At this very moment, the leadership opportunities for women in governments and across the business world are unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
Yet in 2021, so many women still shy away from high-level positions and stay silent when our bodies are screaming at us to speak up. Or even if we do take those roles, we can lose ourselves completely. Why?
Co-founder of Mindvalley, one of the world’s best personal development platforms, Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani says that if we’re seeing fewer women in leadership likely it’s not circumstances, but an “unconscious choice” to live a life that’s untrue to who we are or what we want.
Now, this by no means is a universal truth. Women don’t share some sort of one-size-fits-all struggle. Depending on the zip code, family, and culture you were born into, your life will be vastly different. To this day, women across the developing world are still fighting for the right to work, get an education, and to marry (or not marry) whomever they want.
So today Kristina can’t give a guide that will apply to women across the board, but she’s here to share her story and lessons learned along the way as a mother, business leader, and woman just trying to find some joy and balance in life.
With that being said, here’s a list of the three most profound ‘aha moments’ she believes every ambitious woman needs to have before she can make her mark on the world.
1.You Can Lead With Femininity
Let’s be honest, the working world wasn’t built with women in mind.
Time and time again, masculine traits like assertiveness, discipline, and competitiveness are inherently seen as far more valuable than compassion or creativity.
And with this massive rise of women in leadership, Kristina asks if we’re actually adding our unique feminine gifts and talents into our work, “Or are we still doing it the way that we had to do 100 years ago when we were fighting for basic rights?”
Oftentimes the pressure to “wear the pants”, act tough, and get louder is why so many women in the corporate world feel they need to lose touch with their feminine essence just to get ahead.
So the question is: can women step up without discounting their femininity in the process?
The truth is, most women in today’s world can do, be, or create anything they want if they’re true to their vision and values. And they don’t have to fit into a “man’s world” mentality to do it.
As long as we consciously choose to not suppress or deny our womanhood in the workplace, we empower other women to do the same.
2. You Have Options
If you want to be a successful career woman, you need to be on call at any given moment. And if you want to be a great mom, you’ve got to be ready to give it all up in an instant. Right?
From the time we’re little girls, most of us have been conditioned to believe that we have to play certain roles that fit whatever our family, culture, or society deems worthwhile. And even as we grow up, these roles play out again and again.
Back in the early 2000s, Kristina’s career in the Estonian government was on the rise, but then one day everything changed. As she put it, “when I got married, I didn’t even question that I have to leave my job, my very good career, and move after my husband.”
Then before she knew it, she was packing up her bags and moving to New York where her education didn’t count, she was completely unemployable, and she had to start her life over from scratch.
17 years later, as she’s working and raising her kids in quarantine, Kristina realized that she never had to choose. Even though as women we may feel forced to decide between our dreams and the ones we love, Kristina says, “you can combine family and work. You don’t have to make an either-or choice.”
Now she tells women that if you truly want to make an impact, you need to let go of what’s expected of you and embrace that calling deep down in your soul.
3. You Don’t Need to ‘Juggle It All’
All too often, we hand out praise to women who are overworked and under-supported as if to say that never asking for help is an ideal state we should aim for.
The standard for modern-day moms is to stretch themselves beyond their limits. They’re expected to cook, clean, work a 9-5, raise kids, overgive, and not ask for much in return.
Now after years of overdoing in her business and within her family, Kristina has learned that there’s no shame in reaching out and asking for support.
She says that maybe if society was a bit easier on women and there was greater access to cooking, cleaning, and childcare services then women could actually free up some time and “dedicate themselves to work rather than make the either-or choice.”
The bottom line is: sacrificing your own needs and desires doesn’t make you a better parent, partner, or business owner. Because you can’t inspire or empower anyone else to live their truth if you’re not living yours.
So if you really want to change the world and be an impactful leader, you need to start from within. Always honor who you are or what you really want first and foremost.
And just remember, no matter where you are in your journey, it’s never too late to start living your life for you.
About the Writer:
Kristina Mand-Lakhiani is an entrepreneur, international speaker, and artist. She left her succussfull career in a government office in her native Estonia and together with her, now ex-, husband founded Mindvalley – a global educational organization offering top training for peak human performance to hundreds of thousands of students all around the world. Kristina talks about personal transformation, authenticity, understanding and accepting oneself, and a path to happiness. Kristina helps virtually hack happiness by using her – “Hacking happiness framework” – a unique framework of balancing your life, taking in every moment, and paying close attention to the small daily choices. Kristina is the author of three transformational quests – “7 Days To Happiness”, “Live By Your Own Rules” and “The Art Of Being Flawesome”. Kristina is also about to release her brand new book – “The Art Of Being Flawsome”. In her book, she helps you to go through the process of finding your way back to You.