Back in 2011, one afternoon, I remember sitting in the gorgeous 6 bedroom, glass roof to floor, cedar bush home on 20 acres I was living in with 3 friends at the time, meditating, on one of those body centred days where, when you tune into your womb, the voice of inner feminine wisdom is FAR louder on those days than the voice in your head. I still have the notebook in storage somewhere where I wrote during that meditation “you are here to help heal the battle of the sexes and bring men and women back into their true power, to relate with each other with greater love. Add into the mix one additional meditation a couple of years on and that also became about helping Leaders to do that and be able to unleash the full potential and shine in their leadership. There have been A LOT of strip me bare the core, heal, own and grow moments since. Fast forward though to today, and wether I’m consciously intending to do that or not in work, some friends and I recently had a laugh about the trail of love i've left while housesitting. No literally, I was doing the maths recently, and couldn’t help but notice over 50% of the people I’ve lived with or housesitted for over the last year and a half, have got into a major new relationship or had a big breakthrough in their existing one, right after I was there. What are the odds of that do you think?
As someone who grew up and went to uni playing lead roles in musical love stories, as someone who’s job was recreating grand gestures of love on a massive scale in front of hundreds of people, one might argue that desire had been in my blood a LONG time. So it’s in that spirit, as well as the spirit of empowering the Wellness community that I write this today.
Now, I’ve been feeling this admittedly for a while, but needed some time, post craziness of major run of events recently, to step back and take a look across the lay of the leadership landscape, plus do a whole bunch of research on what’s going on in the Wellness industry and other service based industries to confirm this before I dared to say anything about what I’d been feeling and observing this year. But with the deepest love, here is what I see. (And I’m totally open to other leaders helping me expand this perception.)
There is a lot of world wide focus, rightly so, right now on righting the wrongs of exploitations of power and abuse and bringing the equality most of us desire to the world we live in, equality that UN Women hope will be a reality by 2090. BUT, we have to be REALLY careful, NOT to generalise and not to keep internalising these struggles to the Wellness Industry as a whole.
Because, sisters, brothers, the actual reality now, is that over two thirds of the Wellness Industry is female. Over 70% of the healthcare sector is made up of female staff. Over 70% of the senior management level in the healthcare sector is female. Yes, only 4% of the top level are CEO’s in healthcare, so the CEO concern is still the case. But, while according to the ABS, only around 35% of small business owners (CEO’S of their own businesses) are women, in the Wellness industry, there are MANY more female sole practitioners/business owners than male. According to the International Coaching Federation 2016 study, two thirds of the people seeking small business coaching are female. And I can tell you, after a year running events for one of the Wellness Industry leaders, the gender balance at events is still higher in female attendees, BUT it’s evening up with a far greater percentage of men attending these events and enrolling in high level industry training. So what does that alone tell you? Through numbers and presence alone, we women have a whole lot of power they we may not have fully realised we have yet.
While I would still like to be able to create a little inter-business industry statistical information to get the specific data on this, as I look at some of the major training organisations to the Wellness, Coaching and Service Based Business Sectors, at a basic glance, I can tell you this,
in the Australian Wellness/Coaching/Service based business space, the proportions of of each gender graduating out of particular levels of the non gender specific systems measuring success is evening up now. If you add in the female only programs, it could actually very likely TOO be higher in favour of women.
It’s a little hard to tell though, because some of the variables needed to truly accurately measure "success" though, like what is success defined as for each organisation….for some it’s 45K a year, for some the benchmark is 120K a year, in others it’s 7 figures, in some it’s 6 figures, widely vary. And which region do we go by/include? If we’re going to get on top of REALLY creating world wide change on this, we HAVE to keep sharing and work together on this to keep getting the best snapshot of the picture that is.
But, at a glance, 2 things are obvious looking at the data. The old 5% success rate after 5 years stat I think is inaccurate. There are many small business studies saying there’s a 50% continuity rate after 5 years, over 70% success rate after 7 years, so how does that work? Which industries are included in that? Who is represented is sample, relative to who I’m looking at right now? I need time to go back and do a Masters just to get to the bottom of these questions. But the second thing that is obvious is this alone….
thSisters, if you are holding onto the notion that we are in some way at a collective disadvantage in the Western Wellness space, it's time to let that go.
(Notice I say collectively, because, as a female colleague said yesterday, yes there are still individual examples of male leaders thinking they’re serving the feminine in how they’re working…. But they're not listening to the feedback of the many women outside their system can see a mile away they’re off base when they have a particular IDEA of what they think the feminine IS that blocks the actual feminine being able to be present with them. And when they will throw out of the way an empowered woman or whole age groups of women who (wether with love and the desire to help them better serve, or heated words for repeatedly not being heard) questions that perception or why they're not being included, while pointing out what they ACTUALLY need, maybe something is up in terms of holistically representing the FULL spectrum of leadership needs of women as well as people of all genders. (And i shouldn't have to be making a point on a public blog instead of them being willing to have an adult conversation to get that, with it descending into personal offence taken, you have no idea how sad that makes me when our personal wounds kill our professional engagement. At the same time as there are male leaders, female leaders absolutely EXCELLING at this that we can all be learning from their example. ) But my point is I’m a thousand percent behind women or men voicing their concerns in those case by case instances until such guy, girls, people actually get the download, do the healing they need to and adjust tact accordingly to what the market is actually asking for and how we can collectively all work together to provide sections of that support, myself included. But I think we need to be careful to see these as case by case examples, not generalise to ALL leaders and all people when those things happen. Sound fair?
