Gender Balance: Adjusting your Masculine and Feminine energy to step into your power
Traditionally gender balance makes reference to the number of people in teams of each gender at different levels of the organisations. This topic is often related to conflicts, stereotypes, power imbalance, injustice, lack of productivity, sexism, isolation and the list of issues associated goes on. I have a different take on it.
What if gender balance was more of a state of being? Couldn’t we then have more control over changing it?
For me, this issue can be tackled from within at an individual level. As I take a more internal approach to leadership development, what resonates for me on this topic is how we can access both masculine and feminine energies within ourselves as human beings to be in our power, learn to adjust accordingly to communicate effectively and therefore better collaborate to drive results.
To introduce this, I’d like to make the parallels with alternative medicine and life force energy. Stay with me.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a healing approach that originated in China thousands of years ago. I came across this when I had Acupuncture for anxiety a few years ago. It stems from Taoism philosophy, which believes that all of the body’s organs mutually support each other. Therefore, in order to be healthy, an individual’s organs (and their functions) must be in balance. This balance is attained, in part, by harmonising yin and yang, two opposing but complementary energies thought to affect all life.
Another theory in traditional Chinese medicine is that vital energy (called “qi” or “chi”) flows throughout the body via certain pathways (or “meridians”). According to this theory, disease and other emotional, mental, and physical health problems develop when the flow of qi is blocked, weak, or excessive. Restoring the flow of qi is considered essential to balancing the yin and yang and, in turn, achieving wellness.*
Could this imply that wellness is the ability to adjust one’s state of being to find balance?
Yin & Yang
”Yin” energy is referred to as feminine energies and ”Yang” refers to the masculine energies. A balance of both energies leads to harmony within. It’s simple, yet very difficult to achieve because most of us will on average lean more on one side than the other.
While this will bring us benefits in many situations, it can be of disservice to us when we are in a situation which warrants the opposite energy, which we may not be so comfortable with.
Feminine Energy – Yin
As a man, you may be looking to run more mindful 121s and develop deeper connections, being more emotionally available to slow down, listen, be more compassionate, to create a safe space. The aim being for others to feel heard and open up about their real issues so you can have help where it will have a real impact. To create this type of connection with someone, you need to be more in your feminine energy.
If you are a woman leaning more on your masculine energy, it will be the same inner work to develop being more at ease with this type of task.
Masculine Energy – Yang
If you’re a woman looking to take a seat at the table, or convince someone in a leadership meeting, you need to be more assertive, which is more of a masculine energy.
Same for a man looking to step into his power and grow in influence and leadership. It is the same work. Connecting to your masculine energy within.
When I was in Tech Sales, I learned a lot more on my masculine energy as I worked in a male-dominated environment. It had benefits at work, however, this had major drawbacks in my relationships outside of work. I wasn’t so good at adjusting to a more balanced state in other situations. I also went through a phase of being too extreme the other way and gave all my power away. The key here is finding a state of balance and that can be hard to do.
Being in your Power: A question of polarities and adjustment
Feminine and Masculine energy does not mean being male or female. Regardless of gender, we all have both masculine and feminine energy. You can refer to them more as polarities along a continuum of behavioural traits if you like. We will tend to lead more with one or the other. Here is an example of some. There are many more.
Terms associated with the polar end of the spectrum
Yin – Feminine Energy
- Right Brain
Yang – Masculine Energy
- Left Brain
I don’t know about you when I read these traits, it resonates in terms of what we tend to associate with male and female traits.
I am making this parallel to help give you a different way of thinking about where you tend to be on this continuum, as a guide to identifying the traits which are out of your comfort zone. By increasing your awareness of this, you can think differently about adjusting your way of being to match the situation at hand.
There is no right or wrong, the only thing to avoid is being in a continuous fixed and extreme state at either end of the spectrum as this can lead to dysfunctional mindset and behaviour.
So if we consider wellness as the ability to adjust one’s state of being to situations, I invite you to consider these different polarities of energy as a way to identify and adjust to what a situation may require.
Instead of looking at men and women in the workplace as a duality, one Vs the other, I am suggesting you consider the mindset of looking at men and women as equals who may simply be more comfortable with one type of energy than another, and who have the ability to adjust but may simply not be used to it.
This mindset brings more parity between men and women in how they relate to each other in a healthy way by being more curious in dialogue or collaboration. It is both parties’ responsibility to adjust to find a place which feels comfortable for both parties to create a flow in communicating effectively.
So the more we become comfortable in adjusting along the spectrum, the better equipped we are to reduce the gap in communication, collaboration, understanding other’s different perspectives.
How does this relate to coaching?
While this can be understood at a rational level, to master traits outside of our comfort zone we need to feel our way through them. Instead of practising in live environments which can impact our self-esteem negatively, developing new behaviours in a safe environment will accelerate learning, bring more confidence and result in transformation faster.
Watch a 2 minute video where I introduced this topic earlier this week:
I am keen to hear how this resonated with you. So please feel free to comment.
Lauren is the founder of Coaching Confidence, an ICF-certified professional coach, and NLP Practitioner in leadership, team, and organisational coaching.
Lauren works with Founders and Leaders, on a more internal leadership dimension to develop more awareness of themselves so they can better relate to their others and their organisation. By accessing inner confidence, we can overcome behavioural and business challenges or simply up-level our soft skills by unlocking their untapped internal resources.