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Are you being manipulative or strategic?

I led my first of many all-day workshops on Intuition is a Leadership Skill™ a year ago. I always begin by asking the participants what brought them there; what is interesting to them about the topic? The first half of the group said, “I know a lot and I never say it.” As I listened, I was revising the day to include speaking your truth (even if your voice shakes).

The second half of the group shared several versions of, “My intuition has been telling me to take care of myself for years and I ignore it.” I changed the workshop to include tools and practices for self-care.

Intuition is in part, speaking your truth, and also allowing yourself to know when and how to say yes to self-care. How do we know what we know if we aren’t tuned in to ourselves, not just everyone else?

I’m going out on a limb by saying women are often dismissed, ignored, and made fun of when they take the risk of sharing an idea or opinion. I have countless stories of brilliant women in my life; friends, colleagues, and clients, who have let go of needing credit in order to get things done. And, when they are ignored and the next day a guy says the same thing and everyone thinks he’s a genius, women sit quietly and think, “whatever it takes.”

As we explored the idea of why these women didn’t say what they knew, one of the participants said, “I don’t want to be manipulative, but for the sake of what should happen, I do what I need to for that to happen.”

I thought for a minute…something was there…then I asked, “How do we know when we are being manipulative and when we are being strategic?” We all sat in silence for at least a full minute. Then, someone said, “Manipulation feels icky.” Everyone nodded. We all recognized the difference.

My connection to the clients I serve has shown me that those ways of being are slowly shifting. Men and women are realizing that we are equally intelligent, intuitive, committed people who expect to be listened to, heard, and valued.

I am frequently asked why I’m still working. I typically say, “Because it’s just getting good!” This is why.

We are learning, growing, and above all questioning the status quo and taking the risks of being seen, heard, valued, and supported. The more we say yes to that, the more strategic we can be and we won’t feel ‘icky’.

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