I am completely behind all of us finding ways to co-create a pathway to having women and men stepping into equal power at the top level of companies, if and where the women actually want it. In my conversations with Wellness women in the last several years too though, i've found many women are all for that, but in my experience, some Mums for a time, some older female practitioners and younger ones still learning the senior management game, when you talk to them though sisters, actually DON’T want CEO-ship for themselves, Right now at least, they’re happy for a man to do the CEO thing, even if they want to see their sisters do the CEO thing. Or they’re happy to multi-role it, playing one senior role in a company they believe in, while they CEO their own separate business. Sorry if that pisses some of you off. But at the same time, it’s what actual women are actually telling me they want, and I think we need to be really careful about dealing with things on a case by case basis for each woman and man, and not project our hopes, perceptions and agendas about collective equality onto THEIR journeys, when it may not be their path at this time to pursue Leadership Equality. But meet them in what they actually need and want. And stay open to the fact that some amongst us will support those women, and others of us want to simultaneously support the highest level leaders too. Each to their unique purpose within this human puzzle of life. Nobody's way is "right" or "wrong." It just IS. Granted though, some women in the world DON'T have the freedom the Western Wellness market has to make those choices.
But if we sisters think in the Western Wellness Space we are collectively at a disadvantage, I hope that this blog serves to show you that it’s time to let that one go, because in truth, the women actually hold the power of presence and numbers in the Wellness Landscape. And all year, I’ve been watching groups of women, give feedback together to male and female coaches/trainers/CEO’s and them taking it on and adjusting accordingly. That’s exactly what we sisters asked for. Bless! It happened! Shall we celebrate, if you haven't already given thanks?
More than that, on Facebook alone, sisters, please take a moment some time today and take a look at the gorgeous profile pictures of all the men in this industry as well as the women and look at how those faces have changed over the last few years. See the healthy masculine fire, passion, love and service, the healthy, empowered warrior energy in all those photos, on all those faces. Feel the love of all these men, who did the work we said was necessary in the world and who are standing there waiting to love and support us….if we could just now see them. And let that energy in.
Because you know what? That energy is a mirror as well, of what we need to acknowledge already exists inside us, and take into our insides to finish the healing in ourselves too. So that we can, as another sister put it this week, and as I said back in June/July,
put down our swords and armour. As the war actually already ended….yet women are still fighting on the battlefield of gender war in this industry already won. We need to now stop and integrate the present reality AND look at how we can now be mindful of NOT falling back into the old habits of war, but instead continue to relate with love. Then, in fact, we actually perhaps now in THIS industry, could be a little more proactive, to be fair in the equality stakes, in supporting the brothers all genders too, as we continue to grow ourselves.
Those two things I’ve found, don’t need to be separate and (sorry, I'm going to vent again for a moment) maybe we need to revise the Coaching/Counselling ethical codes driving us apart that say that they do, that imply that we can’t possibly serve the other gender while we’re healing, ones that drove me to separate over the last few years, while I HEALED. But in hindsight, and reflecting with colleagues this last few days, I think we all agreed have actually created another kind of pain and separation and struggle that WAS needed for healing and growth but in another way, maybe wasn’t needed and maybe made things harder than they had to be, for me and others during the last few years. And so admittedly now, to be in integrity with the intention I mentioned to you when I started writing this today about HEALING the battle of the sexes, I’ve recently been changing my online presence across the net and am presently considering both re-writing my book outline (which was, when i started it a year ago, going to be a women leaders shine in owning your voice and embracing your full leader potential manual, but now I’m not so sure if i need to expand it to non gender specific…need expert input and some male perspective on this one) and reconsidering my branding and groups too, to BE true to what is really needed here in this industry and in me also serving aspiring leaders and present leaders beyond it.
The main takeaway from all this whole blog though, after this collective Wellness Industry journey and the many individual empowerment journeys that have made it up,
we’ve already dreamed up and LIVED the gender equality answer the rest of the world still sorely needs!
So if we can finish getting it that we have, THEN sisters (and brothers) THEN WE as the world leaders who’ve done it, can take this example, this template out into the world and teach the women and men in the other industries how to embody this level of self love and empowerment and create the greater equality they are still fighting for. To help them heal the gender war and relate with each other well as equals in the spirit of love. Just take a moment to breathe that in and really feel that. These are exciting times of change we lives in. How do you feel called to connect and be of service, or not, in this shift?
Nat talks about Self Expression, Heart Centred Communication and Lifestyle for Leaders.