The following post is revised from an article I wrote for Nancy Becher‘s business women’s online magazine in October, 2015. I think it’s as relevant today as it was when I wrote it and Nancy published it!
It All Began Like This. . .
I’m a woman of strong faith. Most of you know that about me. While I don’t wear it on my sleeve as some do; I have no qualms about owning it when the timing is right to do so. I believe they will know us by our love and by our lifestyle. . .by our fruits so to speak!
It’s not the theme of this post. I share it because what prompted this post began as a nudge in my gut when mentally preparing for a program I’m doing for our Carmel, Indiana COFFEE in the NEIGHBORHOOD. As I mentally rehearsed my comments, it occurred to me I wasn’t giving myself permission to use all the gifts, wisdom, knowledge and experience that PAPA has built in me over the years. So I stopped mid rehearsal to pray:
“PAPA, why am I not using all you’ve given me? Why do I hold back?” Silence followed. I felt PAPA GOD was waiting for me to say more.
“PAPA, I don’t want to hold back anymore! Let’s let it all hang out. I’m willing to let you have control and bring out of the closet what I have been hiding that are gifts from You!”
This vignette from my personal life has meaning and purpose for us all; but especially for Christian women in business. Truth is, we have so much more in us than we can possibly imagine. However, when we get a glimpse of it; too often we pull back and keep it in the closet – hidden from view. Not only from others – but from ourselves!
Why. . .
Women, here’s a fact of life! There’s power in you! Power you know you have; but for many reasons are unwilling to let flow.
Why? Why do we hold back? What’s so fearful about being “powerful“?
For me it’s a bit of many things: concern about how “power” will manifest if allowed to flow unimpeded.
- Will it roll over others like a steam roller and snuff them out. Not literally but figuratively.
- Will it take their psychological and spiritual breath away?
- Will it cause their esteem to shrivel and confidence to wane?
- Bottom line: will it be a negative rather than a positive experience in their lives!
Basically, it’s an unwillingness to own what’s been given to me as a spiritual gift via life experiences; the good, the bad and the ugly!
Finally it’s about how life will change if I let my personal power flow – with or without ‘check’. As if life has to change for me to be the woman He has destined me to be.
They Made a Difference!
When I look at the accomplishments of some women throughout history, I realize that they overcame the odds to fulfill their destiny. Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt, Claire Booth Luce, Maya Angelou, and so many more.
Some who are not household names – some who are. Women who rose through personal life experiences to take a place in the history of their communities and significantly impacted them in positive ways.
Women who recognized the power they possessed and gave it full voice – voices that impacted their world in magnificent ways.
What Does This Have To Do With Me?
How does this relate to you as a woman of faith seeking to build a business and carve out success as you’ve defined it to be?
Business women are impacting world economies in significant and powerful ways. We are the largest growing segment in every region worldwide. That is in regions where women are permitted, and encouraged, to become all they are destined to be. Women now hold powerful public offices in many countries, including the top leadership role such as Andrea Merkel, German Chancellor. She follows in the footsteps of Margaret Thatcher, late Prime Minister of the UK, whose impact is felt long after her death. She was known as the “Iron Woman”. Says something about how she wielded the power she knew she possessed!
Many women long to be free of the corporate world. Long to be their own ‘boss’. Long to bring products and services to a world waiting for what they have to offer.
Yes, it’s risky. It’s bold. It’s powerful!
What Does It Take?
- Courage for one thing. It takes courage. Courage to trust the power we possess is under the control of a loving Heavenly Father who will help us control how ‘powerful’ we become.
- Getting called out by others! It may take being called out for sitting on our power rather than using it for the benefit of others. That happened to me in my small group process days. An internationally recognized human relations expert asked during a training group why I was “p_ _ _ _ _g away my power”. My body stance revealed the immense amount of personal power I have; yet I failed to use it on behalf of those in my care as a co-facilitator.
- Confidence. It takes confidence; in self and in PAPA GOD. It takes a willingness to accept that He has endowed each of us with talents, abilities, knowledge and wisdom we are to use to build up others and improve their lives!
- Humility. It takes humility. Not a form of humility that is really false pride; but the humility that permits us to honestly and truthfully acknowledge and accept God-given gifts and the power that is innate within them
Women, I challenge you to get ‘down and dirty’ with what resides within you. Get intimately involved with the wisdom, knowledge, abilities and skills hiding in the closets of your lives. Recognize that there’s ‘stuff’ in you that even you don’t recognize for what it is. Ask PAPA GOD to be enlighten your heart and mind; and I guarantee He will!
If you’re a believer as I am – tell Heavenly Father you are ready to be the powerhouse you are. If you’re not yet ready to be that BOLD; step back and take a breath. Be bold enough to give yourself permission to explore and discover what resides deep within.
Let us be a community of women whose power lights fires where only embers reside. A community of women whose power heals broken hearts and mends the lives of those who’ve lost hope.
Might we become a community of women whose power fuels a world waiting for what we have to give? The fulfillment of our hopes and dreams. And the fulfillment of the hopes and dreams of those whose lives we’ll touch.
Are you up to the task? Are you ready to take up the challenge?
I hope so!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, M.S.Ed, CEO & Visionary Partner
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
Building a Community of Christian Business Women
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