have had with people who want to help uplift you. I firmly believe that the support you receive is happening because of how you show up in the world, which is not, “I am a dog out to eat anything.” rather it is, “I am a woman who is here to uplift humanity in general and women in particular.”
It is true, and I want to start by saying that this has always been true in my life. At this point, I am magnetizing to myself names that are known internationally. Women who are known by their first name only. I have always drawn to me exactly what I was willing to see myself as. I say that as an invitation to all of the readers out there to not procrastinate on looking in the mirror every day to find one more fabulous thing about you.
It has been like that as I have been going through this life. A number of my early mentors who were great notable women of their time lifted me up, and then the next ones lifted me up, and so on. It taught me that, what I share with you, as much of myself as I am willing to share is reflected by who comes into my life.
It taught me the extraordinary fulfillment of passing it forward. It is teaching me now, and when I say now, I have been procrastinating on recognizing this one. We all procrastinate. It is when are we going to stop and what are we going to stop procrastinating about? The last wave of influence that has come in to lift me up, has helped me to stop pretending that it always has to be hard work.
It can be fun and fulfilling, and at the same time, it does not have to be enslavement. That is an important thing for women, on the whole, to come to understand because between working at work, working at home, taking care of the kids, and being responsible for the elders, women, in many regards, have been slaves to their lives. I have not had a chance to talk to you about this yet, but part of my invitation, which is always evolving, is how much life are you living?
The Shoulders of Mighty Women is coming out, and I do not believe it, but I know that one of the reasons that it is drawing such attention from women of tremendous stature is because it is what it is. It is a collaborative work of amazing women like my beautiful Janine here to Dr. Shelley Gruenig, who has been teaching STEM to kids because she wanted to give something to her daughters that they could carry forward. You might not have heard this, but she was named the fourth top STEM coach worldwide.
She is taking young girls and teaching them not just STEM, but she is having them teach the younger kids so she teaches them leadership. As we go through the book, my dear Angela has been friends for many years, and she has been going around the world for all that time, advocating for women in many countries and in many disparate situations.
What I know is that this book that you and I and these other beautiful women created, the reason it is getting so much attention is because it is exactly what we are talking about. It is a collaborative effort, inviting more women to come into a collaborative effort. It is a strategic alliance inviting more women to come into a strategic alliance. It is an act of no longer procrastinating and paying attention to those nuances of skills we have developed that I am no longer willing to pay the cost of not stepping up.
I love what it is that you are up to when you were talking about all of the ways in which women have been taking care of themselves and of our worlds. I was recently down in Rosarito Beach in Mexico for a couple of days to take some time for myself. When I was growing up, there was this idea that we had introverts and extroverts. Introverts were very quiet and shy, and extroverts could talk to a street lamp and have a lovely conversation.
I learned about another definition, or other way to look at introverts and extroverts, which is where we get our energy from. My husband gets his energy from being with other people. He would love nothing more than to go to a party with 1,000 people in it. He would find that energizing. That idea of going to a party with 1,000 people makes me want to crawl into a hole and cry.The more you feel better about helping someone else feel better, the more you want to make someone else feel better. It is a simple formula. Click To Tweet
It is because that drains my energy. I get my energy from being alone. I realized that, with all the things that I do and the way that I show up in the world, I occur to the world as an extrovert, but I get my energy from being by myself. It takes something from me to show up in the world the way I do. For all of the other women out there who are like me and get their energy from being by themselves, goodness knows it has been hard to be by ourselves over this time in particular.
I want to encourage you to find opportunities for solitude.
When I went down to Rosarito Beach in Mexico for four days all by myself. The dog, the cat, and my husband all stayed home. I read books and I listened to the ocean. That is all I did, and I came back feeling rejuvenated, having my energy restored, and feeling like I have more of myself to pour into and give to all of the things that I care about: serving my clients, being a great partner to my husband, a mommy to our dog and cat, stepmom to my stepchildren, and all of the ways that I show up in the world.
As I think about the years we have known each other and had our love affair, I have watched you move into the world and find opportunities, not to take yourself out of the world but to go to patterns of rejuvenation and also creativity. I want to pull that into our conversation to empower women, in particular, to think about our energy flow and how we get energized by running outside with a whole group of other runners, or taking a walk in beauty all by ourselves, regardless of what that beauty looks like to you. Do you get your energy from being with a group of 1,000 people? Do you love to read? Do you love to dance your butt off? Listen to crazy music? Where does your energy come from and how can we pour more of that into ourselves and into each other?
While you are considering all of these important things that Janine brought forward, it is a chronic tendency for so many women. I have spoken with thousands of them over the years. There is a tendency for similarities like, “I do not have time.” The husbands, kids, this and that, what is your cost for not doing this?
I want to invite you to pay attention to what your cost is. Is the cost that you are abrupt with the kids when what they need is a cuddle? Is the cost that you have to go back to the house three times because you can’t remember everything you needed to take with you? Now you have cost yourself more time. What is your cost for not paying attention to the voice inside that says, “I need ‘fill in the blank’?”
