Ambitious, intelligent women who have powerful jobs, are leading lives that look hugely inspiring. They have big aspirations and exciting lives. Yet on the inside, so many of them are deeply unhappy. I know. I was this woman, as was my mother, as are my friends and as are the clients I coach everyday.
I grew up with a mother who was a powerful career woman, everyone declared their admiration for her leadership, her beauty, her family - she had it all and she fed off this recognition for many years. Everyday she worked harder and set higher expectations for herself, proving to others that she was in-fact this powerhouse of inspiration. Until one day she told me she didn't know what it meant to be happy. Her career had consumed her. Her relationship with my dad was neglected so much so that this ended in a divorce and our family (which now she knows is her most important value) was broken.
When I was young, my mum acted as my inspiration, I followed her lead and socialized with girls who were high-achieving at school and into my early career in advertising. Our focus was always on success and external reward. We became perfectionists, hiding behind our work and we were focused on what we needed to 'do' to be better, smarter, thinner, make more money - the list goes on.
This created pressure and anxiety. For me this manifested into an eating disorder, and for my clients - burn-out, self-deprecation of the cruelest form, over-spending, feeling disconnected with who were are as women and a general sense of discontentment.
Witnessing this in so many women today is painful. We need a new way. And there is one. It is possible to feel more connected to who we are and what want on a deep level, to reduce the noise of societal pressures. And the secret is all about embracing our feminine side - our woman.
When you embrace the woman in you, you'll experience your true power. It's the woman who, when you breathe and close your eyes you know she is there. The woman who is mature and grounded - like the trunk of a tree, solid with deep roots. The woman in you who embraces her feminine qualities of intuition, compassion and self-care. It's the woman in you who will implement the life you want. She just needs to be heard. Beyonce puts it beautifully: 'It's about learning how to drown out the noise that's such an inseparable part of life. I don't have to prove anything to anyone, I only have to follow on my heart and concentrate on what I want to say to the world.'
Taking time for ourselves and embracing our feminine side and the gifts we have is the most powerful thing we can do as ambitious women today. I've seen the power of this transformation time and time again in my clients and in my own life through my recovery from my eating disorder. We have grown up in a socriety that's about performance and achievement. This often blocks off the things in life we most desire - intimacy, love, connection and vitality. The bold, brave move for us now is to go after this.
Nikki Armytage is the founder of the Electric Woman campaign which has been created to inspire women how they can create their Electric lives, meaning (as part of the Electric Woman manifesto) being real and true to themselves, embracing the woman in them and creating a life that's bold and electric. Visit www.electricwoman.org