Alise is a highly ambitious and successful senior executive. We started working together as she just turned 38 years old. She had her "inner battle" causing her emotional roller coaster and pain. On one side, she was willing to build her career further, but on the other side - have a husband and a family. She felt she was exhausted and did not know how to make these two areas of life work together.
Here is what Alise said:
"I am so focused on my career that I do not have much time to invest into my personal life. I want to move forward in my career, as it is so important to me. I always wanted to be independent. But, you know, I have reached a certain age wherein if I don't think about having family and kids now, I would heavily regret it later on. I panic and I am afraid to lose my chance of having a family and kids."
It felt like both wishes for career and family had different agenda and different directions and she was not able to cope with them. She was motivated to find a solution and was looking for answers. Her girl friend whom I worked with earlier has recommended me to her. We started working together.
These are fundamental issues lots of women in business are facing nowadays. The challenge is to find a balance between your personal and professional life and also to find a way to be and remain a woman as you are climbing up towards the corporate career.
The question of female identity becomes more and more important. What do we want as women? What do we value in our working environment, in men and in life?
Like in chess, also in private and professional life, those who best know the rules of the game, win. Many highly educated, talented and persistent women learn how to win the corporate game. But can they do so without losing their identity, their femininity? And is it possible to win the game of life if you are focused on just one of its areas?
The corporate world, at least in Europe, is predominantly masculine. And oftentimes, women forget about their secret female power hidden inside of them such as empathy, spontaneity, laughter, kindness, depth, creativity, joy, warmth, ability to inspire a vision, sensuality and so on.
Are you a woman? Are you expected to be strong, dominant, logical, focused and persistent? Are you juggling between your career and personal life? Do you have a personal life? Are you feeling accomplished, happy and complete? What is the secret of a modern woman working in business for having a successful and happy life?
Your ability to master your emotions, your mindset and your ability to solve inner conflicts are crucial skills not only for your professional life but also a personal life. You simply have to know (in some cases, it's a must to know) who you are, what works for you and what does not if you want to be successful and happy.
Contrary to the traditional belief that education, experience, and intellect are predictors of success, more and more it’s becoming known that emotional intelligence is responsible for about 60% of your success in career and life. People with high emotional intelligence do not only feel better but also earn more.
Emotional Intelligence includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. Good news for women. According to the data from Hay Group’s — a behavioral database that includes information on the emotional intelligence of more than 17,000 individuals worldwide—these skills were found to be more prevalent in executive-level women in general management roles, as compared to their male peers.
Empathy was found to be a strength for 33 percent of women, compared to just 15 percent of men. Conflict management was seen as a strength in 51 percent of women, as opposed to 29 percent of men. Influence was cited as a strength for 32 percent of women, compared to 21 percent of men. Self-awareness was strongly evident in 19 percent of women, but just 4 percent of men. But why do we have more male executives than female? Let's leave it as a rhetorical question.
Why solving inner conflicts is important?
Do you know situations where you want to do something, but notice that there is another part of you that is holding you back and having a different opinion as to what you want to do? This is as if these parts were life forces moving in opposite directions and causing inner stress and tension to us.
Have you ever experienced one of these?
You are facing a decision where a part of you wants to move forward and another part is having a fear or concern which is holding you back.
You have a feeling of going around in circles when your real wish is to move ahead towards reaching your goals, a feeling that how you are living and working is not aligned to what you really want and what makes you feel happy inside.
Are you in the phase of life where you feel that the way you are living and working is not the way you really want it to be?
Is this what you are experiencing right now?
Do you know that stress can be seen as the indicator of our body which points out that there is an inner conflict that is seeking to be resolved?
Most of us want some form of success, peace, and happiness in our lives. However, there are other reasons for resolving these conflicts.
Take one of your inner conflicts and answer these questions:
When you have an inner conflict, do you operate on your true potential or does inner conflict reduce your effectiveness and may be killing your motivation?
How high is the level of your energy at this situation?
Does inner conflict drain you so you have less energy and ability to concentrate on what is happening and what is important right now?
