I have always been tough.

If you know a bit about my story you’ll know why I had to be tough growing up. It’s a strength I carried from surviving childhood abuse, to my rocky start to adult life as a single teenage Mum, into my career and then into my entrepreneurial adventures.

I’ve never tolerated excuses on my own part first and foremost, and therefore I find it hard to accept from others. Having a high level of bouncebackability and refusal of accepting my circumstances as my future has created my success. I guess that’s why I’ve built a pretty coplol business as a coach because I can help others tap into determination they didn't know was there.

But on the flipside I adore nurturing my tribe and those that I care about. I cry at anything remotely emotional in films and books, and I’d do anything for someone in need no matter how busy I am. I care way too much about what people think about me, and connection with others is one of the things I crave the most.

I tend to work in my “masculine” energy to get shit done and have fierce determination, and like Jennifer Kem and I just spoke about yesterday – my “feminine” energy keeps me focused on an incredible vision and desire to create impact.

I know I want to leave a great big huge dent in the world and that both my masculine and feminine energies are required to do so.

But I’ve had times throughout my life, that my tough side has been criticised.

Whilst male leaders are praised for being “direct”, “strong”, “a leader” and “a pro”; women find themselves being accused of being “cold”, “in need of rounding off corners”, “the ice queen”, “the bitch”.

Jeez. Even just typing those out stirs up the emotions. It makes me want to go and hide away and launch an commerce and never be in the spotlight again.

I shared my views with a group of my coaching clients when one of my LOVELY, and insanely caring clients, asked for advice after she said she found it hard to be a new coach and call her own students out on their B.S.

I recounted the many times I had shared similar frustrations, and that as a female, who’d been criticised in the past, I felt I had to work twice as hard to round off my own edges.

On that call when sharing my experiences, I realised just how prevalent the issue was as my clients exclaimed “YES” “ME TOO” “EXACTLY!!!”.

One male client recounted a story of the coaches in his company, and the unfounded prejudice towards the style of a female coach.

In many senses I don’t pay much attention to the male / female divide, which in entrepreneurship is less polarised, but in this sense I realised through my recent conversations just how much of an issue it is for many – including myself.

I don’t want to be anything but me, and if I was a male coach, I doubt I'd have any requirement to soften anything I do / say / share online. (guys, please share your views on this assumption)

This need to “soften” ourselves as strong and powerful female coaches really just reeks of the kind of inauthenticity I personally despise. I guess I have my own work still to do on this.

It’s encouraging to me to see others in the entrepreneurial space sharing their own views, and also to see it from the male perspective. People like Lewis Howes, who has written a book on the Mask of Masculinity and how misguided beliefs thrown onto him by his mentors and the men around him was dangerous.

The misguided beliefs on why you can't be a vulnerable male, are the very same as why you can't be a tough woman.

My conversations with others are calling me to talk more about this, and although I’m not sure where this will lead I wanted to start the conversation and hear your views.

 Please share your honest thoughts below 🙂

Laura x

2 comments

Reply

We should allow men and encourage them to express their emotions and also give ourselves permission to stand up for ourselves when society wants to put us in outdated roles of women.

Reply

It is SO outdated Ivana! Having seen that I have always tried to encourage my children to be who they want to be – strong, vulnerable, emotional, determined regardless of their gender.

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