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Women's Leadership Redefined
by Joanna Kennedy

Then entire idea of women’s leadership may seem quite natural to many of us, while for other women the idea of being a leader might seem somewhat absurd. Yet the truth is that as women we are always leading. We lead our children, our families, our communities, our groups and organizations, our governments and our businesses and we do it quite well.

Particularly as women business owners, the depth to which we step into our own leadership potential and power defines not only the success of our businesses but also the level of inner satisfaction and joy we feel. How do you feel when you watch yourself take three steps forward and then two steps back or when you get close to achieving a goal and then you watch yourself somehow give it up or sabotage it? When these things happen most of us feel frustrated, angry, disappointed and a host of other not-so-supportive emotions.

So why does this happen? As we start to move in the direction of our fullest potential, our goals, our dreams – whether it’s on step one or step twenty-six hundred – we can come up against issues of self-esteem, fear, deserved-ness, shame, overwhelm, and the like. If we look closer at the fears that might arise they could take the form of fear of failure, fear of criticism, fear of abandonment or even fear of success. As Maryann Williamson once wrote, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.apostrophe

Since we do not want to feel emotions like unworthiness, rejection, and failure, we make promises to ourselves that we will never let them happen or we take on beliefs or ways of being that protect us from feeling these undesirable feelings. We set up our life – often unconsciously – to avoid them.

Sadly enough we will trade off feeling the most expansive of emotions like joy, bliss, exhilaration, passion, excitement, and ecstasy so that we can avoid the more contractive emotions and then we end up living life in a band of comfortable mediocrity, often describing ourselves as good or fine, maybe feeling happy but not really joyful or calm but not truly peaceful.

So what emotions do you avoid feeling?
What would you have to risk feeling to have the life of your dreams?

For me, I avoided feeling stupid, not good enough, unloved or like a failure. I stopped myself so many times from pursuing my dreams because I couldn’t face the possibility of failing or looking stupid. I went through college studying engineering and I struggled and struggled because I wouldn’t go see a professor or even ask a question in class because I might look stupid if I did. Internally I couldn’t take that risk. As I got into the business world, I couldn’t offer suggestions or ideas unless I knew for sure that I had the right answers. In my personal life, I could risk doing something silly or too crazy because someone might laugh at me. When I started my own business I had to be so careful not to make a mistake for fear of the judgment.

All those strategies did for me was hold me back from living at my fullest potential. They limited my success and they certainly limited my potential for joy, laughter and excitement!

Today, as I’ve seen through my fears and realized that most of them are simply figments of my imagination and that making mistakes actually teaches me things so that I am even more successful in the future. I am now happily taking risks, diving in and living my passion every day. Is it all rosy? No, it’s not and yet, I now know that when fears arise, I can meet them consciously and move forward despite of them.

If you’d like to step into your fullest potential, take your business to a new level and live the life of your dreams – personally and professionally – then join us at a transformational women’s leadership workshop called the Visionary Leadership Intensive for Women: Leading from the Heart coming up in September.

To register for this life-changing workshop and for a free mini-ebook called “7 Secrets to Living & Leading from the Heartapostrophe visit For more information and articles about feeling empowered, whole, healthy, and vibrant as a woman visit

About the author:

Joanna Kennedy is an author, speaker and Visionary Leadership Coach.