I’m a feminist. But I don’t believe in gender representation just for representation’s sake. In fact, I believe that the women who are pursuing a radical new paradigm of success are the ones who will change the world. Here’s why.
I’ve coached hundreds of high-achieving corporate women. Each would come to me with some variation of the same symptoms: burnout from hustling, feeling ‘lost’, unclear on their career path, imposter syndrome, workplace anxiety, and low self-worth.
It became apparent that the root cause of these symptoms was the same: a false belief that their worthiness of love and belonging was contingent upon how well they met an unrealistic standard for success that was set for them by society, parents, and educational system.
I called this phenomenon the Success Wound™.
THE SUCCESS WOUND™ IS THE PAIN THAT COMES FROM MISTAKING OUR SUCCESS FOR OUR SELF-WORTH. IT IS A FALSE BELIEF SYSTEM THAT IS INSTILLED IN CHILDHOOD AND CAUSES A RELIANCE ON EXTERNAL VALIDATION FOR SECURITY, LOVE, AND BELONGING. IT IS PARTICULARLY RAMPANT IN HIGH-ACHIEVING WOMEN.
After three years of seeing the same symptoms in my clients, my female friends, women that I manage, mentor, and myself…I realized the Success Wound is an epidemic.
Western society’s expectations for women are detrimental. The western ideal for a woman carries unrealistic standards around beauty, success, motherhood, and likeability.
Since the Success Wound™ is the pain that occurs when we believe our worthiness of love and belonging is contingent upon these ideals, the female Success Wound™ cuts particularly deep. Women have been conditioned to think of themselves as less than, undeserving, or imposters as they strive to hit a standard that’s impossible to meet.
Patriarchal systems marginalize and exclude women from positions of power, which creates a legacy of scarcity, competition, harassment, and insecurity amongst women in workplaces, communities, and society. This has intensified the Success Wound™ in women, as they now face even greater pressures to succeed at a game that inherently disadvantages them.
The disproportionate “mental load” working mothers carry, not to mention the physical load of a new mother, creates a double bind for working mothers to live up to extremely high expectations at home and at work. This has serious repercussions on not only the individual (e.g. burnout) but also our society as women drop out of the workforce entirely.
THIS IS WHY WOMEN ARE UNIQUELY QUALIFIED TO HEAL THIS SUCCESS WOUND™ AND TRANSFORM OUR CULTURE’S DEFINITION OF SUCCESS INTO A MORE CONSCIOUS SUCCESS.
Imagine if our world defined success not in terms of power, consumerism, and wealth, but in terms of inclusion, self-love, community, and reverence for the earth?
Imagine what would happen if women rejected society’s ideal for what a ‘successful’ woman looked like and created their own definition?
As we heal, so would our world.
This is what’s possible when women lead: we create a more conscious relationship with success, with each other, and with our earth. If we want to change our world, we need to change our definition of success and we need women leading at the frontlines.