You are an educated, successful woman in your 40s or 50s. Most of your career you have spent in a male-dominated corporate world and you’re successful at what you do. Not only are you hard-working, you’re a super-achiever! Every goal you’ve ever set for yourself, whether it was that grade, degree, job, or your man… you’ve managed to get.
Family means a lot to you. While having a successful career, you also have a husband and kids. It’s not easy having it all, but you did it. You manage to show up and drive your kids to activities,
you even drive other people’s kids to their activities. You bake, you volunteer, you take care of your elderly parents, you go to the gym, you volunteer… you get the idea!
You’re an inspiration to many who see you as the modern-day superwoman…
Your perfectionism makes it difficult for you to delegate tasks at the office and at home. No one can do a better job than you, so it’s best to just do it yourself, right?! You come across as being hard on others, but if people could see behind the curtain, they’d know you’re much harder on yourself.
Social life? Yeah, you have friends. But you often feel unsupported and lonely—especially when you’re in a group of women. And don’t get me started on the conversations. The superficial jabber is killing you, and you feel like shouting, “Can we be real for a moment, please?!” You ask yourself why go to event after event, and promise yourself you won’t go next time. But you and I both know you probably will because it’s the only female community you have.
At work, competition is tough, especially with the other women. All the talk about women standing together, supporting each other…I call BS. I mean, when was the last time another woman took you under her wing or truly lifted you up?
But lately, the worst part is at home. After all these years of pushing and striving, you’ve lost who you are and the relationship with your spouse is more like co-parenting than a truemarriage. You rarely have time or energy for intimacy. Your relationship revolves around organizing the kids, activities, work, and other obligations. Even when you go on family vacations, you’re so wound up and stressed, you can’t settle down enough to just relax and enjoy.
You’re beginning to think that you’re a bad mother. Always in a hurry, you rarely have the time to sit down and talk to your kids. Or to listen. Sometimes you feel like you don’t know what’s going on with them.
Now, let’s talk about the anger. You scream at your kids more often than you care to admit. You also take out your rage on your spouse or on people who work under you. You’ve tried to find ways to manage this anger, but it always flares up again. Nothing seems to work.
Now, you’re wondering if there is a way out of this. There must be more to life than feeling alone, exhausted, and angry—right? Is it possible to have a life filled with true satisfaction and joy for you, with a rewarding marriage, success at work and meaningful friendships?
In my experience, it is, but it requires a different discipline. Women like us are skilled, smart, and have the mental discipline of a warrior. That makes you accomplished and, let’s just say it, pretty amazing. Something you can be proud of.
Simply stated, what got you to where you are today, won’t get you to where you need to (or want to) go. What went wrong? Was there a memo about life, community, and happiness that you didn’t get?
Growing up, you were programmed to be perfect, to be a good girl, to fit in, and to put everybody’s happiness before your own. You learned that you just have to suck it up and do what’s expected of you. Being yourself felt unsafe or unwanted, so you protected yourself the best you could: By pretending to be someone you’re not.
Because of the way you were raised, you thought you needed to fight for power to prove your worth or relevance. You needed to work hard, get to the top, make money, look great, have the perfect family, home, and life.
Whether or not you realized it, you did all that to belong. And, if you were a robot, that might have worked. But you’re not. You’re human, and what you actually long for is freedom, connection, and community.
The power you fought so hard to obtain—and the protections you created—only made you more disconnected, mostly from yourself. Patriarchy is the only model of power you’ve learned about, and it’s led to competition, distrust, and many dysfunctions—including #MeToo. As a strong, successful woman, you’ve been fighting to control and dominate instead of supporting other women and allowing them to support you.
But there is another way. There is a way to pull out and use the power that you, and all women, naturally possess. By exploiting this power, you will not only be more efficient at work, you’ll free up time and energy for yourself and your family. Your anger will dissolve and you’ll finally feel at peace with yourself. AND… you will gain a community of strong, powerful women who have each other’s backs and truly support each other.