Communication coach Sylvia Puentes is encouraging women in business to find their voice this International Women’s Day and become a leader of change.
Around the world, the rise of women is undeniable. From the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement, to the flurry of women being elected to lead their country (such as in Iceland, New Zealand, Peru and Singapore) the past year has seen a definitive increase in the volume and veracity of women’s voices.
“Women are becoming more aware of the leadership role they have to play in government, society, business and the home”, says empowerment coach and Right Voice for You facilitator, Sylvia Puentes.
Puentes, an international speaker and author with a passion for transformational coaching and empowered education, tells Kochie’s Business Builders we are in the midst of a movement where women are understanding that they have something to say; that they have something they know.
“They are beginning to stand up and ask, What do I have to offer?”
According to Puentes, the key to the recent surge in female empowerment is that women are no longer focused on succeeding in established systems but, rather, are creating a new systems where women are inherently strong and successful. “It’s not that women are changing. We are seeing the uncovering of what’s been previously unseen; the speaking of what’s been previously unsaid”, she remarks.
A committed advocate for authentic leadership and communication, Puentes encourages all women to release their innate leadership potential by:
Are you willing to voice what you know? Begin to become aware of your thought patterns and listen to what you say out loud. Then ask, Is that really true for me? Is it my point of view or have I picked this up somewhere? With this awareness, you have the space to ask What is my point of view that might be different from my family, friends or society?
Having your own back
Are you willing to claim, own and acknowledge your brilliance and have your own back when things aren’t working out for you? Focus on building trust in yourself. Ask, What would it look like to have my own back? Be aware – it might not look like what you think it looks like. Exploration of what’s true for you may be as simple as turning down the air-conditioning at work. It may also mean you don’t fight or defend your position; instead you may be able to accept that a reaction from someone is just valuable, new information that you didn’t have before.
If you were not out to prove anything to anyone, what would you voice or share? Instead of resisting judgement ask yourself, Is this judgement real? Judgement is actually just someone’s interesting point of view; it’s not right or wrong and it’s not true. Knowing this, you are more able to receive a judgement, and simply put it aside. What if you can actually play with judgement – have fun receiving it from others (and yourself) and say Wow. Look at that point of view. Isn’t that fun?
Being vulnerable enough to receive support
Women have come to celebrate doing things on our own; being self-reliant. We even often praise children for it – You did that all on your own! Well done! But what could you create in your business, your family, your world if you were willing to receive, in whatever way support shows up for you? This includes receiving from others, from nature and from ourselves. It’s important to realise that leadership is not about always having the answers – it’s often about asking powerful questions and receiving whatever shows up.
Believing in a gentler form of leadership
Many of us buy into the idea that you have to be aggressive, mean or loud to be seen or heard. It’s the pattern our society has created, but we have to ask Is this form of leadership actually creating more in our lives, our homes and our communities? The world is demanding that we step up and lead in way that has not existed before. For women, it’s about knowing that we have something vital to offer and learning to just be the greatness that we are.
“Since the advent of the feminist movement, we have been fighting; we’ve been competing against the men in our environment and proving ourselves equal”, Puentes explains. “But what if it’s not about beating the system and becoming a leader? What if it’s about women redefining what leadership actually means?”, she suggests.