Are you able to listen to what others are saying or you are noticing yourself becoming more isolated, ignorant and tensed?
Are you seeing opportunities coming along or have you shut down your perception?
Are you having hard times to recognize if the opportunities are aligned with your goals?
Do you have an energy and motivation to evaluate these?
Does stress is your habit?
We want to ask for advice, discuss important issues, surrounded by leaders without inner conflicts.
In the state of inner peace and alignment with your values, you can manage yourself and easily go through challenges and complexities and circumstance of your life. You become a leader of your own life and able to control your reaction over circumstances, rather than let them control you. And, what is more important, you are gaining clarity, which motivates you and helps you to move forward with joy, focus, and peace of mind.
How to use inner conflicts to create, clarity and to develop yourself personally?
Alise has enjoyed this technique. It allowed her to find a solution where she could do both be happy and successful professionally and in private. Do you want to know how to do the same, don't you?
Here is how it works:
1. Identify parts within yourself that are in conflict with each other. For example, a part that wants to say yes to an opportunity you are offered and the part that is willing to wait. Or one part of you wants to be successful professionally and another wants to have a family and kids.
2. Acknowledge the presence of these parts. They are carrying an important message for you- the meaning and value of which you have not recognized yet. This is an opposite approach on how many people would take: fleeing or ignoring or getting angry about having them.
3. Ask yourself what is the meaning of having each of these parts. What value does each one of them give to you? What your need does each of them cover?
It can be that one gives you joy, self-growth, and another, security, stability and contribution. You can rate each of these benefits by giving them a score from 0 to 10 to evaluate their significance for yourself. Thank these parts for being there.
4. Hold your hands out in front of you and use your instinct to decide which part to put on your right hand and which part you want to put on your left hand. Take a look at both hands thus, looking at both options. By looking at your hands you should be able to dissociate (detach) yourself from emotions and clearly see two options and how they interact with each other. Consider how these two parts can cooperate with each other.
5. Decide which part you want to communicate first. Now describe the characteristics of this part and its qualities. For example, it can be that this part is using such phrases as “You need to take your time”, “you need to collect more information”, “don’t be stupid to make the decision fast” or in case of a work—family conflict “I can do everything myself”, “I don’t need a men to make my life work” on the one side and “family gives me a sense of pleasure and accomplishment as a women”, “having a family is the deepest way I can experience love and connection” etc. Explore what needs this part covers. Does it want to protect you, does it want you to grow or discover? What is the positive outcome this part is seeking for you? Appreciate the answer (visual, feeling or insight) that you get.
6. Repeat step 4 to explore the other part.
7. Consider each part one after another. What quality or attribute does one part give to another that would enhance the other part if it would accept this gift? You can discover under which circumstances the other part would like to accept the gift that is offered. (By the way, this can be a great way on how you can approach clients if you are in a sales position).
8. Imagine this exchange has happened. If not, ask each part in which form does the one part needs to give this gift to another part so it accepts. Imagine the exchange of gifts or benefits.
9. If you have successfully completed the exercise, your hand will automatically be drawn together, symbolizing the integration and appreciation of two parts in your thinking. If it did not happen automatically, you can suggest yourself how two parts may integrate with each other and exist together in cooperation and bring your hands together yourself as you are doing the explanation. Repeat previous steps if necessary to end up with the wanted result of integrating the two parts.
10. Now you have these two parts integrated. How did this enhance who you are and how can you take this insight to move forward into your future?
What would winning inner peace and happiness mean for you?
This technique is simply amazing and allows you to create clarity and peace within yourself, to create a strong connection with yourself so that you are being fully who you are and who you can be. What is more important, the gained clarity becomes your helper in reaching goals with joy while being happy along the way. Do you want just this, don't you?
Be aware of what parts can be in conflict within you. Remember a time you had a conflict inside yourself and were able to resolve it. How did you do so? What physical symptoms do you recognize (a headache, lack of motivation, depression, confusion and lack of confidence)? How do you interpret these signals of the subconscious? Do you listen to them? Do you understand their meaning?
Did you find this article valuable? Share it with your friends and colleagues.