Masculine Energy Prevents Women From Thriving in Business and You Can Change That

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Do you have a particular dream, something you want to achieve but you’re not sure how to go about it so you haven’t even tried? Or maybe you’ve tried, but it didn’t work out the way you’d hoped? Welcome to the fold, sister! We’ve all been there in one way or another, trying again and again to accomplish something in the traditional ways we’ve been taught: by being better than anyone else, not asking for help (it’s a weakness), pushing to the top no matter the cost, hiding our emotions, fighting for what we want, and so on.

In other words, we keep hitting our goals over the head with the masculine energy stick, only to continuously be disappointed by the results. We never try and approach these situations with feminine energy — by being open to possibility, by collaborating and supporting one another, by embracing creativity.

My own experience in the corporate world proved this to me time after time.

I learned how to fit into an existing structure and climb a specific kind of ladder, where success was defined by how precisely you could mimic the men around you. However, no matter how many “successes” I had, as long as I was measuring my achievements by these old school masculine-only terms, I wasn’t happy.

Masculine vs. feminine energy in business

Women rarely get to grow up learning to operate from a place where they stop and ask themselves: what would make me happy? What would feel the best? Instead, we’re taught that to make a place for ourselves in an unbalanced world we just have to be better at everything — and nicer about it all, too. So when we say “masculine energy prevents women from thriving in business,” that’s not 100% true. It’s just that we’ve been forced to so severely repress and cut away from our feminine energy that even when we succeed, it feels hollow because it’s not really our success, it’s success operating within a masculine hierarchy.

Masculine and feminine energy are neither good nor bad, and all of us — women and men — exist along a spectrum, manifesting different aspects of both. The professional world has been so exclusively occupied by men for so long, however, that it’s become a space virtually void of feminine energy. Businesses have operated in such a masculine way, and for so long, that we’ve all been brainwashed into believing that not only is it the only way to work, but that it’s the only way to succeed.

Let’s be clear — this dynamic doesn’t benefit men, either. No one wins when they’re forced to repress their emotions, when they’re not allowed to be soft or supported, when personal connections are devalued and empathy is thought a weakness. In that sort of space, for women or men, at work or even at home, superficial things like dominance, glory, and competition start to become all that matters.

Owning your feminine energy

So why are we cutting away the things that give us purpose, that spark genius — our intuition, our wisdom, our passion? Why has masculine energy become the status quo for work? It’s certainly not because it’s the only option.

My own approach — a kind of reaction to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In — is to lean back.

When we’re talking about energy, at the most basic level masculine energy is very driving and pushy, whereas feminine energy is receptive and open to possibility. When we’re always “leaning in” we don’t allow ourselves to tap into the power of passivity; we prevent any space for newness naturally and organically opening up when we’re fighting all the time instead of looking around at what else might be out there.

Embracing feminine energy just makes damn good business sense. It allows new ideas to surface and fosters collaboration, it supports the creation of relaxed spaces.

Neither the masculine or feminine is inherently better or worse, they’re just different — the goal is to find the right balance of both of drive and acceptance, of righteousness and curiosity.

Bringing the feminine into business

Feminine energy isn’t just healthier, it’s also better for the bottom line — when we're happier and more collaborative we perform better and last longer at our jobs, which serves to reduce turnover rate and increase the overall efficiency of an office.

Right now, there’s simply no space for feminine energy in traditional business structures, which is why it’s especially important for female entrepreneurs creating business and building their own corporate cultures to set a different example for future generations. We’ve already proven that, for the most part, when we try to “do it like men” it’s challenging to find real fulfillment.

Let’s break the cycle, and try something different. If you want to start balancing the masculine energy in your workplace with the feminine, try encouraging creativity and new days; reward imagination; get physical — roll your shoulders, stretch, take short dance or yoga breaks; breathe deep and breathe with intention; invest in your physical space and happiness by making sure your desk and office are an enjoyable, comfortable place to work; make space for people to share what they love about their work, or what they struggle with, and make sure everyone listens.

Get balanced

All of us — men and women — are out of balance. For too long we’ve operated with a single system and have come to believe it’s our only option.

We need to learn to empower the feminine, to give space to and respect all of our impulses, to understand the strength that comes with balance. If we can do this (and I think we can), it won’t be about women or men, masculine or feminine: it will be about all of us thriving together and reaping the benefits of what happens when we choose to fundamentally redefine success.