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There is No “I”​ In Leader: Learning to Receive in Leadership

Today I want to talk about something seemingly very simple: masculine and feminine energy. Evolutionarily, the masculine role is to protect and provide; femininity, to create and receive. The two roles support each other, and, believe it or not, men and women possess and express both types of energy.

What I want to say today is this: We as a society are over-prioritizing masculine energy. And it’s wreaking havoc not only on our personal lives, but our businesses as well.

This issue is very personal to me because denying my feminine energy was how I got sick. And it almost cost me my life.

When I was 25, I was diagnosed with a terminal brain condition and told I had 90 days to live. I was three months pregnant at the time with my third child. I was also running two businesses with over 100 employees total, and I was the children’s pastor at my church. In all aspects of my life — work, spiritual, personal — I was managing someone or something. And I was miserable. I woke up every morning wondering if this was all there was to life.

Then one day, I woke up and couldn’t see. The doctors told me I had a chiari malformation and that my only option was a voluntary surgery where there was a 5% chance of survival. In that 5% chance, there was only a 5% chance that I wouldn’t be a vegetable for the rest of my life.

The moment that still haunts me to this day isn’t sitting on the hospital bed, getting the diagnosis from the doctor. It wasn’t even having to come to terms with not being around for my kids birthdays, graduations, weddings — which, don’t get me wrong, was also torture.

No, the moment that haunts me most is how I felt sitting in my car after I got the diagnosis, trying to decide who to call first. I wasn’t ready to tell my husband that I was going to die. I wasn’t ready to tell him that, in 90 days, he wasn’t going to have a wife or a mother to his children. That’s when I was left with this overwhelming feeling that there was no one I could call. I was the leader of all my groups. I didn’t have anyone in my life who I didn’t pay or manage. I was the masculine energy holding everything — and everyone — together. I didn’t have relationships built on vulnerability and trust, so I had no one to turn to in my most vulnerable hour.

Everything in my life up until that point had been from a place of performance.

Even pastoring at my church wasn’t so much about my relationship with God as it was about proving myself. I was constantly working to get ahead so that I wouldn’t get left behind. I never allowed myself the space to tap into my feminine energy because I thought doing so made me weak and pathetic. I was so shut down and out of touch with myself and my emotions, I couldn’t even cry. I was just told that I had 90 days to live and I couldn’t even cry!

Instead, my masculine energy was still full steam ahead. When the doctor told me the news, my immediate thought was, “F — — you. I’ll find another way.” And boy, did I try! For the next 90 days, I tried every supplement, every remedy possible — acupuncture, meditation, various diets, yoga. More than one yoga instructor asked me to leave class because I kept falling over from the vertigo, and falling in yoga is frowned upon for pregnant women.

Despite all my efforts, by the end of the first month after my diagnosis, I couldn’t do anything. I had lost my sight, had extreme migraines all the time, dizziness, vertigo, and my right arm and left leg were almost completely numb. My neck was so stiff and tense from all the migraines. I had my license taken away because of my vision. I couldn’t drive my kids to school, drive to the grocery store, nothing. It had become impossible to continue managing my household the way I had been.

With the stress of trying to find my own cure, I was so disconnected from myself. All I could think about was how I was only 25 and my life was literally over. I did nothing great. I wasted what I was given. I started a couple businesses and had a couple kids. I didn’t do anything to change the world.

Very reluctantly, I found myself going to church. My husband had to force me to get in the car. I was pissed at God. “I’m serving you, even pastoring at church, and you allow this to happen?” I thought.

One Sunday, a Tanzanian healer was the guest speaker. After the service, he laid his hands on me and prayed for me. I had never had anyone do this before. He told me, every time I had pain, to say:

“This pain is not for me. It is not of God, and I am healed.”

Two weeks afterwards, and 30 days before I was supposed to have surgery, my eyesight came back. I went and got an MRI. “The cyst in your spinal cord is gone,” the doctor said. They said they’d never seen anything like it.

I couldn’t believe it. The nightmare was over. And it wasn’t from any remedy that I tried on my own. The cure came simply by being open to receiving healing from a stranger.

Those 60 days of hell were a wake-up call. I wasn’t going to be a victim to my circumstances anymore. I started looking at my life through the following question:

If I live 90 days or 90 years, what am I willing to put up with?

I am unwilling to operate solely from a place of forcing and driving, trying to manage everyone and everything in my life by myself. I’m done with trying to have all the answers. I’m still managing two businesses and a house of five, but now I have co-managers that I trust and rely on to get the job done, including my husband. I communicate better with him, and ask for help when I need it. I have relationships built on vulnerability. Rather than suppress my emotions as they come up, I share them with someone I trust. Even my business connections are more authentic as I open up to the people I do business with. The best part is, I attract the clientele I want because I’m more in touch with myself and what I want than ever before.

The only lingering effects from my condition are migraines. The usual cause of a migraine is masculine energy pushing and driving on its own, without seeking any outside support. Once I allow myself to feel, and actually listen to what I need and want in that moment, the migraine will go away.

We work our whole lives putting up walls to protect ourselves. We strive to be independent and, in so doing, completely shut ourselves off from the world. One of the biggest lies we perpetuate is that being a leader means having all the answers. The truth is, we can’t succeed in life without others. Operating purely from our masculine energy is unsustainable.

Everything produced out of a place of protection is from a scarcity mindset.

When you’re constantly in survival mode, you can’t tap into anything else, like creativity. And as I learned the hard way, your body isn’t designed to operate solely on masculine energy. Sooner or later, it will start to break down and force you to face what it is you’re running from. (Take this quiz by Tony Robbins to find out which energy you’re currently leading with!)

Are you ready to have the things you want without feeling like you have to fight to get them? It’s scary slowing down and listening to yourself. It’s scary being vulnerable and letting others contribute to us. I’m here to tell you that both things are possible, and that you owe it not only to yourself but to those around you to start learning to access your feminine energy. By allowing yourself to receive, by listening to yourself and staying connected to what you really want (not just what other people are expecting from you), you will be happier in all aspects of your life, including your business.

If you are ready to take down your walls and say yes to a more fulfilled life, book a strategy session today!
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