I saw a study saying that over COVID, 87% of humans have gained more weight than they are comfortable with. For some of us, that might be 5 pounds. For some of us, that might be the COVID-19, or 45 pounds. But whoever we are, wherever we find ourselves on that spectrum, 87% of us have gained more weight than we are comfortable with.
I do not know this. I have not done the research to dive into the data but I would suspect that more women have gained more weight than they are okay with than men because more women are prone to emotional eating. We are prone to feeling frustrated or exhausted, and therefore thinking that the solution is in the Häagen-Dazs, Doritos, or the tequilas or whatever our thing is.
That is certainly a cost. I was speaking with a young woman and she was talking about how she loves her job, and she is feeling very blah about it. Her energy and her enthusiasm are not there. She can’t find them. As a result, she is making mistakes, she feels like her boss is mad at her, and she is mad at herself. There are all kinds of ways to look at what it is costing us as women. There may be men, too, who, as you are hearing this, are like, “Crap. I agree that I have less capacity for patience with my employees, children, partners, or whoever they are.”
Part of what we are about is creating a world. Somebody said to me, “I love the opportunity to see all people as perfect, divine, and whole. Not that we do not corrupt, make mistakes, or are crappy sometimes, but we are all perfect, unique, and divine.” That is part of the place where we start. It is part of why, Lesley, you and I have had this love affair, because we want to be able to see all humanity as perfect, unique, and divine. That is part of our mission in the world and where we align.
If I may speak for you for a moment, we want more playmates. Come play with us. Play with just finding that new octave in your voice. Starting out with this person is perfect, but they may not always act perfectly.
We are good at that with our children. If you did a bad thing, it does not mean you are a bad boy. We are less good with that as we grow up and holding other humans and grown-ups, as perfect, fabulous, and whole when they screw up. Let’s be real people. We are all screw-ups in many ways in our own lives.
There is a wonderful line from the musical Rent. “Everyone has baggage. I am looking for someone whose luggage matches mine.” We have all got our stuff, and so, as women in particular, how can you help raise up another woman? Whether it is a smile or it is, “I appreciate the thing that you did for me, it then enabled me to go and do whatever magic it was that I created.”
Whether it is just, “I love your shoes.” Whatever we can do to raise each other up to let go of this idea of unhealthy competition among women. Sometimes there are ways in which we compete that are great and fun. We are all in the game together, but there are unhealthy ways in which we compete, so let go of it.
I would invite you to take the next step. After doing that or uplifting another woman, take one moment for yourself and notice how much better that made you feel about you. We truly do feel better about ourselves when we uplift someone else, and if Janine and I had another hour, we could explain the brain science to you, but you will have to take our word for it right now. Give it a try and prove it to yourself. Take a moment and notice how much it better it makes you feel because it creates a different body chemical mix to move. The more you feel better about helping someone else feel better, the more you are going to want to make someone else feel better. It is a simple formula.
Come play with Lesley and me. We both have websites and shows and we want to know what you are doing out there. How you are helping uplift other women? Join us on LinkedIn. Create those positive conversations in the world about what you are creating out there.
We will share.
This has been fabulously fun. This has been the first, and maybe not the last, crossover episode between the Women We Should Know and The Cost of Not Paying Attention. Until next time.
About Lesley Michaels
Lesley Michaels was born to feminism. Her foundational ethos was shaped by her audacious paternal grandmother who was a feminist and savvy businesswoman. She came of age just as the second wave of feminism was becoming a significant American social movement. At age 16 she went out on her own in NYC and the heart of the cultural transformation that was the zeitgeist of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
She was later one of the first women to break through the glass ceiling in the “old boy” industry of oil and gas. Shortly after leaving the corporate world, she was infected by a latent entrepreneurial spirit. Over the following years Lesley developed and sold several small businesses. In each case her staff was a multicultural representation of women.
During this same period, she became a leader in the coaching industry. Lesley has mentored Fortune 500 C-Suite executives, individuals within the financially privileged sector, and celebrities. Throughout her life, Lesley has been a dedicated voice for bringing attention to the challenges, dehumanization, and legalized inequities delivered upon members of marginalized communities.
Lesley’s unique life experiences have provided her with a first-hand understanding of the daily struggles faced by women of every race, culture, and sexual orientation. On the Shoulders of Mighty Women is a tribute to the power and grace of those who came before and the ones who will follow, the warriors and the fallen. This book is one more way Lesley chooses to amplify the voice, energy, experience-based understandings and compassion of women fighting for equality, diversity, equity and inclusion.
Lesley facilitates virtual programs on topics ranging from Build a Success – Mindset with Unwavering Clarity, and Building Strategic Alliances of Women. Lesley also hosts the weekly podcast; Women We Should Know, will be delivering her TED talk in 2022, Lift One With You, As You Rise.