The ‘Inner Work’ that serves us women leaders

Why Inner work ?

All the messages we have scripted into ourselves from our culture, family of origin and by social conditioning show up in specific ways at work.

It is a part of us that can pull our energy down.It influences our actions and behaviours as leaders. This is my claim:

Limiting messages in the self = Limiting assessments that block possibilities.

The leader who shied from the limelight:

I coached a senior software quality manager. Her organisation decided that they’re going to do a conference where they were going to host people from other organisations.

She put together a team and there was lot of material that she had to prepare and send out for the conference. She found that she had teamed up with three other guys and she was the only woman on the team. Somehow, she seemed to carry a major load of the conference duties. She took fabulous leadership in moving ahead. The conference started coming together and organisations were reached out to. There was lot of traction and action. The conference was a success and the colleagues pulled off a great job.

It was time, at the end of the conference, when the recognitions were about to happen. She said- “I don’t know what happened but I just stepped back and allowed these 3 other colleagues to come forward to be seen and heard much more.” Right there, in front of the whole organisation she lost a significant opportunity to be seen and heard.

The observer that she was, was telling her that- “You’re not actually ready to be there in the front. Is it really that you’ve done so much? It looks like other people have done as much or more. Why are you stepping forward? What if you go there and fall flat on your face because you’re going to be given the mic to speak?” The Parent voice being critical of her showed up.

I believe that dealing with these limiting messages is a life skill. Why do I say it’s a life skill?

I have been a coach and a therapist for several years now. Many times in my workshops I have had people ask me- “Don’t you ever feel diffident and doubtful?” Of course, I do. As a person I’ve invested so much in cleaning up myself and still the inner critic voice shows up. When it happens I say “Alright here it is again. Now let me see what I have to do with this!” 🙂

It shows up much less often than it did. It shows up in a quieter way. It is much more subtle. It stays for much lesser time. But does it show up? Absolutely, it does. Understanding how to deal with this voice is what is important. Therefore, I see it as a life skill. We can learn some of this through coaching, through a therapeutic experience and through a learning journey.

When does the critical voice show up?

Tara Mohr, uses the term ‘inner critic’ in her book Playing Big to describe this inner voice that shows up time and again. She outlines the following situations where this critical voice shows up. I find this is a useful lighthouse.

  • It shows up when we need to put into action- our deeply held dreams and desires in life or at work.
  • It comes up when we are in a tough spot and feeling low.
  • It comes up when we’re at the edge of our comfort zone and we need to stretch.
  • It comes up when we’re creating a breakthrough or in a creative drift
  • It also shows up when we’re attempting to design a new identity for ourselves.

When does your critical voice show up?

Knowing this allows us to manage ourselves better. We do not fall into a pattern of self doubt and demotivation. This is a very common pattern in women.

Doing our inner psychological work allows us to stand tall as leaders however challenging the situation.

Do you connect with this?

About Physis

Physis is a Greek word that means ‘to grow’ or ‘to become’. It is the principle that is reflected in the constant evolution in nature. That is exactly the action Sailaja works to inspire — in individuals, teams, organisations and in the community.
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