Talented, accomplished businesswomen from various industries comprise the Women’s Franchise Network (WFN). These women who have attained various roles as founders, managers, sales executives, educators, financiers, and counsel, have already overcome many obstacles toward establishing a professional presence in the franchise eco-system. Women have built successful businesses, systems, teams, and reputations; yet in both the business and personal realms, female leaders encounter various recurring frustrations, including:
- Misunderstandings and unsatisfying conversations
- Feelings of inferiority and sense of ‘losing control’
- Fear and self-doubt
This month’s quarterly event with Susan Lawson-Cauthon, an esteemed counselor with 30+ years of experience, was so powerful and worth sharing for those of you that weren’t able to attend!
Susan lead an interactive discussion regarding shifting our paradigms into a “conscious transformation mindset” so we as women, and powerful ones at that, can readily identify and confront personal barriers. She discussed how all of us have essence qualities – our true nature, our personality, the characteristics that define who we are as women, and vulnerabilities – or weaknesses. Our vulnerabilities are still within our essence, but are surrounded in a negative light – either by ourselves or others. Both types of qualities have been mirrored for us since we were young, and the repetitious patterns one experiences from the outside world and from within are hard to break. We find ourselves in a constant negative feedback loop which distorts our own perceptions of who we are: our essences and vulnerabilities. Many of us are walking around each day as unbalanced individuals seeing only our vulnerabilities as weaknesses instead of harnessing our power. We all have vulnerabilities and if we can get into a space where our essence qualities and vulnerabilities are working together, we become an integrated person.
Brene Brown has been studying the power behind vulnerability for years and what she has found is that “people connect more with those who have weaknesses.” Susan brought us to this same conclusion with our small group discussions on what our essence and vulnerability traits are and how we see each one of these – either as an essence (usually positive) or vulnerability (usually negative) and how we can shift our thinking around them.
Transformative moments are when our essence qualities and vulnerabilities come together to create a space of connection with others. This is powerful and will open up many more doors to us as women both professionally and personally. In order to make a conscious transformation, we have to first understand and accept our essence and vulnerability qualities to be able to utilize them in full. There is power behind embracing all that we are and being able to say “I am enough.”
So how does one embody their traits in a completely transformative manner? Dependent upon each individual situation, we must decipher which traits will be useful to bring in using self-awareness. For example, one of my personal vulnerabilities is wearing my heart on my sleeve and being too emotional. I have had people take advantage of this more than I’d like to admit. But, by shifting my thinking and bringing in my self awareness, I can still bring in my compassion and empathy – which are a few of my essence traits – and balance these out with effective boundaries to ensure that I am protecting my vulnerability, while still fostering a deeper connection with the other person. I am still being true to myself and am creating authentic connections with others but am no longer allowing my vulnerabilities to be used against me or viewed in a negative light.
By facing our fears with the “conscious transformation” mindset, we as women have daily opportunities to forge a sense of authenticity and creativity. Developing this mindset can make us more productive team-members, better leaders, and more fulfilled human beings.